Friday assorted links

by on July 7, 2017 at 11:20 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Neil July 7, 2017 at 11:31 am

Kyrgios is annoying and not yet deserving of so much attention.

2 Ray Lopez July 7, 2017 at 12:13 pm

#2 – note the mixed race (again my theory vindicated): Greek and Malaysian, “Nick’s father, George, a housepainter, came from Greece as a child; his mother, Nill, a computer engineer, was born in Malaysia.”. Just like the guy that built Google’s AlphaGo (Greek and Singapore mix).

The ‘nerd’ in Kyrgios is from his mom’s side, due to her science background, which produces mild autistic spectrum syndrome.

This stuff is so predictable…but people refuse to admit to themselves how mixed race brings spreads the bell shaped curve and produces more >1 sigma individuals (both good and bad; the killer of Versace was of mixed Filipino-Italian stock, with a high IQ). What would Robin Hanson say? People refuse to update their priors out of loyalty to their “race”. Mr. S.S being typical.

3 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 11:45 am

“5. Bryan Caplan on minimum wage empirics.”

That’s a good article by Caplan. What does Caplan mean by this comment?

“I hew to this prior even in cases – like demand for illegal drugs or illegal immigration – where a downward-sloping demand curve is ideologically inconvenient for me. ”

It seems that that he is admitting that large scale low wage immigration puts downward pressure on wages. But then he says this: “A strong consensus finds that large increases in low-skilled immigration have little effect on low-skilled native wages. ”

In any case the study he linked to directly contradicts his last statement. From the study:

“Within the large empirical literature looking at the effects of immigration on native employment and wages, most studies find only minor displacement effects even after very large immigrant flows. On the other hand, some more recent studies have found larger effects, and many studies note that the negative effects are concentrated on certain parts of the native population. The parts of the population most typically affected are the less-educated natives or the earlier immigrant cohorts.

4 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 11:50 am

I really shouldn’t have said it was a good article. I meant it was thorough. But it astounds me that Caplan seems to disagree with his self in the article and links to an article that contradicts his own assertion.

The basic economic law is that supply and demand curves are downward sloping. It’s true with respect to the minimum wage, it’s true with respect to price controls, it’s true with respect to immigration.

5 TMC July 7, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Cognitive dissonance is strong with Bryan, and any libertarian who is open borders, when it comes to immigration.

6 DNZ July 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm


7 Joan July 7, 2017 at 2:21 pm

The amount of attention given to minimun wage increases verses other policies that have a negative effect on American workers, such as increasing the fed funds rate as well as immigration and outsourcing, is out of proportions with their effects on unskilled workers. I suspect that both side of the argument do not really care about minimum wage workers but have other reasons for their positions.

8 Joan July 7, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Correction: MAY “have negative effects”

9 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 3:20 pm

“…is out of proportions with their effects on unskilled workers.”

It directly burdens businesses who have to pay the actual money. The benefit is pretty marginal and clearly in some cases negative to the workers themselves. So, of course it’s controversial.

“I suspect that both side of the argument do not really care about minimum wage workers but have other reasons for their positions.”

Sure, the Right is trying to protect business interests and the Left want to buy the vote of the working poor and boost Union wages.

“But the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union says that pegging its wages to the federal minimum is commonplace. On its website, the UFCW notes that “oftentimes, union contracts are triggered to implement wage hikes in the case of minimum wage increases.” Such increases, the UFCW says, are “one of the many advantages of being a union member.””

10 Alain July 7, 2017 at 11:04 pm

The right is attempting to help all, as prices are our best method of allocating resources.

The left is attempting to buy votes no matter the end impact to society.

11 chuck martel July 7, 2017 at 11:57 pm

The minimum wage in Arizona is now $10/hr. An undocumented laborer couldn’t be hired out of the Home Depot parking lot in Phoenix for that pittance fifteen years ago.

12 msgkings July 8, 2017 at 3:39 pm


13 Ray Lopez July 7, 2017 at 4:31 pm

@JWatts: “The basic economic law is that supply and demand curves are downward sloping” – no, I think AS is upward sloping in most normal cases but only AD is downward sloping, as you say. But economists get around this by assuming the curves can shift suddenly to the right or to the left, which makes their intersection be anywhere the economist wants it to be, given certain assumptions.

14 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 6:46 pm

“no, I think AS is upward sloping in most normal cases but only AD is downward sloping, as you say.”

True, I was being sloppy with my terminology. To be specific, Demand is inversely correlated with Price and Supply is directly correlated with Price assuming all else is held constant.

15 DNZ July 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm

he’s not contradicting himself at all, if labor demand is down-sloping then preventing immigration would raise native wages. The point of the article is to show that how elastic it is is not clear, and minimum wage studies contradict other evidence. It’s till down-sloping regardless of how elastic it is.

16 Floccina July 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm

minor displacement effectsno effect

17 Anonymous July 7, 2017 at 11:45 am
18 Thiago Ribeiro July 7, 2017 at 11:50 am

Sad to see the American refime using its power to manipulate its own citizens.

19 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 11:56 am

I was just reading about the new Brazillian phone app.

“Brazil apps track gunfire as Rio de Janeiro violence spikes”

“Gun violence is on the rise in Rio de Janeiro, with the sound of firefights echoing daily across Brazil’s seaside city as drug gangs battle each other and police officers patrolling slums.
Now a pair of applications track in real-time how many gun battles there are and where they occur, based on eyewitnesses, media and police accounts.
The “Fogo Cruzado,” or Cross Fire, application created by Amnesty International and local researcher aims to let Rio’s citizens know where gunfire is taking place, in the hopes of keeping them out of danger.”

Yet another awesome invention from Brazil! A country that’s larger than the Roman empire, I hear.

20 Anonymous July 7, 2017 at 12:02 pm

It’s too bad you aren’t from Cameroon, then you might have something useful to share..

21 GoneWithTheWind July 8, 2017 at 10:40 am

It is interesting that the researchers thought it was a fail to eat the one treat rather than to wait and get two treats. Presumably if the child had chose to wait until they died in the hope that it would be four treats that would be a big win. Perhaps it is the researchers who need to be tested. I tend to lean towards eating the marshmallow and not waiting around for someone else’s pleasure.

22 Ray Lopez July 7, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Yeah that’s interesting. Lemley is the national expert on patent law. A bit of buffoonery by some creative boffin in DC, of which there are very few. Most boffins and bureaucrats follow protocol; I saw the other day how the Federal government pulled out of a NYC transportation project “all-hands” meeting involving widening some railroad or right-of-way since, despite being involved in the funding and other state agencies being involved in the meeting, the Fed officials feeling ‘uncomfortable’ attending such a meeting since there was no precedent for it. In the private sector there would be no such hesitation (if you’re paying for a project, don’t you want to know how the project is being managed?) Your US tax dollars at work Anonymous, enjoy.

Oh yeah: Thomas Jefferson invented the swivel chair, check it out on Youtube: (Frederick Douglass vs Thomas Jefferson. Epic Rap Battles of History – Season 5 )

23 Rock Lobster July 7, 2017 at 12:21 pm

#4: I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck or anything here but how is this news? The Poland growth story has been pretty well-known and borne out by the data for years now. Maybe it’s a NYT thing where reporting on economics is an exotic topic for them. There’s a reason why everyone in finance reads the WSJ or the FT.

24 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I’m confused about #1. Is that the correct link?

25 Daniel Weber July 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm

It’s a Straussian link.

26 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 2:43 pm

You mean if you read it backwards, it’s about YIMBY?

27 Daniel Weber July 7, 2017 at 2:09 pm

The bail link was fascinating. I’m not sure if I was supposed to take anything specific away from it, but I got a lot of feeling of how it works, or doesn’t.

28 rayward July 7, 2017 at 2:14 pm

4. Maybe the key to economic growth is repression of individual liberties – it has worked for Poland according to the NYT article.

29 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 2:52 pm

The article didn’t say that. Please, don’t go mulp on us.

30 Lanigram July 7, 2017 at 3:02 pm


Not in my back yard!!!!! 👿

31 Cooper July 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm

4. As a point of comparison, Poland and Mexico had roughly comparable standards of living in the early 1990s. Around this time Poland became a capitalist economy and Mexico entered a free trade area with the US and Canada.

Today, Poland is 50% richer than Mexico.

Mexico ranks around 123 in the world on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, tied for that spot with Laos and Sierra Leone. Poland ranks #29, tied with Israel.

Conclusion: Institutions matter!

32 msgkings July 7, 2017 at 3:17 pm

For the win

33 JWatts July 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

“Conclusion: Institutions matter!”

Particularly if the Institution is the Communist party suppressing Liberty and Capitalism for decades. In Poland’s case, getting out from the grasp of evil Communist policies and principles was probably the single biggest factor.

34 Cooper July 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

Now imagine how much richer Poland would be today if Stalin hadn’t demanded that they adopt a one-party communist dictatorship. “Finlandization for Poland”, while geopolitically intolerable for the USSR, would have been an economic boon.

35 Alex July 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm
36 Anonymous July 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

An interesting story, but for those of us who have argued that YIMBYs are real, not a revelation.

37 Viking July 7, 2017 at 5:04 pm

After looking at the YIMBY link again, I concluded

Yes, they hired somebody
Straussian, and YIMBY is a recent bussword regarding glee at the failure of righteous NIMBY.

38 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 6:29 pm

I’m wondering if the shift is due to increasing numbers of homeowners who hate their enormous mortgage ? High prices are good for homeowners but only if you actually have equity in the house. Also, the high risk of another collapse in housing prices leaving them with the threat of forclosure and having their equity wiped out.
People in the bay area get high salaries but probably not enough to cancel out the price of housing, so there might be a lot of people whose net savings is no better than low-income renter. It would be interesting to see what percentage of income on average goes to housing costs in the bay area and how much is left over even for upper quintile professionals.

39 Hazel Meade July 7, 2017 at 6:35 pm

I mean, you can gain equity if housing prices keep rising, but that’s unsustainable and increases risk. At some point you get enough homeowners who bought high and whose risk of losing their equity cancels out any they have at current market prices, and they know it. And then there are people who just don’t want to buy because they aren’t going to put their savings into an asset that is going to crash.

40 chuck martel July 7, 2017 at 11:53 pm

In the case of the purchase of an existing home, the high price, less the remaining mortgage, was paid, in cash, to the previous owner. So, what did he do with that money? These are the forgotten people in the great housing crash/recession. For every person that bought at the high end of the market, there was a seller. It was a great deal for them, and the institution that carried their mortgage. It’s an ill wind that blows nobody some good. The years 2007 through 2009 were very good for the sellers but all we hear are the complaints about the underwater buyers. However, the actual concern isn’t for them but for the holders of the notes on the property. When banks lose money there’s a real problem.

41 Hazel Meade July 9, 2017 at 10:05 am

The banks are all knowledgeable actors who took their own risks. People make money off of other people’s irrationality all the time.

I’m really just interesting in whether homeowners themselves could become pro-development because their mortgages are too much of a burden, even if housing prices keep rising.
I hear the actress who plays Circe on Game of Thrones had to sell her home in San Francisco because she couldn’t afford it anymore.

42 Anonymous July 7, 2017 at 6:12 pm

1. …”whose chairman has publicly committed to improving the quality and use of economic analysis for rulemakings and long-term planning,”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry on reading this.

43 mkt42 July 8, 2017 at 3:16 am

One of the ongoing bits of culture shock that I got even after 20 years of living in Los Angeles was how late-night TV broadcasts feature innumerable commercials for bail bond companies. Is LA that crime-ridden? Or is the bail bond market unusually robust there? Or is it just a scale effect: when a metro area gets large enough, the number of arrestees becomes large enough that it pays to aim commercials at them and their families? (I haven’t ever watched late night TV commercials in New York City; do they feature bail bond companies?)

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