Tuesday assorted links

by on March 13, 2018 at 11:55 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Troll Me March 13, 2018 at 12:21 pm

6) Interesting article in many respects.

It could be added that the reality where police in a non-negligible share of cases – including in non-dictator countries – actively provoke ‘violence-worthy response’ is completely ignored. (In such cases, protestors who are not aware of this possibility can be easily manipulated, but the presence of individuals aware of such possibilities can also influence the environment away from police demeanours and/or physical positioning which tend to provoke ‘violence-worthy response’.)


2 Anonymous March 14, 2018 at 1:22 am

Interesting but odd. In the end they count EVERY instance of harassment as an attempted rape, and then say that most of the harassment did not end in rape, but this is assuming a bit much. I also do not think it is accepted that if a man were to say, verbally “harass” a woman, and she then had sex with him, that this would be a “successful rape”.


3 david March 13, 2018 at 12:24 pm

What will be the significance of #4?


4 Gabe Atthouse March 13, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Nothing. Dierdre has been complaining about “stargazing” for years, and we can’t get away from it. I’d also like to add it’s pervasiveness in natural sciences and finance.


5 Edward Burke March 13, 2018 at 12:29 pm

3. Wrong metaphor?

What a difference might be posed here resulting from citing Greek political theory (however astute) to the exclusion of citing Roman political history. Why would anyone today see “theory” as holding greater explanatory power than “history”, especially when American politics is being considered?

Are “elite” or “elitist” citations of political theory necessarily informed? are they better informed than informed citations of political history? (Has America in its history conformed more to the lineaments suggested by Greek political theory or to those suggested by Roman political history?)

Has the modern disdain for (or outright repudiation of) history run its course yet? (Does the broad modern repudiation of history [and American neglect of history specifically] itself conform more closely to Greek political theory or to Roman political [and ostensibly, republican] history?)


6 mkt42 March 14, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Valid questions; Turchin and his “cliodynamics” remind me of Asimov’s Hari Seldon and “psychohistory”. But theory that ignores history may be fatally limited.

OTOH, it’s not as if the historians can give us correct answers about what’s going to happen and what we should do about it. I’m not familiar with Turchin’s work aside from that article and glancing at his website, it seems like an impossibly ambitious research goal. But I thought his response to Tyler’s essay was pretty good. Maybe it would be better if it incorporated Roman political history, but he did mention Caesar. Presumably you have in mind some Roman antecedents of fascism or tyranny — or some other metaphor? Roman emperors overthrowing the Republic? But again Turchin did mention Caesar.


7 Edward Burke March 15, 2018 at 12:27 am

Grazie. Turchin seems capable of invoking as much Roman political history as he cares to, I’m sure.

Perhaps no more extensively than he alludes to Caesar, I have meditated a bit lately on the Roman Republic’s career: under the terms of its instantiation, the Republic initially fared intact for just over two centuries, and the decline of the Republic then continued for two-and-a-half centuries, until Caesar seized the day.

With that quasi-historical/quasi-metaphorical citation: the American Republic 242 years into its career faces severe Constitutional overhaul that, lo and behold, no one seems actively contemplating these days if they have even tentative plans to attempt to avert the deep civil unrest that Turchin alluded to. (Trump is NO dynastic figure as much as he may want to be, but I’m sure he’s provoking all kinds of bright ideas in his fellows and colleagues, whether Senators or generals.)

Meanwhile, each of our leading political parties is in dire need of reconstitution (I’ve wondered that Republicans could become Constitutionalists, Democrats could declare themselves Populists or Progressives): but do these two think and believe they can wait to reconstitute until AFTER a Constitutional overhaul is convened (by someone)? I begin to suspect that several someones’ hands will somehow be forced. Dire days for the republic, until.


8 rayward March 13, 2018 at 12:30 pm

1. As environmental conditions worsen, I can imagine a world in which Facebook vigilantism would be considered an affectionate kiss by comparison. As the hurricane force winds knocked trees on hundreds of houses and tidal surge flooded hundreds of homes during our last hurricane, I witnessed neighbor turning on neighbor for real or imagined actions that may or may not have increased the risk of falling trees or flooding. Desperate people can act crazy. I’ve yet to figure out the scope of Cowen’s concerns about “complacency”. It strikes me that people have been complacent about the risks of global warming and rising seas for a very long time; indeed, it strikes me that people have been complacent about building homes in hurricane prone and flood prone areas for a very long time. Cowen seems more concerned about avoidance of risk not taking risks (i.e., he would encourage risk-taking). I recently listened to Cowen’s TED talk given in 2009 on “stories”. In it he advises to avoid “stories” and to accept the “mess” that a less-ordered life entails. Maybe Cowen has exceptionally nice neighbors.


9 TMC March 13, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Did people forget what hurricanes were like because of our recent quiet spell? Did last year’s return to normalcy seem especially bad?


10 Reg Hall March 13, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Hurricanes have been less frequent in the last few years:



11 A March 13, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Let us get Acemoglu eat al. straight. Current production is premised on the combustion of hydrocarbons the primary cost of which is something called “carbon” — in addition to other apparently real externalities that follow from the fact that carbon is “not clean technology”. The point of this paper — even admitting that all the premises are not only correct but precisely defined and precisely translated into the math I did not read — is that technologies which attenuate damage from the primary cost of emitting hydrocarbons are actually bad because they will not lead to the taxation of carbon the relative benefit of which, in this case, is the coincidental reduction of “dirty tech”.

Why don’t these “benevolent social planners” just tax “dirty technologies” in that case. Something about “time inconsistencies” that result from genius benevolent social planners and firms that won’t invest in yada-yada because they know that the geniuses can’t commit to some sort of “higher than optimal tax”. Elected of course by people who apparently need to be nudged and tricked into saving an extra several billion dollars (assuming of course this is a good thing like all the serious people say it is). Or am I getting my Nobel prize winners mixed up?


12 Jeff R March 13, 2018 at 1:36 pm

Removing the buzzwords, isn’t the basic intuition here that if you mitigate the worst effects of C02 emissions, you’ll undermine support for C02 taxes? That seems basically correct. I dunno if that makes it a good argument against geoengineering; that seems shakier.


13 Thor March 13, 2018 at 6:37 pm

It’s worse than shaky, which would it’s a “good” theory simply in need of better arguments. No, it’s a downright weird claim.


14 Jason S. March 13, 2018 at 12:35 pm

2. Big hit for the signaling model as applied to K-12? WWCS?


15 JWatts March 13, 2018 at 12:40 pm

1. Acemoglu and Rafey on the economics of geoengineering.”

“Geoengineering advances, which reduce the negative environmental effects of the existing stock of carbon, decrease future carbon taxes and thus discourage private investments in conventional clean technology”

That’s similar to arguing against building prisons because it would lead to less crime which might lead to a curtailing of policing budgets.


16 A March 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Actually I think it’s more like arguing against preemptive policing budgets because these would inhibit the likelihood of people prone to violent crime committing violent crime thereby depriving society’s opportunity to have them thrown in jail outright. While it is true that violent crimes are the most salient downside of people prone to committing violent crimes, these people are also likely to be a menace in a number of other manners, and so attenuating the effect of this most negative feature is not worth the cost of having to deal with these people in less dire circumstances.

And with models and math and stuff.


17 A March 13, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Actually this is a little too charitable because the case for violent criminals being bad people seems way more credible to me than vaguely discernible trends based on politicized science — the saving grace of which is that the central mechanism was discovered by eminent French scientists (real scientists) in the 19th century with last names like Fourier


18 Troll Me March 13, 2018 at 7:31 pm

That would presuppose that facilitating networking between convicts, while simultaneously restricting access to non-crime sources of income, is likely to reduce crime.

Surely there is a non-zero level of incarceration. But to extend upon this to claim that building more prisons and incarcerating more people will always result in some improvement, simply is not supported by some diversity of research on recidivism.


19 So Much For Subtlety March 13, 2018 at 8:06 pm

I disagree. The majority of research on crime is not worth the paper it is printed on but we have done a massive experiment on this. Letting people out causes more crime. Locking more people up causes less crime.

There is no limit to the number of prisons we could build that would not reduce crime.

But I agree about the networking thing. Which is why hanging is a better idea.


20 JWatts March 13, 2018 at 10:17 pm

“But I agree about the networking thing. Which is why hanging is a better idea.”

Fair point.


21 Joël March 13, 2018 at 10:23 pm

That’s how I understood the paper. I was hoping that someone who had a favorable view of it could explain in a more supportive way where its value lies, but everyone here seems to find it absurd. Tyler perhaps ?


22 MP March 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Just done one read through, so may not have all settled yet, but the key point is Remark 1 on Carbon Leakage, that this is an extension of the literature on carbon leakage to incorporate the Undiscovered Country of the future.

To build on the above posters analogy to building prisons. “That’s similar to arguing against building prisons because it would lead to less crime which might lead to a curtailing of policing budgets.”

What the paper is saying is that:

in a situation where a judge proposes the optimal sentencing to minimise recidivism, the work of others to make prisons more rehabilitative (less reoffending) will lead to the judge in the present setting his sentences at a level that discourages less crime in the present.

The analogy shows a key issue in the assumptions made in the paper, that policy makers are setting the perfect tax and the perfect amount of geoengineering (They also model policy makers setting too lenient taxes and find it exacerbates the issue).


23 Thiago Ribeiro March 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm

#5 David Beckworth interviews Noah

I would like his thoughts on the Flood and Ark building techniques.


24 Axa March 13, 2018 at 12:54 pm

#6: “Attempted rapes often fail, and many kinds of sexual advances do not get very far.”

The author makes the implicit assumption that all aggressors are after intercourse, therefore no penetration = failure. What if the aggressor just wanted and succeeded in dirty talk and groping? It’s a failure in Mr. Collins framing. From this assumption he produces some “stats”.

This framing is very very wrong. It’s similar to assuming all thefts end in the victim being murdered. Then, if someone only robs my car at gunpoint and I get a non-fatal shot it’s good because I was not murdered. Then babble about “micro-interactional conditions by which ____ aggression can be deterred– locally, on the spot, by participants themselves”.


25 Thor March 13, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Google “Oakland cafe refuse to serve cops”.

AKA: We can do policing ourselves, without microaggression etc etc!


26 Dave Barnes March 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

For #1
We could always change our approach.
See The Seedling Stars by James Blish.


27 Dan March 13, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Re #2, I wonder what Bryan Caplan has to say about that?! Do strikes prevent the kids from signaling or whatever?


28 Jan March 13, 2018 at 1:34 pm

2) Unclear how applicable to the US it is, but good research. Paper looks at primary school teacher strikes in Argentina, average length of about 3 months. They find the aggregate shortfall in earnings is equivalent to a 19% increase in average teacher pay, suggesting that paying teachers higher salaries to not avoid strikes is likely worth it.


29 Jan March 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Should say ” to avoid strikes”.


30 Daniel Weber March 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm

I’m pretty sure teacher union advocates would admit that the students directly hit by the strike are harmed, but that this is made up for by improving teacher working conditions (which they would insist improve student outcomes) overall.

Even though I think they are wrong, the refusal to do a job is pretty basic right. (So, of course, should be firing the people who aren’t working.)


31 Jan March 13, 2018 at 2:08 pm

I agree teachers would admit this; it is what gives them their leverage to ensure adequate working conditions and pay. Though they may think of it more as an inconvenience with minor effects than something linked to real effects like earnings. And when it only lasts a few days, or if the days of instruction are made up, that’s to be basically true.

Firing striking workers seems appealing, but if it occurs on a large scale without the ability to quickly replace them, that is ultimately worse for the students and elected officials may pay for it at the ballot box.


32 lxm March 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Here in Tennessee teachers are under paid and often must buy supplies for their classes out of their own pockets. We are the richest country in the world and can not even fund a decent education for our children.


33 JWatts March 13, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Teachers do often do pay for supplies out of their own pocket. But it’s silly to say they’re underpaid. The actual salaries are public information. Indeed, my wife made nearly the exact same comment this weekend. So I pulled up the salary information and showed it to her. (She was under the impression after talking with various teachers that they were making less than $30K per year.)

Kindergarten Teachers Except Special Education = $46,960

Elementary School Teachers Except Special Education = $47,770

Secondary School Teachers Except Special and Career/Technical Education = $49,250


Keep in mind, this is base salary, and doesn’t include any addition paid responsibilities or the class room expense money they receive.


34 Known Fact March 13, 2018 at 3:40 pm

How good (or not so good) are the pensions?


35 JWatts March 13, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Roughly, 50% final salary at 30 years.

36 Ohioan March 13, 2018 at 4:04 pm

That seems like very little pay, given that teachers are tasked with ensuring the continuance of culture and civilization.


37 Jeff R March 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm

They only work 9 months a year.

38 Daniel Weber March 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm

If you want to say “civilization depends upon teachers” than it needs to become really easy to fire teachers.

I can’t say whether they are over- or under-paid in Tenn. If you can attract and keep the quality of teacher you want, they aren’t underpaid. In my state, we cannot attract and keep the quality they need, so they’re underpaid, but I don’t know Tennessee’s situation.

39 Careless March 13, 2018 at 5:35 pm

And yet, no one else pays them more, except for the Swiss (depending on current exchange rates)

40 Anonymous March 14, 2018 at 2:14 am


Road builders and foodstuff farmers are also tasked with ensuring the continuance of civilization, but supply and demand matter.

41 Dashiel_Bad_Horse March 14, 2018 at 9:11 am

I wonder how much farmers get paid, given that they’re tasked with ensuring the human race has enough to eat.

42 lxm March 13, 2018 at 4:13 pm

If you look here: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/9/17100404/teacher-salary-underpaid-database

You will discover that after adjusting for inflation teachers salaries have declined in Tennessee since 2003. And while it may be true that in some jurisdictions teachers may receive expense money, they do not receive it here in east Tennessee.

We are the richest nation in the world and can not even fund a decent education for our children.


43 Jeff R March 13, 2018 at 4:14 pm

Medicaid and higher education are probably sucking up the available public funds.

44 JWatts March 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm

“And while it may be true that in some jurisdictions teachers may receive expense money, they do not receive it here in east Tennessee.”

You keep saying things that are obviously wrong.

“New Tennessee law doubles supply money for teachers”

“Currently, $200 is set aside for every public teacher in K-12 for instructional supplies. The $200 is divided with $100 given to each teacher for instructional supplies as determined necessary by the teacher and $100 being pooled with all such teachers in a school and spent as determined by a committee of the teachers for such purpose.

The new law removes the requirement to divide the $200, and will allow teachers to receive the full stipend.

In addition, Senate Bill 0859 provides for, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, a $500 stipend included in the Basic Education Program for every first year K-12 teacher. The entire $500 will be given to each first year teacher by October 31 so the teacher may spend it at any time during the school year on instructional supplies as determined necessary by the teacher.”


45 Daniel Weber March 13, 2018 at 5:40 pm

We are the richest country in the world and can not even fund a decent education for our children.

1. Please stop spamming this until you learn to distinguish between Tennessee and the Federal government.

2. Like with health care, the US spends way more compared to other countries on education.

46 lxm March 13, 2018 at 6:44 pm

J. Watts: We are routinely asked to contribute funds to teachers to provide supplies for their classes. I guess you must think they are just lying to us.

D. Weber: Perhaps, as with health care, we spend more and get less. I’ve encountered many college grads who cannot write a grammatically correct English sentence and I’ve encountered many high school grads who cannot make change while working a cash register.

We are the richest nation in the world and can not even fund a decent education for our children. If that statement is false then why is there so much effort to privatize our schools?

47 JWatts March 13, 2018 at 7:13 pm

“J. Watts: We are routinely asked to contribute funds to teachers to provide supplies for their classes. I guess you must think they are just lying to us.”

No, I think you are trying to craft a narrative. You said: “some jurisdictions teachers may receive expense money, they do not receive it here in east Tennessee.

This is factually wrong. You repeating it makes it a lie. I pointed to a link which proves it’s not correct. But you are doubling down. Almost every teacher and school asks for additional funds for class room supplies. That does not mean they don’t get any expense money, it means they’d like to spend more than the minimum. I don’t have a problem with that and we always donate supplies, money and time to help out. I do have a problem with you ignoring facts to craft some kind of mental narrative.

48 Anonymous March 13, 2018 at 7:40 pm

“If that statement is false then why is there so much effort to privatize our schools?”

Even by comment section standards that non-sequitur is pretty laughable.

49 TMC March 13, 2018 at 8:19 pm

“Perhaps, as with health care, we spend more and get less”

And this is wrong too. We do get more, bu pay way for it.

50 Anon7 March 13, 2018 at 10:42 pm

“We are the richest nation in the world and can not even fund a decent education for our children.”

The self-defensive sanctimoniousness of teachers is annoying. Virtually every time the subject comes up on a blog some teacher shows up and makes a comment like that. And no, allowing teachers in general to gorge at the public trough is not a proven way of substantially improving the quality of schools.

51 Careless March 13, 2018 at 11:15 pm

I guess you must think they are just lying to us.

Well, either they’re lying to you or you’re lying to us. It has to be one of the two. And you know if you’re lying to us, so you know the answer.

52 Daniel Weber March 14, 2018 at 1:40 pm

We are the richest nation in the world and can not even fund a decent education for our children. If that statement is false then why is there so much effort to privatize our schools?

I am now convinced there is no effort to argue in good faith.

53 Mark Barbieri March 13, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Quoting salaries seems like a lousy way of determining if teachers are underpaid. If salaries were 10 times higher but they couldn’t attract and retain enough teachers, I would argue that they weren’t paying enough. If salaries were set at the minimum wage and they had not problems attracting and retaining teachers, I would say that they aren’t underpaid. Nobody has presented evidence that Tennessee does or does not have trouble attracting and retaining teachers.

As a taxpayer (not in Tennessee), I get frustrated every time that teachers ask for higher pay but continue to insist on level payscales. I’d be happy to give large pay raises to great teachers if I could also cut the pay of bad teachers. When I tell this to teachers, they always wail about how it is impossible to measure who the great teachers are and who the bad ones are (although every parent I know can quickly tell you). If they are indistinguishable in effectiveness, why I am worried about paying more if I can fill the slots?


54 JWatts March 13, 2018 at 7:15 pm

“Quoting salaries seems like a lousy way of determining if teachers are underpaid”

Quoting salaries is an objective measurement. Underpaid/overpaid is often a subjective measurement. Hence I quoted some actual data so people could make up their own mind.

55 Troll Me March 13, 2018 at 7:37 pm

Both good points.

56 edgar March 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm

The Argentine education system is much more advanced than the US system having progressed far beyond one-size fits all residential attendance policies and empowering families to match children’s needs with appropriate venues.

Given that unionized teachers in the US are protected from efforts to ascertain if they are even literate, US children exposed to strikes probably have better outcomes the longer the strike. The US unionized teacher workforce has been demonstrated to have a markedly deleterious effect on long-term student outcomes: http://educationnext.org/bad-bargain-teacher-collective-bargaining-employment-earnings/


57 Anon7 March 13, 2018 at 11:11 pm

As Thiago Ribeiro might say: “In World Cup Of Education, Brazil Is Bad, But Argentina Is Worse.”



58 Dave Smith March 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm

#4, Duh.

#2, so the typical interpretation is that everyone should bow to teacher strikes? What’s the equilibrium of that?


59 Anon7 March 13, 2018 at 10:55 pm

Because it’s for “the children” we can assume that it will have a much higher equilibrium price than the mafia’s extortion racket.


60 Dale March 13, 2018 at 3:07 pm

What’s with #4? No reference to any of Andrew Gelman’s work? Classic economist formula for publication – pretend you discovered everything because you haven’t read anything.


61 mkt42 March 14, 2018 at 7:23 am

4: This article seems to focus on the math, which is less important than the actual hypothesis, results, and the conclusion or new beliefs that we draw. Sometimes a non-significant result will cause us to change our beliefs more than a significant result will. As another commenter said, duh.

This is not to deny the publication bias in favor of statistically significant results, but again, duh. It depends on the situation — and usually a researcher is looking into some research question that other people don’t know or care much about and the only way to get the research published is to show that there something statistically significant going on.


62 Donald Pretari March 14, 2018 at 3:14 pm

#3…Mussolini fashioned a philosophy based upon what people wanted to hear, no matter how heterogeneous. Trump can’t even fashion a philosophy. I can’t see Americans killing each other over of any of this. Maybe themselves, but not other fellow citizens.


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