Assorted links


"That the offer presumably had been planned at a time when economist Lawrence Summers was still president of Harvard": how awful, to be tarred by the brush of being a Summers protege. Everyone would surely wonder whether you'd been involved in some way in looting Russia. Whereas if you go to work for the White House, everyone would wonder whether you'd been involved in some way in looting America.

It is worse than that. Being a friend of Summers means people would wonder if you secretly think misogynistic thoughts. While going to work for the Obama administration means working in a hostile work environment.

What's the story here? One president boners it based on the legacy of a previous president? "Overrules"(!) the econ department in hiring the Romers? Maybe I'll add these folks to my list of "people who will never get it."

"The leaders of the Confederacy, after decrying centralized power, realized they needed an economic machine to finance a war..."


Harvard should court Alexander Field who is in the middle of reinterpreting the Great Depression, timely to say the least.

Alex Field is reinterpreting the GD? I wonder what he'll say that's unique. You can probably guess if you Google him...which I have not. But one thing's for sure: after spending several years or at least months going over primary sources, you cannot seriously then confirm the status quo on the GD, meaning, you must take a 'novel' (and perhaps wrong) take on the GD, since otherwise you'd have wasted your time (and nobody will buy your book). So, just like the internet forces people in a thread to take extreme stances, to differential themselves from what's been said before, so too revisionist historians are forced to stake out extreme stances.

#1: awesome!!!!! I'd love every textbook included in the backcover the results from that algorithm run. I can have a quick assessment on author ideas and then decide about reading the book =)

#2: Didn't Reagan become a conservative (Jeffersonian) while giving speeches for GE (Hamiltonian) and due to the influence of GE's chairman (Jeffersonian-Hamiltonian)?

"The Defense Department literally built the Internet."

I obviously have lacked something in my education. I must read the New York Times.

There are lots of things that can be learned from the internet, such as the benefits of low cost of entry, the benefits of lackadaisical intellectual property regimes, the structure of venture capital, etc. My question is whether the folks that write this type of thing know what the internet looked like once it left the confines of military research.

"What word use tells us about blogger personality types." The word use in that paper tells you not to go to the pub with its authors.

From 5) it appears that Ms. Romer’s appointment was a casualty, not just of in-fighting in the Harvard department, as widely surmised at the time, but also of the outside opinions of leading experts in other universities...Romer was more of a macroeconomist than an historian (her specialty is fiscal and monetary policy during the Great Depression)

Wow! Harvard had a chance to get an expert in fiscal and monetary policy during the Great Depression at the exact same time that we were beginning the Great Depression 2.0, but their president let other universities sabotage her brilliant appointment (along with her highly esteemed husband)?

Why does Drew Faust still have a job?

Nothing tarnishes an academic reputation better than having your theories tested and destroyed by the real world.

I've seen people with PhDs in Finance and Statistics reduced to tears in the trading room. I've seen Math PhDs lose all their money playing poker. I've watched law professors fall apart on the witness stand. I've known Psychologists who committed suicide.

These Ivory Tower models are always missing a key component that some fat, uneducated, grizzled old pros know only from the feeling in their guts after years of experience.

When I want to know which way the wind blows, I ask sailors and pilots, not meteorologists or climate scientists.

I asked a friend of mine, did you do a phd so you could win at poker, he hit me on the head

You get the same reaction from a grad student if you ask him how his dissertation is going, or by asking a recent law school graduate if he passed the bar exam.

I respect the effort these people put in. I got a professional degree myself. It's just that the real world isn't as well behaved as science wants to believe it is.

I figured that out quick when I got married. :)

I learned it again with two kids.

Then I got an education as a litigator and then in financial services. The education is great stuff, but you have to adapt to survive.

Errors are always nonspherical, and your model is always misspecified.

5. Does she have to be 1/64th Cherokee?

3. Artnet's C50 doesn't live up to Bushido. It's not:

Specified in advance
Appropriate for style
Reflective of the manager's current investment opinions

Art actually makes up a nontrivial portion of the assets of my clients. Some of the exceptional pieces are Old Masters, and the owners usually bequeath it to a museum or university to the chagrin of greedy heirs. The heirs don't realized until I tell them that the tax advantage of donation (with carry-forwards) often provides a better return than an auction or consignment. At auction, these paintings typically do better in Europe than in the USA where experts know the value, it's always in season, and they pay in Sterling.

Otherwise, heirs or trust beneficiaries are often quite disappointed with the auction results. The art rarely fetches a good price at auction because the art is lower quality than they believe (or hope). Consignment, insurance, packing, shipping, catalog, cleaning, and appraisal fees eat away at their expected return.

If they are really dumb, they will throw away much of the value in capital gains taxes! Fine art is often best left in a trust.

On the other hand, there is selection bias - the art that is auctioned off is usually what the heirs don't want to keep. Rings of bidders at auction can also collude in order to keep the price low. While the index shows good appreciation, there are many factors that diminish art value, not the least of which is damage and improper care.

It's hard enough for a dealer to get $30,000 for a $30,000 painting in a gallery, much less trying to resell the same $30,000 painting a year later.

Art is often miscatalogued by auction houses to take advantage of unsophisticated sellers. The painting might sell at a low price in the off-season, and then command a higher price in a private deal or private auction.

Occasionally we get an heir who prefers cash to art, and he's blissfully ignorant about the fraction of historical cost or appraised cost that he gets.

I don't think it would be possible to create a meaningful price index for art because of the illiquid nature of the assets, intangible value, and market peculiarities.

One of the regrettable parts of my fiduciary duty is that I'm not allowed to purchase the art for myself; I'd certainly pay more than auction value for some of it. Sometimes, ethical requirements get in the way of mutually beneficial transactions.

Comments for this post are closed