1. It is believed that MIT graduating Ph.d. students are more likely to stay in academia than those from any other school or field.
2. Across 1977-2011, MIT economists made up 34 percent of the members of the CEA, and Robert Solow supervised one-third of that group.
3. Even in the early days of MIT, Paul Samuelson was not a major thesis advisor, and his students were not so likely to return to MIT as faculty.
4. Out of 35 J.B. Clark medalists until 2012, 47% of them have some affiliation with MIT, either a degree from there or teaching there.
5. As of a few years ago (I am not sure of the exact date), there were 1316 holders of an MIT Ph.d. in economics.
6. In the 2000s, Daron Acemoglu was the most active thesis advisor at MIT.
That is all from “MIT’s Rise to Prominence: Outline of a Collective Biography,” by Andrej Svorenčík. There are various versions of that article here, the jstor version here, and it is reprinted in MIT and the Transformation of American Economics, edited by E. Roy Weintraub.
The problem is that Mr. Tsipras has not convinced his creditors that he is serious about reform or that his team is remotely on top of the detail. He needs a game-changer. This should, indeed, be a rupture — but with his left faction, not his creditors.
That is from Hugo Dixon, file it under “Scream it From the Rooftops.” You will note, by the way, that the far-left faction accounts for 30 to 40 of the 149 coalition seats in the Greek parliament, so such an action would not be easy. It is still not too late, however, if only…
Paul Krugman has had a few posts on this question, most recently this one, the first one here. Krugman is right in asserting a major role for air conditioning, but there is a subtle framing point which is sometimes neglected. The most on-point study is this piece from Jordan Rappaport (pdf):
U.S. residents have been moving en masse to places with nice weather. Well known is the migration towards places with warm winters, which is often attributed to the introduction of air conditioning. But people have also been moving to places with cooler, less-humid summers, which is the opposite of what is expected from the introduction of air conditioning. Nor can the movement to nice weather be primarily explained by shifting industrial composition or by elderly migration. Instead, a large portion of weather-related moves appear to be the result of an increased valuation of nice weather as a consumption amenity, probably due to broad-based rising per capita income.
Overall Rappaport concludes that “nice [warm] weather is a normal good” is the more important driving force behind the movement to the Sun Belt than is air conditioning per se, though of course air conditioning makes nice warm weather all the nicer. Evidence from compensating differentials also indicates that “…the decreased discomfort from heat and humidity afforded by air-conditioning has not been the primary driver of the move to nice weather.” (p.26)
From 1880 to 1910, Americans overall are moving to places with bad (cold) weather. In the 1920s they start moving, on net, to places with nicer weather and that trend has not let up. The arrival of affordable air conditioning in the postwar era bumps this up a bit, but the main trend already was in place. Furthermore air conditioning has been in the south for quite a while now, but migration in that direction continues. In his second post on the topic, Krugman refers to this as a “gradual adjustment” to AC, but it seems to better fit the nice weather as a normal good story. We’ll know more if we see this migration continuing, but I expect it will. At some point it won’t be plausible to call the ongoing movement a “lagged response” to the introduction of air conditioning, but again it will fit the normal good story pretty smoothly.
Note also that life expectancy is notably higher in warm weather than cold weather. Deschenes and Moretti conclude (pdf): “…The longevity gains associated with mobility from the Northeast to the Southwest account for 4% to 7% of the total gains in life expectancy experienced by the U.S. population over the past thirty years.”
That again points toward a “normal good” explanation, with air conditioning playing a supporting role.
That all said, if you look at the larger political debate going on here, Krugman is correct in arguing that lower taxes are the not main reason for this migration, even though the median voter in these states probably approves of such relatively low tax rates. In any case, there is a clearer and better version of the weather hypothesis which can be put forward.
Addendum: David Beckworth adds commentary and some fascinating maps.
Advancement in China’s school system was highly competitive, and the odds of reaching the top of the educational ladder were very steep. Of the 32.9 million children who entered primary school in 1965, only 9 percent could expect to enter junior high school. Only 15 percent of junior high school entrants, in turn, could expect to graduate and enter high school. Among the highly selected groups that graduated from academic high schools, only 36 percent could expect to enroll in a university. Of those who entered primary school in 1965, only 1.3 percent could expect to attend an academic high school, and only one-half of 1 percent could expect to attend university.
Of course the Caplanian point is that China managed a lot of post-1979 economic growth with what was fundamentally a not very educated generation.
That excerpt is from Andrew G. Walder’s China Under Mao: A Revolution Derailed, my previous post on this excellent book is here.
Edward Hugh writes:
So, what do you do about the problem of secular stagnation? Again here there is divergence of opinion. Some still seek to treat the phenomenon as if it were a variant of the liquidity trap issue. Most notable here is Paul Krugman, who continues to hope that massive quantitative easing backed by strong fiscal stimulus will push the economy back onto a healthy path. But if the issue is secular stagnation, and the root is population ageing and shrinking, it is hard to see how this can be. The fact that Japan is just about to fall back into deflation 2 years after applying a monumental Quantitative Easing problem seems to endorse the idea that the problem may have no “solution” in the classical sense of the term.
There is this:
Finland has transited from being a country with a significant goods trade surplus, to being one with a structural deficit.
Even the current account balance has now turned negative.
And the country’s Net International Investment Position is also turning negative.
With pictures at the link.
Hugh’s conclusion is this:
At the end of the day, only two things can be said with a fair degree of certainty: short term fiscal austerity won’t make any significant improvement and could help make things worse (this whole discourse is based on a misunderstanding about the problem) while short term stimulus won’t stimulate.
More sensible than most of what you will read on this topic.
From Will Wilkinson:
Reminder: The much greater mystery is why people don’t go on shooting sprees or crash planes on purpose ALL THE TIME.
Here is one excerpt from his very interesting post:
I get and very much like the skeptical, anti-theoretical thrust of Strauss. I like his deep wariness of ideal theorizing, his exhortations to pay attention to the political life we are always already living. He’s right to see reasoning with others about about how to live as an inherently political activity. He’s right to insist on honoring the distinctive excellences of those sensitive to the texture of real political life and expert in its ceaseless negotations. He’s right that social scientific theories about politics are less politically valuable then good political judgment, and that people who think they’re going to govern “scientifically” are dangerously stupid. (Paraphrasing, here.) And, yes, when philosophy is merely a handmaiden to the dogmas of our age, pursued under the “ecumenical supervision” of the universities, it is profoundly compromised. To be a philosopher is not to have a job you clock in and out of. To be a philosopher is simply to be, philosophically, always. Right! But the Socratic life is the one very best life? The naturally right, life? Nope. Nope. I’ve read and read and never quite follow how we end up there. I mean, I think this is a great life, beyond wonderful. But nope.
Anyway, Strausseans are strangely obsessed with this idea that the philosophical life, so construed, is the best human life, full stop, and are therefore obsessed with the tension between the best life, which is in the business of exposing bullshit, and the political life, which is built on it.
I am very happy to order this book in advance, I hope Will lets me know when that is possible.
I was pleased to have been invited to deliver one of the comments at Elizabeth Anderson’s Tanner lectures at Princeton a few weeks ago. I have put the comment on my home page here. I introduce the topic in this manner:
I won’t summarize her views, but I will pull out one sentence to indicate her stance: “Here most of us are, toiling under the authority of communist dictators, and we don’t see the reality for what it is.” These communist dictators are, in her account, private business firms. That description may be deliberately hyperbolic, but nonetheless it reflects her attitude that capitalist companies exercise a kind of unaccountable, non-democratic power over the lives of their workers, in a manner which she thinks is deserving of moral outrage.
Here is one bit from my response:
This may sound counterintuitive or even horrible to many people, but the economist will ask whether workers might not enjoy “too much” tolerance and freedom in the workplace, at least relative to feasible alternatives. For every benefit there is a trade-off, and the broader employment offer as a whole might involve too little cash and too much freedom and tolerance. To oversimplify a bit, at the margin an employer can pay workers more either with money or with freedom and tolerance, which we more generally can label as perks. Money is taxed, often at fairly high rates, whereas the workplace perks are not; that’s one reason why a lot of Swedish offices are pretty nice. It’s simple economics to see that, as a result, the job ends up with too many perks and not enough pay, relative to a social optimum. I doubt if our response to this distorting tax wedge, which can be significant, should be to increase the perks of the workers rather than focusing on their pay.
In fact there are some reasons why labor-managed firms may give their workers less personal freedom. The old-style investment banking and legal partnerships expected their owner-members to adhere to some fairly strict social and professional codes, even outside the workplace. More generally, when workers are motivated to monitor each other, through the holding of equity shares, monitoring becomes easier and so corporations engage in more of it. Again, the main issue is not controlling bosses vs. freedom-seeking workers.
Do read the whole thing.
I may not follow any of your suggestions, but just thought I should ask for advice, for my dialogue with Peter next week. I am the interviewer, he is the interviewee, more or less. #CowenThiel