Further assorted links

1. Resource mobility in Japan.

2. The culture that is New York; “You likely wouldn’t have sex with someone who took you to the wrong restaurant (or at least wouldn’t be happy about it).”

3. Bryan Caplan on the minimum wage.

4. Vivek Wadhwa on the great stagnation.

5. I favor the campus right to a guinea pig.


Well, all I got out of that was that I'd really like to hit "Michael Wolff" (whoever the fuck he is) directly in his imbecilically arrogant posh mouth. What a tool.

Perhaps a look at his photo at the bottom of the article might persuade you further.

You are so right. He looks like I expected, only more so, if that makes sense.

Tool is right.

From the article: "If you have an assistant, his or her full-time job pretty much becomes getting you a daily booking. If your assistant is any good at all, he or she will have narrowed lunch to four or five places and have, by careful trial and error, measured how far in advance it's necessary to call in order to avoid rejection and disaster."

Getting a reservation is a full-time job? And not getting a reservation is a "disaster"?

I thought big publishing was in trouble.

Sometimes, Wikipedia just nails it:

Calling his writing "a whirlwind of flourishes and tangents and asides that often stray so far from the central point that you begin to wonder whether there is a central point" she quoted one daily New York columnist thusly: “I find it nearly impossible to read his columns. They’re flabby. I don’t know what the fuck he’s trying to say.” One journalist who knew Wolff told Cottle, "He can't write. He doesn't report." Cottle subsequently called Wolff “possibly the bitchiest media big foot writing today.”

What a clown.

File this under... Links where i wish i could get those 3 minutes of my life back.

Why did Tyler send us here exactly?.

Reinforces his point about avoiding places with beautiful women / people. I.e., you want to go places where you don't want to have sex with the other diners.

it's just another 'tale of (male) status competition' like we got yesterday in the links. I agree his article is (unintentionally) silly, but I don't get the hostility toward him (or the one-up-manship yesterday). So he wants to portray himself as an alpha of trendy NYC dining...someone else around here carved out a niche as king of the strip mall meal. Both create some odd rules about the mundane and magically seem to score well by them. Who cares if someone thinks they know how the world works? Just because they act like it or say it does not make it so. I took these articles as a reminder of how pervasive status-seekers are, what's interesting is the reaction. File under 'entertainment.'

The difference, partially, is that TC respects his audience, while it does not appear that MW does:


Also, just a guess that many more people would show up to hear TC talk than to hear MW talk:


Again, just a guess.

status competitions take many forms. I agree some are more palatable than others, but I've seen way more annoying than MW. also you can find plenty of TC bashers out there too, but that was not my point. I just don't see why status competitions irk people so much.

I'm not really hungry, but I'd like to have reservations someplace. How about Dorsia?

It's satirical.
He is probably still a tool.

I went to a bad restaurant and then had sex and was quite miffed. I told them off saying "hey, the next time you take me to that restaurant and then we have sex, I'm going to be perturbed."

#2. File under "sort of funny parody" or "reasons I will kill myself before hanging out with Michael Wolff". Also, does anyone know a person who actually lives this loathsome NYC restaurant life?

I'm pretty sure the reason Michael Wolff has such a hard time getting a table is not because it's hard to get a table -- it's because he's an asshole.

Was about to comment the same. I live in NYC, eat at fabulous places all the time, and have never slept with even one restaurant personnel.

fabulous in the TC sense, I should specify.

#2 What's a better show of wealth than paying hundreds of dollars for something that only you can consume and that lasts for a couple of hours? I'm sure the food is usually really good, too.

She should have explained that it was really a fish

Patrick Rothfuss: Guinea Pigs are Fish:

I am quite a bit closer to Vivek Wadhwa than to Tyler Cowen, though I am wary of Wadhwa's pure optimism. Perhaps a more cynical optimism would note that Americans are still buying big pick-ups, and are not starving on The Road. We have some years, or really decades, for all sorts of new things to develop.

Is there a large Keynesian literature blaming unemployment on the downward nominal wage rigidity of McDonald's fry cooks?

Is there a large Keynesian literature that thinks fry cooks are not part of the labor market?

I've never heard of a woman in NYC saying she would not have sex with someone merely because she was brought to the "wrong" restaurant. It is possible that the women in New York City who I know are not sufficiently superficial.

What makes you think sex, in this context, involves a woman?

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

So rather than drawing the conclusion of "there may be other things affecting employment other than mere wage level, thus why employment appears to be sticky with wage rises", Caplan rejects the empirical answer because A)unrelated fields show results more to his liking, B)he thinks the evidence is weak anyways?

That sounds like a religious belief, not an empirical one. Which wouldn't be surprising coming from Caplan - I vaguely remember him saying something along the lines of not really needing the empirical evidence because he could deduce it in his head. He's the reason I stopped reading that blog.

Kaplan: "Despite my admiration for their craftsmanship, even the best empirical social science isn't that good" -- Classic example of pot calling the kettle black.

Kaplan: "The minimum wage is far from the most harmful regulation on the books. Why then do I make such a big deal about it? Because it is a symbol of larger evils."

I agree with this but from a different perspective. The playing field is tilted against labor. The minimum wage is an attempt to correct that imbalance, but it doesn't go far enough. So, yes, minimum wage laws are a symbol of larger evils - the power of the rich to squeeze the poor. Kaplan's argument does have one implicit downside limit. I doubt if he would support contracted slavery, but I could be wrong. He might argue that we should get rid of those "feel-good" laws that prohibit explicit slavery, too. Markets do not guarantee level playing fields.

So, let's get rid of the minimum wage and reduces taxes on the wealthy!

I see it all in the downward sloping demand curve for labor.

The playing field is tilted against labor? In favor of what?

The minority of the population that owns the greatest share of society's wealth - and particularly wealth that does not consist of houses.

And by what measure do you come to this conclusion? It can't be returns to capital, surely.

So we correct the playing field by keeping poor black teenagers unemployed. Makes sense.

"That sounds like a religious belief, not an empirical one."

Are all sound beliefs empirical in the sense of inductively inferred? Is there no room for deduction in your world? How do you know the Pythagorean theorem is correct? Or other non-faith based methods of arriving at a conclusion? And is the econometric approach to studying economics so fundamentally sound that you can't even voice skepticism of it without being criticized for having a "religious belief". Maybe you should examine your priors a bit more carefully here.

And more, without theory, empirics are useless. You can never truly redo an experiment. Even if using steel billiard balls, the molecules have shifted.

There are few prior beliefs stronger than Caplan's prior beliefs.

#4: Is it me or Vivek Wadhwa's website kind of crappy for a so-called IT visionary.

I'd the same thought.

Should we believe any of Wadhwa's numbers if he writes about George Mason Professor Tyler Cohen?

I knew he was a Jew!

I think calling that an example of New York culture is inaccurate. There are pretentious a**holes everywhere.

agreed. Must easier to score with ugly chicks at ethnic dives.

In #2, about NYC restaurants, the taste of the food is not mentioned once.

I know the Guinea Pig girl. She's nuts.

Well, of course she is, she wasn't allowed to take her guinea pig to the dining hall. That would make anyone crazy.

When Tyler wrote "I favor the campus right to a guinea pig" he was alluding to her right to a diploma from home by using MOOCs. He's straussian like that.

And thank God. That is how nuts universities are. You can't have a guinea pig! Oh wait, you CAN have a guinea pig AND $40,000!

Oops! I thought he was comparing University Republicans to a furry rodent.

How dumb are universities that that they can't figure out "the pet deposit is [our cost plus liability plus profit]"

1. Is this creative destruction?

I think Caplan begs the question with his argument. He wants to prove that standard economic theory is right for wage controls and, in translating the empirical evidence in other markets to the one in question, he assumes standard economic theory is right.

Maybe I've misunderstood, but more detailed thoughts here: http://ashokarao.com/2013/03/13/bryan-caplan-is-wrong-about-the-minimum-wage/

I would say it's just a standard Bayesian reasoning. Of course you can say that Bayesian reasoning is begging the question but I think many people would disagree with that.

A minimum wage is just that you are breaking the law to hire (under whatever legal technicalities hold) at less than the wage. So, if it doesn't cut off the people with marginal product below that wage then what does it do?

Maybe it does nothing. That is, if the marginal product of every worker is above the proposed minimum wage, then the law is just window dressing. This also would indicate that the empirical work supposedly disproving supply and demand is a trivial exercise.

But perhaps the law causes redistribution from other workers, management, or capital. That would be nice to know.

Actually, the question is rather 'is the theory wrong or is the empirical research wrong/spurious result etc.', or, 'is the empirical research good enough to reject the theory'.
IMO the problem is that the law says that the MARGINAL WORKERS get laid off; or even marginal hours are cut. But actually only a minority of minimum-wage-earners are marginal workers. And minority of minimum-wage-employers are marginal companies.
Thus, what is more likely - that the minimum wage does not cause unemployment or that the the particular research didn't correctly focus on marginal workers?
The same is with reaction of employers - there _are_ ways to ignore minimum wage (e.g. by requiring more work). How do you measure disemployment effects of minimum wage law when the minimum wage is ignored/worked around? Is it more likely that the 'law of demand' doesn't apply, that the whole labour market is just one big exception - or that it is actually extremely hard to measure 'the unseen' and the studies in most cases fail to measure it?

I don't see it that way. He wants to prove to us that theory is correct, and to do so cites empirical evidence elsewhere and applies it to the minimum wage by assuming theory is right. Circular reasoning? There are also quite a few flaws with blindly considering human labor markets to be the same as any other.

Nope. I don't see any circularity in his post.

For that empirical evidence to mean anything, standard theory has to be true. You can't explain why standard theory applies to wage controls and simultaneously use evidence which is predicated on standard theory being true.

It seemed to me that he cited empirical evidence elsewhere to reject alternative hypothesis. I.e. "the minimum wage supporters claim that wage demand is inelastic monopolistic etc. and we have a strong evidence that this is not so; while we have very weak evidence that minimum wage doesn't cause unemployment".
As for 'blindly considering human labour market to be the same as other'... see, it's a market, there is voluntary demand and supply, there is some flow information, respect for the other. I never saw any convincing argument that this market behaves differently, most of the arguments are of the type 'see, if those people won't have work, they will have nothing to eat; therefore the market is different'. It is not. The closest to convincing arguments are search models, but it seems to me that it wouldn't make much difference for low skill and relatively unregulated market.

3. I'm not sure what Bryan Caplan means by "well done." I've asked before and never seen a response. How is Card and Krueger's study of fast food joints in adjacent counties a well-done study of a national minimum wage?

The Wolff piece is satire, right? I mean, he and his friends can't possibly be that insufferable.

I think it's intended as satire, and yet it's consistent with all of his other writing. As far as I can tell without knowing him personally, he's a huge jerk pretending to be pretending to be a huge jerk.

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