Thursday assorted links

Comments

6: We're at the point where we don't even bother to note that Harvard faculty support Democratic candidates over Republican ones, overwhelmingly.

HRC is crushing Sanders, she leads him 394 delegates to 42. The Democrat primary system favors insiders over the popular vote. So the faculty's dedication to her candidacy matters as much as Sander's "win" in NH.

"The Democrat primary system favors insiders over the popular vote."

Absolutely. But Democrats have been railing ever since the 2000 vote that elections ought to be based upon the popular vote. If Sanders were to win the popular vote, but lose to Hillary do to the delegate count, a lot of Sander's supporters are going to be livid. It's going to be pretty hard to blame that outcome on Republicans and Debbie Wasserman Schultz is such a sleazy individual that her words will just look like Clinton apologia.

This is true, but Clinton will likely win the popular vote in the party as well, due to the minority vote. All the Berners are white pretty much.

"Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has dramatically cut into the nationwide lead of primary rival Hillary Clinton, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

The poll released Friday finds Clinton leading the race with 44 percent support, compared to 42 percent support for Sanders, within the survey's margin of error.
The last iteration of the poll in December had Clinton leading Sanders nationwide 61–30."

At this point the numbers are tight and Sanders has the trend. Without any disruptions, I'd expect Clinton (tons of money and party support) to win in the end.

However, to your point, the SEC Primary is March 1st. If Hillary crushes Sanders on that day, then it's hers too lose. If the results are close, the long term trend is going to favor Sanders.

At this point the numbers are tight and Sanders has the trend. Without any disruptions, I’d expect Clinton (tons of money and party support) to win in the end.

She recovered some from September to December, then her advantage began to erode again. All told, about 3/4 of her lead evaporated between May of 2014 and January of 2015. You can see that from taking the median observation of batches of polls. I gather from observers of her previous performances in New York and nationally, this is the Hellary pattern; campaigning never improves her position. If this continues, he'll be ready to pass her by the 1st week of March, before most of the delegates have been chosen. Erosion at this rate is not all that anomalous (see Walter Mondale, 1984).

I didn't fully explain myself with that comment. I think that Sanders has the trend. However, I think that Hillary's massive amount of money and party support, in conjunction, with her likely win in the SEC states will be enough to give her the delegates, regardless of the popular vote. However, much to msgkings point, it all hinges on Hillary's minority support overcoming Sanders emerging White Democrat majority. Which implies that she has to either win the SEC by a significant margin, or finagle out more delegates without regard to the popular vote.

The betting markets still have Clinton as the heavy heavy favorite.

Her advantage in cash on hand as of 31 December was about 2.7 - to - 1, with kitty evenly split between her campaign treasury and her Super Pac. You can see what that advantage has netted her so far. The support of officialdom does get you the superdelegates and perhaps some access to donors; I'm not sure that opinion leaders influence anyone anymore. Of course, if the state chairman is in the tank, vote tallies can disappear if they're embarrassing to you.

"The betting markets still have Clinton as the heavy heavy favorite."

The betting markets are primarily British and it's illegal for Americans to participate. So, I think the data is probably skewed and heavily filtered. Furthermore, at this point, the betting pool is also small. Not many bets.

That being said, Stossel's site says it's roughly 20% Sanders 80% Hillary.

https://electionbettingodds.com/

Note: It's Stossels site, but it's all based on the British site BetFair, because our glorious leaders have decided were too stupid to bet on things that matter.

with her likely win in the SEC states will be enough to give her the delegates, regardless of the popular vote.

I'll correct myself. The superdelegates were potentially decisive in 2008. The delegates won in contests were closely divided and neither candidate had a majority of the popular votes (Clinton had a plurality of 0.7%, with 4-5% to Edwards, &c.). BO had a plurality among delegates won in contests and among the superdelegates.

"It’s going to be pretty hard to blame that outcome on Republicans "

I think you are grossly underestimating the ability of partisans to blame everything on their opponents.

LOL, yes and you'll note that I didn't use the word "impossible".

Just like how in 2008 Clinton won the popular vote and got the superdelegates too?

"All donations from FAS researchers and instructors went to Sanders and Clinton."

That is what is meant by political diversity at Harvard.

When you have a political movement that has spent over 60 years accusing Ivy League universities of corrupting the minds of the youth, is it really much of a surprise that the professors of these universities who stand accused don't find that movement attractive? It is comparable to a liberal expressing disappointment that oil industry or Halliburton executives tend to be Republicans.

I suppose that correlation does not prove causation. But Occam's Razor would cut the other way than what you are saying.

Liberal rhetoric often claims the conservative movement is full of knuckle-dragging racists. Your application of Occam's Razor would suggest that they have a point -- otherwise, why would so many make such an observation if there wasn't some truth to it?

It is highly suspect to apply "Occam's Razor" to political rhetoric since the objective of political rhetoric is persuasion and reaffirming identity rather than truth-telling.

The university is supposed to be a place where there is robust exchange of ideas. During the past three generations, Harvard has doubled-down in creating a hermeneutically sealed ideological bubble. (And trotting out the 83 year old Harvey Mansfield as the token outspoken conservative--which is quite different from libertarian--only reinforces the point).

6: Since that first comment wasn't snarky enough, allow me to add - their favoring Clinton over Sanders makes sense, as Harvard is a giant hedge fund with a school attached to it.

I interpreted it as "Harvard faculty are largely crooks too". Was I being unfair?

Or Harvard faculty realize Bernie won't win - or would lose in a general election to the Republican candidate - so why waste money on him ?

If they 'realize' that, they're not paying attention. Sanders polls just as well as Clinton against the four leading Republicans. The implosion of the campaigns of Richard Gephardt, Howard Dean, and Wesley Clark in January and February of 2004 (from north of 40% to less than 10% for the sum of the three of them) might just be a bit of the past weighing on Brunehilde.

As much I loathe the Clintons, Bernie has no chance. Hillary will lock it up on Super Tueday.

The under 30 voters make up a small percentage of total voters and they turn out less. Plus, Hillary would have much greater chance winning the general election than Bernie would.

The Reublican race is still up in the air. Don't count out Jeb.

"Or Harvard faculty realize Bernie won’t win – or would lose in a general election to the Republican candidate – so why waste money on him ?"

Because it's hardly guaranteed and it would be smart not to piss off the Sanders supporters. Don't we assume that the Harvard faculty are smart? I suspect that Bernie Sanders gets more support than Hillary Clinton from the student population.

I think tenure still protects you from student protests. People like Mankiw still have jobs there.

Sanders' whole plan to remake the nation's educational system, while probably not affecting Harvard directly, would still make professors nervous, to say nothing of Sanders' plans to entirely remake other systems.

Yes, they are smart and don't want to throw good money after bad.

Reminds me of the California recall election when some idiot conservatives I knew planned to vote for the more conservative Tom McClintock rather than Arnold. I told them they were just helping to keep Gray Davis in office.

Gray Davis wasn't the candidate. Cruz Bustamante was. Not surprised they didn't listen to you.

It's pretty irrational to draw such a conclusion on the basis of a $2000 donation.

The people who donate 50k or a million to a PAC though ... surely they have lobbyist intentions.

Doesn't the amount of the donation mainly depend on how much money you have?

And/or the amount of influence you expect in return.

#6: yet another piece of evidence, in case you needed one, that American higher education is a sectarian enterprise which should receive not one dime in public subsidy and should face a mountain of disclosure requirements.

Why are so many millennials socialists? See #6.

Teenagers don't work so much anymore and are thus shielded from the phenomenon of withholding taxes?

@Brian

Seems about right.

For a paper with a similar idea see Gilles Saint Paul's "Endogenous Indoctrination: Occupational Choice, the Evolution of Beliefs, and the Political Economy of Reform" http://www.tse-fr.eu/sites/default/files/medias/doc/wp/macro/wp_macro_33_2009.pdf

Abstract:
Much of the political economy analysis of reform focuses on the conflict of interest between groups that stand to gain or lose from the competing policy proposals. In reality, there is also a lot of disagreement about the working of the policy: in addition to conflicting interests, conflicting views play an important role. Those views are shaped in part by an educational bureaucracy. It is documented that the beliefs of that bureaucracy differ substantially from those of the broader constituency. I analyse a model where this effect originates in the self-selection of workers in the educational occupation, and is partly reinforced by the insulation of the educational profession from the real economy (an effect which had been discussed by Hayek).

The bias makes it harder for the population to learn the true parameters of the economy if these are favourable to the market economy. Two parameters that govern this capacity to learn are social entropy and heritability. Social entropy defines how predictable one’s occupation is as a function of one’s beliefs. Heritability is the weight of the family’s beliefs in the determination of the priors of a new generation. Both heritability and social entropy reduce the bias and makes it easier to learn that the market economy is "good", under the assumption that it is.

Finally I argue that the capacity to learn from experience is itself affected by economic institutions. A society which does not trust markets is more likely to favour labour market rigidities that in turn reduces the exposure of individuals to the market economy, and thus their ability to learn from experience. This in turn reinforces the weight of the educational system in the formation of beliefs, thus validating the initial presumption against the market economy. This sustains an equilibrium where beliefs and institutions reinforce each other in slowing or preventing people from learning the correct underlying parameters.

Oh, maybe. There are about 60-odd private research universities and they encompass about 7% of the student body enrolled at baccalaureate granting institutions. The modal type among college students is enrolled at a state college (which has inflated itself by adopting the moniker 'university') and is studying elementary education, or accounting, or speech pathology. The arts and sciences faculty is the locus of corruption, with an assist from occupational faculties in teacher training, social work, and law. The young are remarkably adept at paying you no mind and breaking your heart, but I suppose the assiduous framing has an affect on a decisive few.

"The arts and sciences faculty is the locus of corruption."

You say stuff like this sometimes, but never really substantiate it. What are you on about?

It's not my job to be your tutor or your research assistant. If you're unfamiliar with the ruin that is higher education in this country, you're going to have to educate yourself.

So you admit you're talking bullshit.

No, I'm not in the business of giving a lengthy explanation of the problems in higher education to someone who knows nothing, just like the moderator is not publishing elementary macroeconomics lectures on this blog. If you don't get the reference points, you don't get the reference points. You can read Inside Higher Education or Academic Questions or Minding the Campus if you have the time.

Just do command-f and search for "art deco." You'll see that he's much too busy to waste time on facts.

Because they all went to Harvard? That seems surprising.

Shut down anything where people with views you don't like tend to be concentrated?

In the name of freedom and democracy, even?

If you're worried about disclosure, then you should be worried about untangling the corrupt mess with PACs, millions dollar donations, and the like. After all, if you're concerned about corruption, be consistent.

If you want disclosure for the people on the side you obviously don't like (say, university professors), then the failure to support disclosure elsewhere just reeks of hypocrisy. Yet, you have previously defended the Koch brothers' massive forays into politics as mere free speech.

If the Koch brothers are to spend millions and billions the name of free speech, what's the big deal if some college profs drop a couple grand for their preferred candidate?

If the Koch brothers are to spend millions and billions the name of free speech

I get the impression you think in talking points. Koch Industries and its principals have wide-ranging philanthropic interests. In the most recent election cycle, their contributions ranked 14th among organizational contributors. Ten of the 13 above them on the list gave almost all their funds to Democrats. One split about 50-50. It's the charmless habit of partisan Democrats to fancy that no one should have the franchise to organize but them.

what’s the big deal if some college profs drop a couple grand for their preferred candidate?

That's not the complaint Nathan. The complaint is about the composition of the professoriate.

The influence of money in politics bothers me on both sides. I just happen to be more familiar with the name of the Koch brothers than others. I am similarly disgusted by the influence of money in both parties.

" The complaint is about the composition of the professoriate."

If I observed that upper management types tend to be more Republican, would you suggest self selection or something practically along the lines of conspiracy in terms of political exclusion? Would it be desirable if Ds and Rs were equally represented in all professions? Or should we allow people to strive to work towards where they want to go?

For 3.
Is it just me, or does following the same working households for 25 years mean that you are getting relatively young workers in your sample at the beginning and older workers at the end. As older workers are more predisposed to wealth, we should expect the estimate of wealth disparity for median households to be biased down at the beginning of the sample and up at the end?

This wouldn't affect the other buried claims in the post -- things like the dynamics affecting wealth creation, but that headline seems based on bad estimates.

Well, due to compounding effects, a small difference in wealth accumulation will have a big difference on household net worth at the end of 25 years; it seems sensible to me to look at what might be causing those differences. I'm a little skeptical of their conclusions, though. In their 'Top Factors driving the wealth gap' chart, they only list six factors, the percentages add up only to 69%, so 31% of the wealth gap is caused by factors they're not listing, which seems odd. And how is years of education only 5%? That just seems implausible.

The basic conclusion seems odd to me. "The gap has tripled." Well sure, the absolute size of the gap has tripled, but the relative size of the gap has shrunken. The black families in the study increased their wealth by a factor of 5, while the white families increased their wealth by a factor of 3.

The conclusion is that the gap declined, not that it tripled.

Sorry, both statements are true, depending on time frame or variable. Actually, it's not really very clear what exactly to draw from the results. A bunch of stuff ...

The evidence suggests that there is less racism than there used to be, and that blacks are accessing greater opportunities than previously. I think this stands up to the basic scrutiny of how things have changed in recent decades.

Wealth rises over time, but why would one expect the disparity to disappear for this fact?

What evidence are you talking about?

"The black-white income gap was cut by about a third between 1992 and 2000" - The original post. But I see now that the exerpt is not very representative of the broader findings in the paper.

I wasn't expecting it to disappear. But it seems to me that if you have a wealth disparity where Caucasian households have triple the wealth of African american households in general, when you try to measure the absolute disparity, you will underestimate the absolute disparity when you look at young households and overestimate it when you look at older households.

I'm not saying the disparity disappears, that would be shocking. I'm saying that I think that this is a biased measure of the absolute disparity, with the bias shifting as households age.

That was a simplified model for sure, but I'm surprised that the idea that the households aging could affect estimates about wealth disparity is not more heavily mentioned when the headline is wealth disparity.

#4: you mean the influence of the useless virtue-signaling chatterati is sufficiently contained that public officials actually do things meant to protect the public? How eccentric.

How is formally erecting fences which betray a complete abrogation of previous agreements with Palestinians going to protect the Israeli public?

If anything, I would think that it would make things worse.

Which agreements would those be? Do you even know where the fences are going?

It said the fence will go along the border of Jordan. Which means the entirety of the West Bank is on the "wrong side" of the border if one is to consider what might be Israel and what might be Palestine. It is painting israeli control over the entire West Bank into the landscape. Which, to be honest, is not much of a change from the status quo, where Israel controls the entire West Bank anyways.

What previous agreements and which provisions therein prohibit the building of a fence? That aside, if the Arab authorities (or the Arab warlords in Gaza) want any 20 year old agreement they never respected 'abided' by, they can start by being good for something other than an interim cease fire. Fat chance.

You frequently become abusive when people fail to correctly interpret your meaning and ask you to clarify, yet appear to intentionally misinterpret anything you please when it is conducive to confirming your priors. What do you think it means to say "betray a complete abrogation of previous agreements"? What does "betray" mean in the sentence?

Here's the point. West of Jordan, there is something. At which points is this thing to the west of Jordan the state of Israel and at which points might this thing to the west even be some sort of Palestinian state?

Building a wall at the border with Jordan suggests that the West Bank is perceived as Israeli by the people who want to build the wall.

You're not being 'abused' when someone posts a rhetorical question.

He said 'confirming your priors.' Everybody drink!

#4. Punchline: And MEXICO is gonna pay for it!

...and Palestine is going to pay for it! Oh wait, they don't exist.....those people that should not be named will pay for it.

I'm channeling the Democrat in me. Let's increase the tax base ad infinitum. Let's earmark a portion of the $10 a barrel tax on crude oil and add to that a (25%?) tax on foreign remittances from US to Mexico.

Ever heard of the WTO?

Whiskey Tango Oscar

The US election is providing lots of entertainment for us Brits:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbsPqImym84

We're just providing you with some distraction pro bono publico. You need to do things less damaging to your health than consume large quanta of alcohol to dull the pain of your rotting teeth.

Yanks are the ones with rotten teeth:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/17/health/british-american-bad-teeth-study/

To a CNN reporter with no eyesight.

Are the US candidates really any funnier than Jeremy Corbyn? Or Nigel Farage and his 'sabotaged' car?

Our candidates are funny ha ha. Corbyn is funny strange.

Corbyn's pretty strange, but as compared to the many candidates who have made statements that sound reminiscent of genocidal threats, Corbyn is a pretty safe sort of strange.

to the many candidates who have made statements that sound reminiscent of genocidal threats,

Our politicians are not responsible for the voices in your head, either. Take your Haldol.

What does it mean to wonder what colour the sand of the Middle East will be glowing after you're done bombing?

What does it mean to carpet bomb the Middle East?

On which planet is that defined as anything other than practically genocidal. It's a premeditated intention to kill millions. Nothing more, nothing less. And to the best of my knowledge, there isn't anyone at any remotely high level in defense who thinks this is a remotely good idea. But Republicans try to make like they are the ones who are good on security, whereas in reality most of the world perceives them as warmongers.

Nathan, south of the border, there are these things called 'imagery' and 'metaphor'. Maybe one day they'll reach Toronto. Until then, you'll have to remain confused.

I personally enjoyed that earnest student council deliberation on whether or not to ban Trump from the country and whether to do so would be to become Trump.

"The US election is providing lots of entertainment for us Brits:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbsPqImym84"

Wow, did anyone actually pay attention to that video.

"FNN: The Media Finally Pans The Cameras At The Donald Trump Rally In Grand Rapids, Michigan"

Grand Rapids is a pretty small city, population of 200K. That was a large crowd for that area. Indeed, the venue was almost certainly at the limit of what fire regulations would allow. I don't think anyone else, except Sanders is pulling crowds of that size. I think everyone has vastly underestimated Trumps chances of winning the nomination.

Well yeah, every has underestimated Trump. That seems to be changing now, finally. He's the betting markets favorite now, which he wasn't before. It's been a perfect storm for him. He's a talented campaigner obviously, and in addition his opposition is far too ineffectual and divided to stop him. He picked the right cycle to make his play.

That said I still think he doesn't get the nomination but I'm certainly not sure of that.

Oh, Trump will get the nomination all right. But he won't be elected, since of course it will be Bernie.

Well, I must admit that a Trump/Sanders fight for the Presidency would make for an epic contest. In a eating popcorn, downing shots kind of way. At least for me.

Rule 1: Every time the word socialist or capitalist is mention, drink.

I've got to think about the rest of the rules. Suggestions are welcome.

I think with the suburban tract development its about 380,000, or about 1/10 th the size of greater Detroit. Evidently a big Dutch element in the area.

#3: I see the former 20th Century Fund is upping its game and has added Suzanne Mettler and Harold Pollack to its masthead, figuring, perhaps, that a 'think tank' consisting of a collection of lawyers, journalists, and quondam congressional aides was somewhat lame.

3. There's something odd about a thirtysomething waxing philosophical about the 90s ("we remember the 90s, we remember what unbounded optimism"), as though the 90s are ancient (and appealing) history. By the 90s I'd already experienced a mid-life crisis. Smith's grandmother may well be a product of the 60s; mine was, the 1860s (she was born in 1868). But I digress. It's true of every generation to believe that life as we know it began with that generation. It's also true of every generation to look back with nostalgia (and blinders). As for Smith's longing for the 90s ("we may be able to get that 90s feeling back, but we're going to have to fight for it"), I'd prefer no more mid-life crises, for me or for the President('s spouse).

Oh yeah, my grandparents were nostalgic for the Depression. Thanks for your wisdom.

#3: “The black-white income gap was cut by about a third between 1992 and 2000…”

"...but has grown 28% in the years since"

Interesting choice of emphasis, especially considering that the title of the original piece was "The Wealth Gap Between Blacks and Whites Has Tripled Since 1984. Here’s Why."

In any case, this piece is interesting in that it reinforces what various people have been saying about economic inequality and the different dynamics between income inequality and wealth inequality.

Thanks for pointing that out, I wasn't sure whether I was going to read that link. I suppose the Straussian reading is that it is more constructive to know when a known problem has improved.

Identify who on the Century Foundation staff could have possibly conducted a study of wealth distribution (and then ask if they do not have f/t employment elsewhere).

“…but has grown 28% in the years since”

But then they only show data through 2011. I'd be interested in seeing what the period between 2011 and 2015 looks like. My guess is that the gap is closing again.

Glancing at some of the articles and studies about racial disparities in income, it seems like the gap is about the same, and if anything has increased in the past five years or so. This is not surprising, considering that wealth inequality has continuing to drastically increase, and there are numerous institutional biases against both Black people and working-class/poor people. This article that came up was pretty interesting:

http://apps.urban.org/features/wealth-inequality-charts/

As far as I was able to determine, you are correct, the gap has grown. At least with respect to Median Household income.

What institutional biases would those be? The ones where applicants are explicitly given bonus points or penalized based on the color of their skin (black/brown = bonus, "yellow" = penalty)?

I think that you are not accurately defining Asian. (Not that I agree with you, but I think that the definitional issues matter).

Can you find any evidence of racism? Other than those resume name/callback studies, the only evidence I am aware of is that blacks are favored for admissions/employment opportunities pretty dramatically.

Since almost all gains recently have gone to the 1%, especially the .1%, that will increase the gap, since so much of old money is white. So even though over the last year wages in general have gone up slightly, it won't be enough to move that gap in a positive direction. Although with the decline in the stock market in 2015, that probably helped a bit.

Since we are talking about the gap in "median income", not "average income",
what happened to the 1% is pretty irrelevant.

#3 Shouldn't they be looking at *ratios*, which completely undermine the entire article?

#5. Would be interesting to get TC's take on the broader significance of the gravity finding.

It strikes me that, combined with the Higgs boson being recently detected, this compounds the sense that 20th century theoretical physics (including the weirder parts) may be more or less on track.

Plus: the advent of direct gravitational wave detection can help explain what's besetting the global economy presently: all those perturbations of spacetime fabric striking our wobbling planet have EVERYONE jittery down to their quantum cores . . . when does stabilization of gravitational fluctuation become a growth industry?

With both the Higgs and the gravity waves it would have been far more exciting, and far more of an advance, had they been found not to exist.

"#5. Would be interesting to get TC’s take on the broader significance of the gravity finding."

My take is that we are providing yet additional proof that a 110 year old theory is still correct and yet no one has made much in the way of contributions since. IE We are in a long running Great Physics Stagnation.

Don't think it's that big of a deal. It's good to have confirmation, but my understanding is that basically everyone in the field already took it for granted, but just hadn't figured out how to prove it yet.

--unless of course some particularly pernicious species of quantum entanglement occurred in the wake of last September's LIGO measurement, in which case wave function collapse could be implicated in the market volatility we have observed since September.

The "measurement problem" seems only to persist: determining now whether we are ascending a crest or sliding into a trough may only have grown more complicated.

The good news is that if they give a noble prize for the discovery, lots of universities that never had a noble prize winner will have one: the paper has 100 (or more?) authors.

Einstein published hIs general theory of relativity in 1915. There has been huge contributions in Physics since GR , the whole of quantum mechanics for example.

#5 a big event but still very hard to detect. Kip Thorne ( The Ligo founder) said the black hole merger at peak power released 50 times more watts in gravitational waves that all the stars in the visible universe combined

"3. “The black-white income gap was cut by about a third between 1992 and 2000…”"

Full employment does African-Americans a lot of good.

Sounds like part of the story.

I think you're partly motivated by a desire to disregard the possibility that it reflects reduced racism effects, because this would imply that institutional or broader societal racism was to explain various gaps. This would contradict your prior that probably blacks are inferior and THAT explains their worse performance.

However, I think you might be on to something, and it would also be consistent with a story which includes ongoing racism.

If, due to racism, blacks tend to be the last to get hired, then a priori they will do very well under full employment.

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