Current Affairs

China bank spank

by on June 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm in Current Affairs, Economics | Permalink

The trainer, Jiang Yang, has issued an apology, saying the spanking was “a training model I have tried for years” and had not been instigated by executives at the bank…

The video, which first surfaced on Monday, appears to have been taken by someone in the audience on a smartphone.

Mr Jiang is seen reprimanding eight bank employees on stage, asking them why they received the lowest scores in a training exercise.

The employees give answers including “I did not exceed myself”, “I did not co-ordinate with my team” and “I lacked courage”.

Mr Jiang then says “get your butts ready” and proceeds to spank them with what appears to be a thick piece of wood.

Here is more along with the video.  It seems the spanker focused his apology toward the bank executives rather than those who were spanked.

For the pointer I thank Ray Lopez.

“The betting is just massive,” says Mike Smithson, founder and editor of PoliticalBetting.com, a website that is something like a Bloomberg terminal for people who wager on political events. He characterizes the referendum as “the biggest political betting event of all time, anywhere.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday alone, the Brexit vote attracted wagers worth more than £3 million ($4.4 million), most of it via online transactions, and three-fourths landing on remain, Mr. Smithson estimated.

Yet in contrast:

William Hill estimates that the bookmaking industry will rack up wagers of £500 million ($735 million) on the European Championships. A World Cup final alone tends to attract £200 million ($294 million) in wagers to William Hill’s books.

That is from the NYT.  Last I saw the odds on Brexit were down to about 12 percent.  I also walked by the European Commission in Brussels, and saw not the slightest sign of panic or for that matter interest.  Nor was anyone in Molenbeek this morning gazing at the Brexit odds on their smart phones — most were too busy selling vegetables.

…note that Solar City’s stock, after jumping up 12% at yesterday’s open, ended the day only up 3%; both are well below the 25%~34% premium offered by Tesla, suggesting the market is very skeptical of this deal happening. The problem, though, is that Tesla dropped 9.2% at open (representing a market cap loss that was double Solar City’s worth), but instead of moving back up in the opposite direction of Solar City’s drop, the stock actually closed down even further for a 10.5% decline. This suggests that a good portion of the drop is not due to the possibility of Solar City being acquired, but a loss of confidence in the company.

That is from Ben Thompson’s Stratechery newsletter, worth paying for or so I find at least.  Here is basic background on the proposed deal.

Rates of marijuana use among Colorado’s teenagers are essentially unchanged in the years since the state’s voters legalized marijuana in 2012, new survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows.

In 2015, 21 percent of Colorado youths had used marijuana in the past 30 days. That rate is slightly lower than the national average and down slightly from the 25 percent who used marijuana in 2009, before legalization. The survey was based on a random sample of 17,000 middle and high school students in Colorado.

That is from Christopher Ingraham at Wonkblog.  Those are surveys, yes, but even the continuing feeling that one needs to lie and say no should count for something.

Newspaper headlines trumpeted that the middle class is shrinking but to a large extent that is because people are moving into the upper middle class not because they are getting poorer. By one measure, the middle class has shrunk from 38% of the US population in 1980 to 32% today but at the same time the upper middle class has grown from 12% to 30% of the population today.

Josh Zumbrun at the WSJ has an excellent piece on new research from the (liberal-leaning) Urban Institute and elsewhere:

upper middle

There is no standard definition of the upper middle class. Many researchers have defined the group as households or families with incomes in the top 20%, excluding the top 1% or 2%. Mr. Rose, by contrast, uses a more dynamic method similar to how researchers calculate the poverty rate, which allows for growth or shrinkage over time, and adjusts for family size.

Using Census Bureau data available through 2014, he defines the upper middle class as any household earning $100,000 to $350,000 for a family of three: at least double the U.S. median household income and about five times the poverty level. At the same time, they are quite distinct from the richest households. Instead of inheritors of dynastic wealth or the chief executives of large companies, they are likely middle-managers or professionals in business, law or medicine with bachelors and especially advanced degrees.

Smaller households can earn somewhat less to be classified as upper middle-class; larger households need to earn somewhat more.

Mr. Rose adjusts these thresholds for inflation back to 1979 and finds the population earning this much money has never been so large. One could quibble with his exact thresholds or with the adjustment that he uses for inflation. But using different measures of inflation, or using higher income thresholds for the upper-middle class, produces the same result: substantial growth among this group since the 1970s.

Critics attribute such medical experimentation in China to national ambition, generous state funding, a utilitarian worldview that prioritizes results, and a lack of transparency and accountability to the outside world.

If that is the critics, I wonder what the defenders say!  That concerns transplanting one person’s head onto the body of another.  From that NYT article, the procedure still seems impossible.  Nonetheless I am not sure the NYT’s articulation of the critical charges sounds as damning as many biomedical ethicists might wish to think…

Paris recently made a bold pitch to woo City of London bankers in the event of Brexit. But, HSBC aside, most banks scoff at the idea that Paris would be a natural venue. Frankfurt, home of the European Central Bank and the financial capital of Europe’s biggest economy, is also problematic. As a small city with a population of less than 700,000 people, it is seen as provincial and unpopular with staff. Dublin is English-speaking and attractive on tax grounds, but it is a relative backwater. The most likely outcome is that foreign banks with large operations in London would shift their staff to a spread of eurozone locations where they already have operations — including Frankfurt, Dublin, Paris, Warsaw and Lisbon. That would fragment the financial services industry in Europe, potentially weakening the continent’s ability to compete internationally.

It’s not Europe, but of course we have to add New York City to the list of alternative cities.  The Patrick Jenkins FT article is interesting throughout.

The Dutch are still consuming about 5 per cent less, on average, than they were almost a decade ago.

Furthermore:

Yet the employment rate for Dutch 25-54-year-olds, a reasonable measure of the economy’s underlying vigour, is still about 5 percentage points below the pre-crisis peak.

Here is a possible surprise in this context:

It has the biggest current account surplus, as a share of output, in the entire euro area, making Germany look almost Anglo-Saxon by comparison.

Much of the remainder of the Matthew C. Klein Alphaville post builds an interesting comparison between the Netherlands and Belgium, recommended.  Part of the problem may be the Dutch housing market and tough bankruptcy law.

…the market cap of four of the largest coal companies was more than $35 billion in 2011. After a flurry of regulation, it’s now a smudge on the graph below, a decline of 99 percent.

That is from Sam Batkins, via Rick Newman and Joanna Bryson 2.

That is the new article by Michael Rosenwald, here is an excerpt:

From 1976 to 1994, there were about 18 mass shootings per year, according to Fox’s data, which is drawn from  federal statistics. Between 1995 and 2004, a period covering the ban [on assault weapons], there were about 19 incidents per year. And from 2005 to 2011, after the ban expired, the average went up to nearly 21.

Fox makes an important point about what probably happened during the ban: Mass shooters can rather “easily” come up with “alternate means of mass casualty if that were necessary.”

In other words, if they can’t get an AR-15, they get a Glock.

Assault rifles are used in only about 27 percent of mass shootings, see Alex too.

Here is an additional piece worth reading: “common state and federal gun laws that outlaw assault weapons are unrelated to the likelihood of an assault weapon being used during a public shooting event. Moreover, results show that the use of assault weapons is not related to more victims or fatalities than other types of guns.”

There is more here.

A Washington Post review of federal campus safety data for more than 2,200 colleges that offer bachelor’s or advanced degrees found that more than 1,300 of the schools had no reports of rape on campus in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available.

Here is more from Nick Anderson.

Remember the recent Op-Ed by Larry Summers on the difficulty of repairing bridges rapidly?  Well, this problem has a new angle:

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn and Staten Island, was named after an Italian explorer. There is just one problem: The man is widely known as Giovanni da Verrazzano, with two z’s.

More than a half-century after the bridge opened, some New Yorkers are calling for the spelling error to be corrected. An online petition taking up the cause has brought renewed attention to the enduring discrepancy.

“By rectifying Verrazzano’s name, we’re really saying to all Italians and Italian-Americans that we respect them and appreciate them,” said Joseph V. Scelsa, the president of the Italian American Museum in Lower Manhattan.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority does not appear eager to tackle the issue. A spokesman for the authority, Christopher McKniff, said adjusting the bridge’s name would be an expensive and labor-intensive undertaking.

“At this time, we are not considering any name change for the Verrazano Bridge,” Mr. McKniff said in a statement that hewed to the one-z spelling.

Here is the full NYT story.

In his hunt for a libertarian center, he comes off as less angry about the state than many Republicans.

The piece is interesting throughout.  Yesterday Nate Silver tweeted:

Could very easily wind up with an outcome like Clinton 47%, Trump 41%, Johnson 10%, Stein/others 2%, or something in that vicinity.

With less than 1% of China’s GDP, it [Wenzhou] has accounted for nearly a tenth of bankruptcy cases nationwide over the past three years. It established one of China’s first courts dedicated to handling such cases. “Other cities hear ‘bankruptcy’ and get scared. Here, we are tasting how sweet it can be,” says Zhou Guang, who heads the Wenzhou Lawyers’ Association.

Here is the full story.

I study the effect that expanding Medicaid eligibility has on labor force participation of childless adults. The Affordable Care Act provided federal funding for states to expand public health insurance to populations that had never before been eligible for the benefit on a large scale, among those are adults without dependent children. A 2012 Supreme Court decision allowed states to choose whether or not they wanted to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility, resulting in a situation where roughly half of the population resided in states that had expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2014 and half did not. I exploit this variation by conducting a series of difference-in-differences and triple differences analyses both at a local level within one labor market, and nationwide to determine the relationship between Medicaid expansion and labor force participation. I find a significant negative relationship between Medicaid expansion and labor force participation, in which expanding Medicaid is associated with 1.5 to 3 percentage point drop in labor force participation.

That is from a Georgetown thesis by Tomas Wind, via Ben Southwood.  Given the possibility of paternalistic judgments in health care policy, the simplest question here is whether this class of individuals is better off as a whole, as a result of some of them choosing this trade-off.  Work is good for most people, and it is even better for their future selves, and their future children too.