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Berlusconi -- that man gives everyone a bad name: supporters of AC Milan, crooners of love songs, right-wingers (sorry, media monopolist "right-wingers"), and the horny elderly.

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About less popular majors having more extreme outcomes - this could just be due to what Kahneman calls the law of small numbers.

I used a different nomenclature but, yes, that's exactly my point.

Sorry, looked at it very quickly and missed your explanation. Cheers.

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"In general, small populations tend to have more widely varying outcomes just as a function of standard error,"

Maybe providing worthless majors is a feature rather than a bug. Maybe we need thousands of majors and those who choose right get jobs.

It has little to do with choice whether or not you get jobs. Many people choose the 'right' majors are don't get anywhere.

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This wouldn't then be a feature, but rather, a signaling device. Features increase the production possibilities frontier for a society; signaling devices describe where an individual is within the societal distribution

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My favorite singer of Neapolitan love songs is Beniamino Gigli

www.amazon.com/dp/B000007WT9/

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Top 40 majors ordered by Adjusted Earnings, ( I made up an Adjusted Earnings Formula)

Major Field Unemployment Percent Median % Earnings Adjusted Earnings
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING 3.8% $81,000 $79,100
ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING 5.0% $86,000 $78,000
NURSING 2.2% $60,000 $73,400
CIVIL ENGINEERING 4.9% $76,000 $73,300
TREATMENT THERAPY PROFESSIONS 2.6% $62,000 $73,200
COMPUTER SCIENCE 5.6% $77,000 $71,700
FINANCE 4.5% $65,000 $69,000
GENERAL ENGINEERING 5.9% $73,000 $68,800
MATHEMATICS 5.0% $63,000 $66,500
ECONOMICS 6.3% $69,000 $65,600
ACCOUNTING 5.4% $61,000 $64,300
CHEMISTRY 5.1% $59,000 $64,200
COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS 5.6% $62,000 $64,200
MULTI-DISCIPLINARY OR GENERAL SCIENCE 4.6% $55,000 $63,700
GENERAL BUSINESS 5.3% $59,000 $63,600
MARKETING AND MARKETING RESEARCH 5.9% $59,000 $61,800
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND FIRE PROTECTION 4.7% $50,000 $60,900
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT 6.0% $57,000 $60,500
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION 6.0% $56,000 $60,000
ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 3.6% $40,000 $59,200
BIOLOGY 5.6% $51,000 $58,700
PHYSICAL FITNESS PARKS RECREATION AND LEISURE 4.8% $45,000 $58,100
GENERAL EDUCATION 4.2% $41,000 $57,900
MUSIC 5.2% $45,000 $56,900
COMMUNICATIONS 6.3% $50,000 $56,100
HISTORY 6.5% $50,000 $55,500
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES 5.1% $40,000 $54,700
JOURNALISM 7.0% $50,000 $54,000
ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 6.7% $48,000 $53,900
PSYCHOLOGY 6.1% $43,000 $53,200
MASS MEDIA 6.9% $46,000 $52,300
SOCIOLOGY 7.0% $45,000 $51,500
LIBERAL ARTS 7.6% $48,000 $51,200
FINE ARTS 7.4% $44,000 $49,800
SOCIAL WORK 6.8% $39,000 $49,100
COMMERCIAL ART AND GRAPHIC DESIGN 8.1% $45,000 $48,200
ARCHITECTURE 10.6% $60,000 $48,200

Major Field Unemployment Percent Median % Earnings Adjusted Earnings
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING 3.8% $81,000 $79,100

ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING 5.0% $86,000 $78,000

NURSING 2.2% $60,000 $73,400

CIVIL ENGINEERING 4.9% $76,000 $73,300
TREATMENT THERAPY PROFESSIONS 2.6% $62,000 $73,200

COMPUTER SCIENCE 5.6% $77,000 $71,700

FINANCE 4.5% $65,000 $69,000

GENERAL ENGINEERING 5.9% $73,000 $68,800

MATHEMATICS 5.0% $63,000 $66,500

ECONOMICS 6.3% $69,000 $65,600

ACCOUNTING 5.4% $61,000 $64,300

CHEMISTRY 5.1% $59,000 $64,200

COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS 5.6% $62,000 $64,200

MULTI-DISCIPLINARY OR GENERAL SCIENCE 4.6% $55,000 $63,700

GENERAL BUSINESS 5.3% $59,000 $63,600

MARKETING AND MARKETING RESEARCH 5.9% $59,000 $61,800

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND FIRE PROTECTION 4.7% $50,000 $60,900

POLITICAL SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT 6.0% $57,000 $60,500

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION 6.0% $56,000 $60,000

ELEMENTARY EDUCATION 3.6% $40,000 $59,200

BIOLOGY 5.6% $51,000 $58,700

PHYSICAL FITNESS PARKS RECREATION AND LEISURE 4.8% $45,000 $58,100

GENERAL EDUCATION 4.2% $41,000 $57,900

MUSIC 5.2% $45,000 $56,900

COMMUNICATIONS 6.3% $50,000 $56,100

HISTORY 6.5% $50,000 $55,500

FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES 5.1% $40,000 $54,700

JOURNALISM 7.0% $50,000 $54,000

ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 6.7% $48,000 $53,900

PSYCHOLOGY 6.1% $43,000 $53,200

MASS MEDIA 6.9% $46,000 $52,300

SOCIOLOGY 7.0% $45,000 $51,500

LIBERAL ARTS 7.6% $48,000 $51,200

FINE ARTS 7.4% $44,000 $49,800

SOCIAL WORK 6.8% $39,000 $49,100

COMMERCIAL ART AND GRAPHIC DESIGN 8.1% $45,000 $48,200

ARCHITECTURE 10.6% $60,000 $48,200

found a flaw in my adjustment formula... but eh, you get what you pay for

At first I thought your username was some weird phonetic spelling of 'Keynesian'.

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"There are two things that will get you fired here: stealing from the company, or running an experiment without a properly designed control group."

Nice.

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I took the data on unemployment from the link and found that education isn't all its cracked up to be in terms of earnings:

http://webtrough.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/okaaaay-but/

By education, I assume you mean education majors. Noone should think education is an ambitious job with a high top end. What they should think is that it is a difficult to outsource, robust service job that provides pretty good employment out of the gate and little worry of technical obsolescence, and often Summers and generous holidays to work on something on the side if you are ambitious.

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Wondering when we're going to hear politicians start railing against those "useless" architecture degrees and give the fine arts a break.

Leave it to the politicians to consider something bad because it is a bad value today, not realizing that anything is a buy at a price.

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Regarding graduating degrees and unemployment, in a visit out east two of our friends had children who recently graduated from college and found jobs abroad: one in Brazil, and another in Bulgaria, using their degrees.

I thought this might be an interesting trend, and, following up the link in the China Daily article in the post following this one, I found this article in China about how new college graduates from Europe and the US were moving to China to find jobs: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90778/7651209.html

Interesting. Last year the new econ graduate on our block got a job with Teach For America. This time it is go to China, Bulgaria, or Brazil.

Sofia is the new Bismarck.

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Oh, and the one who went to Bulgaria was a Art History major! What she is doing is cataloging art objects and frescoes for a tourism board and creating art tour intineraries so they can increase their tourism business. What's interesting is that some of the frescoes/churches are in houses--as you would expect that during periods of religious persecution people would have underground churches.

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#4 Is another data point suggesting that Sarah Palin was right.

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"Breakthroughs in innovation often rely on breakthroughs in measurement."

yes!

+1

Which is necessary but not sufficient. I see a lot of "Oh! Now we can measure the stem cells with the AFM!" Yes, there will be some useful information from that, but probably a small fraction of the effort.

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There is of course one very deep problem with the "college majors" selection debate.

Most (all?) of the well paying low unemployment fields are (a) hard and (b) about something you really have to devote yourself too.

So "better choices" alone may not fix the issue - many people may not be at all suited for the high employment good wage jobs they are being to advised to pursue. (If you have a mortal dislike of hospitals and fear of disease, nursing is probably not a great career for you to enter, in spite of its great honor, utility, and compensation characteristics.)

This is a good point. Those STEM fields are huge waste of time if you're not really passionate about the subject and don't graduate in the upper end of your class.

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Yes, of course they are hard. The lesson here is not that English majors should or could become Engineering or Economics majors.

The lesson is that we have too many damned English majors, with too much debt guaranteed by taxpayers. Our tax system actually rewards people for earning less income with more debt, and punishes people who earn more with less debt.

There is no efficient connection between the demand for college grads and the supply. Fail out of Computer Science? Hey, we've got American Studies for you! Anything you want to keep you in college and to have student loan debt pouring into universities. Tuition, admissions, and loans should vary by major. Some colleges charge more for Engineering degrees and ration admissions, but they admit too many liberal and fine arts majors to keep the grass on campus green.

I noticed you threw Economics in there. Why do you consider Economics a hard major? I think English is a more difficult major then Economics. Economics is probably one of the easier majors offered at most schools.

Not after freshman year.

I took Economics courses as electives all the way up to 3rd year courses. The most difficult it gets in undergraduate is a bit of linear algebra and some basic calculus. Although I've never taken an English course I assume they involve a substantial amount of reading and comprehension whereas Economics courses were pretty light on the homework - just requiring a bit of playing around with some simple models.

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We aren't advising those people to pursue those jobs. I'm not even really advising students. I'm advising universities to stop turning a passionate and yet middling ability potential engineer into a fallback English major for no good reason.

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4. (Energy/Population) = (GDP/Population) x (Energy/GDP)

The last term, energy intensity, is fixed in the short run by technology. When reducing Energy/Population is the policy target, a reduction in GDP/Population is the result.

China and India have their vast populations to diminish the target variable, which is why they prefer this target. Most of their citizens don't have much of a share of GDP.

Since production is the end-product of energy use, energy intensity is the better measure of efficiency. What matters is how much energy is needed to produce a car, not the average energy per person where the average person owns no car, is not employed making them, doesn't fix cars, doesn't sell rice to auto workers, and on an average day won't even see a car.

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Re: #3, is "We conclude that, while current discussions of policy would benefit from a more careful interpretation of existing models a nice way of saying that neuroscience is an infant study and claims for what it evidences are 1 part evidence and 24 parts inference (i.e., "just so" stories)?

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From a review just yesterday in MR
In sum, Chaisson shows how highly complex systems such as civilizations require exponentially greater energy inputs to grow, while Tainter shows how those civilizations come to produce negative outputs in exchange for the inputs and eventually collapse

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Tyler:

I really hope you didn't fall for those graphs in the energy-decoupling post.

Neither vertical scale is in logs.

So, what you are shown is what looks like a high correlation between energy and real GDP.

But, if you do some back of the envelope calculations, for the first graph, energy use grows by about 70%. But real GDP grows by about 130%.

For my part, this graph strongly supports the decoupling argument.

But isn't that point addressed by the post? Real GDP grew faster than energy usage from 1980 to 2000, but not since then. You're missing the point claimed-- that decoupling has slowed down to become non-existent on a global scale since 2000.

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Err, the point of that post is to talk about how decoupling stopped after 2000. It's beside the point to mention the facts you do, because they're entirely a result of 1980 to 2000. From the post:

Prior to 2000, world real GDP (based on USDA Economic Research Institute data) was indeed growing faster than energy use, as measured by BP Statistical Data. Between 1980 and 2000, world real GDP growth averaged a little under 3% per year, and world energy growth averaged a little under 2% per year, so GDP growth increased about 1% more per year than energy use. Since 2000, energy use has grown approximately as fast as world real GDP–increases for both have averaged about 2.5% per year growth.

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All biophysical systems grow by improving their energy efficiency. We should expect no decoupling. In the long run, energy efficiency improvements will continue to be a source of growth for the economy and its energy use. In time, the Earth has evolved more and more rapid mechanisms for dissipating available energy, we and our technology are just the latest, most successful mechanisms.
More here: http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/handle/10161/3621

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