Data Source

Hong Kong is a tough marriage market for women because of the city’s skewed gender ratio — 876 males for every 1,000 females, a gap predicted to worsen to 712 to 1,000 by 2041.

That is from Julie Zhu at the FT.

The decline in on-the-job training

by on February 28, 2015 at 1:34 am in Data Source, Economics | Permalink


That is from Timothy Taylor, who remains a model of excellence and lucidity.

That is a new and provocative paper by James Edward Mahon Jr. of Williams College, the abstract is here:

This paper explores the relationship between government size and economic freedom, relating these patterns to theories of fiscal politics. In order to address current political controversies, it uses data on pre-1990 OECD members (minus Norway) for central government tax revenues and spending, as well as indicators of economic freedom derived from the Fraser Institute, ICRG, Heritage Foundation, and the World Bank. It finds that it matters a great deal whether we define size as expenditures or taxation. Spending has no relationship with freedom, or a negative one, across this data set. Initial tax revenue levels, however, positively predict subsequent changes in economic freedom. We find similar patterns using different measures of economic freedom and whether we use annual data (1995-2010) or overlapping six-year averages going back to 1970-75. These results challenge the common preconception that taxes and economic freedom are negatively related. In addition, the divergence between tax revenue and spending in this regard is more consistent with a “fiscal contract” model of the state, in which taxation and economic freedom go together, as governments attend to their legitimacy and the health of the private sector in order to increase revenue, but flag in these efforts when they enjoy sources of income other than taxes.

For the pointer I thank the excellent Kevin Lewis.

Here is a piece by Tomala, Jia, and Norton:

When people seek to impress others, they often do so by highlighting individual achievements. Despite the intuitive appeal of this strategy, we demonstrate that people often prefer potential rather than achievement when evaluating others. Indeed, compared with references to achievement (e.g., “this person has won an award for his work”), references to potential (e.g., “this person could win an award for his work”) appear to stimulate greater interest and processing, which can translate into more favorable reactions. This tendency creates a phenomenon whereby the potential to be good at something can be preferred over actually being good at that very same thing. We document this preference for potential in laboratory and field experiments, using targets ranging from athletes to comedians to graduate school applicants and measures ranging from salary allocations to online ad clicks to admission decisions.

Here are some ungated copies.  For the pointer I thank the excellent Kevin Lewis, who sent me the link in response to my earlier post on age discrimination.

Kevin Drum reports an anomaly:

…here’s the rate of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., as tallied by the Anti-Defamation League. What you see is a peak in the early 90s and a decline ever since. This is exactly the same thing that you see in rates of violent crime in general. In other words, as violent crime fell, violent crime directed at Jews also fell. This makes sense.

But the global picture is quite different. Partly this is probably due to the fact that the worldwide numbers come from a different source (the Kantor Center in Tel Aviv) and are tallied up using a different methodology. But I doubt that accounts for the stark contrast: worldwide, anti-Semitic attacks have been on a straight upward path ever since the late 90s. This is despite the fact that violent crime in Europe, which accounts for most of the incidents, has followed a trajectory pretty similar to the U.S.

Kevin also reports that the Canadian pattern is closer to Europe than to the United States.  You also can find some charts at the link.

Are there any reasonable explanations which involve economic factors?

Tom Warner writes:

…the budget balance fell off a cliff in December. State budget revenues were only 2.4% below adjustment program target in Jan-Nov, but were 14% below target in December and 20% below target in January. That’s a huge shortfall – if a 20% revenue shortfall were to persist for the whole of 2015, that would be more than €11b euros of missing revenues and more than 6% of GDP.

So the issue now isn’t whether Greece can hit some pie-in-the-sky target, it’s whether it can get back to where it was in Jan-Nov of last year. Syriza’s going to have to get the state finances in order very quickly or they’re going to go boom.

Here is Tom Warner’s blog.

The largest conglomerates are still in the lead:

When we sum up the many networks owned by each media conglomerate, we can see how mighty these giants truly are. Netflix may be the largest “cable channel” by more than 100%, but it ranks 7th among cable television groups. Add in broadcast, and the delta is even greater. Not only is Disney more than three times as large as Netflix, but the OTT service makes up only 5% of total US video consumption per month. It may be that no single channel has the breadth of content and scale to be a serious Netflix competitor, but their parents certainly do.

That is from Liam Boluk.  Here is Boluk on the economics of Youtube: “Felix Kjellberg (PewDiePie) is already more popular than scores of Hollywood TV and film celebrities.”

From StatisticalIdeasBlogspot:

Of the top 10 populated states, 5 were also among the top 10 “unequal” states: CA, TX, FL, NY, IL.  Of the 10 least populated states, 4 were also among the 10 least “unequal” states: VT, AK, ME, HI.  So instead of 4 overlapping states, we have a significantly higher 9 (5+4) states overlapping.  Additionally, there are no crossover states (e.g., a highly “unequal” less-populated state, nor a less “unequal” highly-populated state).  The easy math (9>4 with no crossovers) shows something, and it’s not structural inequality.

The only common variable between the selection of the top 10 (and in the selection of the bottom 10) populated states is just population size itself!

There is also a useful map at the link.

Yesterday a few of you asked me to run this poll.  Please leave your answers in the comments, I will report back.  I thank you all in advance for the wisdom of your responses.  And please restrict your answers to living people, or say anyone who has passed away in the last five years, so this should be about contemporaries, not Joan of Arc or Einstein.

In order:

1. Barack Obama

2. Pope Francis

3. Bill Clinton

4. Rev. Billy Graham

5. George W. Bush

6. Ben Carson

7. Stephen Hawking

8. Bill Gates

9. Bill O’Reilly

10. Benjamin Netanyahu

11. Vladimir Putin

The source is here.  If I understand the ranking system properly, #6-11 are basically tied.

Given who is on the list, what should we infer about America as a nation?  About human nature?

David N. Weil has a new paper on this topic, and it makes some interesting points, here is one:

Net Social Security wealth of currently living Americans in 2013 was $12.9 trillion, or three quarters of a year’s GDP.

More generally he makes this point:

In 1700, at the beginning of the period that he studies in his book, marketable assets were indeed pretty much the only form of wealth.  But over the intervening 300 years, new types of wealth, most notably human capital and transfer wealth, have come to constitute a very significant fraction of total wealth.  Thus the constancy of the wealth/income ratio as portrayed in his data is an illusion.  More important, however, is the fact that the distribution of the new types of wealth that he does not measure is far more equal than, and not perfectly correlated with, wealth that falls into his analysis.

The paper is interesting throughout, the NBER version is here.  The top link here leads you go an ungated pdf.

Addendum: In a new essay Piketty responds to critics.

“Highly specific pools of reputation information will become more useful in aggregate,” said Mr. Fertik, co-author with David C. Thompson of “The Reputation Economy,” a guide to optimizing digital footprints. “If you’re a really good Uber passenger, that may be useful information for Amtrak or American Airlines. But if you add in your reputation from Airbnb plus OpenTable plus eBay, it starts to get useful globally.”

There is more here, interesting throughout.  But will there be errors in these measurements?  As I wrote to Ashok Rao, fresh regressions are a public good.

Here’s the data on Swedes at Oxford.

The average acceptance rate for EU applicants was 9.2%. For Swedish applicants it was 3.2%.

For 2013, both Oxford and Cambridge accepted 140 students from Singapore, a country of 3.3 million citizens.

They took 26 from Canada, which has 33 million people.

That is from Chip.

Sarah O’Connor reports from the FT:

Pay inequality has lessened in the UK during the past three years because the real wages of highly paid employees have fallen more steeply than those in low-paid jobs.

While there is concern about high levels of income inequality in the UK, analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank suggests the squeeze on wages has been more acute at the top than the bottom. It also shows that men have fared worse than women and the young worse than the old.

The full story is here.

From a recently published research paper by Gustaf Bruze:

Counterfactual analysis conducted with the model suggests that Danish men and women are earning on the order of half of their returns to schooling through improved marital outcomes.

For the pointer I thank the excellent Kevin Lewis, and there are ungated versions here.