Assorted Thursday links


What is MIE? Could never find that one.

Markets in everything.

@#2 - Roman coins in Japan, probably got there by medieval trade, reminds me of a book called "How the ancient Chinese discovered America" based on the fact old Chinese coins were found in Cuba.

#3 - Demand for renter's housing went up in 1970- this might be related to the productivity slowdown in 1970, as more people trying to do more with less? It's expensive to own a home.

Or more likely, in 1970:

* The single-motherhood crisis and the 1965 immigration wave showed up and increased demand
* The modern environmental movement showed up and restricted supply.

And in 1970 in particular, all those Boomers born in 1950 showed up.

@poi thanks, that's consistent with the productivity slowdown (Boomers need to be trained, immigrants too) but arguably the environmental movement was a plus (maybe) that doesn't show up in the GDP figures: how do you value a nice view in an uncrowded neighborhood? Compare US suburbia to say the high-density blocks of Hong Kong or NYC.

White flight?

That's what I was wondering. 1968/1969 was the year of assassinations and riots. People going to bed while the city skyline was lit from burning buildings:

"Whites had begun fleeing to the suburbs long before 1968, but never at the pace exhibited for the next several years. Marie Bousfield has worked for Chicago's Planning Department, plotting and charting change in the city's population, for 15 years. "It's my view that the riots were the cause of what you call 'white flight,'" Bousfield told me recently, though she was quick to add that that's only her personal feeling. Numbers are the lifeblood of her work, and she knows of no conclusive data to back up her instinct, but she is certainly not alone in believing that the riots were at least partly responsible. There's no doubt that there was a dramatic increase in white flight--"out-migration," in Bousfield's argot--during the early 70s; nearly half a million people left the city between 1970 and 1975. (Bousfield has no hard data on the year 1969.) And there can be no doubt that some people saw the west-side riots as some sort of early warning of things to come, and acted upon those fears." "The Night Chicago Died"

If the riots caused more well-to-do people to leave for the suburbs, then naturally we should seek to understand the underlying causes of the riots.

Some people feel threatened when others stand up for themselves. Others feel relief of the empowerment of more people who will be in a better position to care for themselves and contribute to "general welfare".

1. is basically describing a giant wage and hour violation. Strippers might get paid like that but it is illegal. My colleagues and I down here in GA have been suing clubs over this "independent contractor" bs and are winning pretty much every time. (my friend did the Tattletales case)

It must be a very profitable model because the clubs seem to have decided to just continue the illegal arrangement and hope enough girls (and guys, I have friends who have sued the male clubs too) don't do anything about it. I big problem for attorneys trying to put together a class is a lot of the workers are very "transient" and sometimes drop off the face of the earth. It's hard to get someone who won't answer their phone and isn't at their last known address to answer discovery and stuff like that.

And that woman's talk about "freedom and power" is such bs. I'm sure strippers love the power of having to give the right managers, bouncers, and djs a beej to get a good schedule or the right songs. What freedom!

Are hairdressers also being treated illegally? Do most strippers not earn minimum wage? Are the lawsuits basically a cash grab by strippers since the clubs will be unable to prove how much the performers earned? I assume GA has a LV style pay system and not the other, 50/50 kind?

"Are the lawsuits basically a cash grab by lawyers?"


Yeah, definitely. No government regulations, but also F lawyers! I wonder why people think libertarians don't actually care about anyone except rich business owners? What ever might have given people that impression?

I am not a libertarian.

I am also a lawyer for whatever that is worth.

I assume you are doing these pro bono?

"Are hairdressers also being treated illegally?"
Yes, some are. It depends on the arrangement they have with the owner. How much control does the owner have over the hairdresser's work? How much opportunity for profit or loss does the hairdresser have? The FLSA mostly uses a 6 factor test. Check it out:

"Do most strippers not earn minimum wage?"
Many don't. It depends on the nights they work. The main reason they don't earn minimum wage is because of the "fees" the article describes. The FLSA requires an employee earn the minimum wage "free and clear" meaning those fees must be taken into account when figuring an employees effective hourly rate.

"Are the lawsuits basically a cash grab by strippers since the clubs will be unable to prove how much the performers earned? "
You mean follow the requirements of 29 USC 211(c)? Anderson v. Mt Clemens makes it clear an employer can't skirt their obligations by claiming they don't have records. It's their responsibility to keep records of wages earned and hours worked.

"I assume GA has a LV style pay system and not the other, 50/50 kind?"
What's an "LV" style pay system? I've never heard that acronym before.

I'm sure they will be much better off when clubs start making them account for how much they got in tips and end up sending that info to the IRS.

Not that I'm against people paying taxes, but the end result of all this will be a lot of rules and regulations for little actual gains for employees and some marginal increase in tax revenue for society (offset by lower quality strippers as some decide they don't want to deal with the hassle and increased tax burden). Same thing with the BS about servers being underpaid. They get most of their money from tips, which they barely pay taxes on. A grab for more base wages is going to end up hurting a lot of people who don't realize the benefit they get from being a semi off the books cash earner.

LV = Las Vegas

The dancers don't want their pay recorded, they want it in cash. Then it's a gotcha by the lawyers that they don't have records. The strippers will probably be worse off as a result. They will earn the same amount but pay much more taxes. So basically, you are taking your fees out of the pockets of the strippers. You are impoverishing vulnerable women for personal profit.

Our glorious state needs its funds. Further, this deplorable behavior is demeaning to women everywhere. Even worse, it gives woman everywhere body image issues, and could easily be considered fat shaming. Not to mention that I don't like it, and no one should be allowed to do what I don't like.

Signed, liberals everywhere.

So, by not reporting any income to not pay taxes, strippers keep working into their 80s and 90s. Are their that many men in their 80s paying strippers over 80 in age? Men live a lot shorter lifespan then women.

You mean making the employer pay their share of SS, etc? They aren't worse off. They get money they otherwise wouldn't receive.

The IRS assumes a minimum of 8% of total receipts as tip income so there is no hiding tip income. Employers withhold a percentage regardless of how much the employee earns in tips. And servers (who are employees) hide tip income. Nothing about having the dancers be employees changes their ability to take cash and not report 100% as income.

The dancers might also appreciate having some SS income one day.

"Making money as a dancer may seem messy, but I didn’t know many women who would change the structure as it was....Being directly connected to the money you take home is pivotal for any job, but particularly for one like exotic dancing....I have yet to work in an environment where people were as personally driven to work because they saw a direct cause and effect between their effort and payout."

Seven scariest words in the English language for a stripper to hear: "I'm @efcdons, and I'm here to help."

So the hundreds of dancers choosing to get paid properly are wrong but this one woman's conjecture is right. Ok. For people who think decisions are always the result of informed choices and thus deserve deference without interference from the state you sure are quick to assume people don't know what is good for them when it conflicts with your personal opinion.

Be careful what you wish for, efcdons. Independent contractor status makes a lot more sense in the sex industry than employee. Think about it. An employee is required to work on a specific schedule, has specific tasks she is required to perform, and has to answer to a boss. An independent contractor is free to accept or reject any job as she sees fit. Do you really think a stripper should be required to perform for a club customer, even one she detests? Again, be careful what you wish for.

One would think the gulch dwelling libertarians here would have more experience with strip clubs. In the real world, not the one in a Medium article, the dancers already don't have that choice. That's one of the reasons they were found to be employees.

Your definition of 'choice' is probably quite a bit different from most fans of this site. The sad thing is that most in government and media agree with you.

The sadder thing is that society-wide resolution of this disagreement will result a period of Lincoln-ian darkness and/or hyperinflation.

Such a pleasure, seeing "penultimate" used correctly. Sad that it took a Harvard publication to achieve this rare feat.

Meh. A paragraph above, the piece lists off a bunch of facts, like the fact that the endowment lost $2 billion.

This is something that has happened. There is no time machine. It is not 'unaccpetable'. It already happened. You have no choice.

The way that word is constantly misused I can't think of the word. Inconceivable?

Weren't the Romans actively trading with China for silk in exchange for red coral?

Sure, it was via intermediaries but there was an active trade route so not sure why this is a big surprise.

The Roman coins wandered around for centuries. They don't prove anything at all about Roman trade. It's just as likely that some Black Sea sailors were robbed by pirates who were later killed and looted by bandits further east and so on.

1. Strippers are like Uber drivers: "More often than not, though, I had self-imposed quotas. I would walk into work and know I had a certain target I wanted to hit. I scheduled myself for a minimum of four 6-hour shifts per week, and a weekly dollar amount target. If I did well on my Tuesday shift, I could be a little lazy on my Wednesday shift. Or, if a sudden car repair came up, I went in for a double instead of a single shift. Girls who had to make rent would stay on the floor until they came out with enough money to go home and cut a good check."

Most gig workers are like that, and that's the primary draw of that kind of work. You are your own company, and you work exactly as much or as little as you want. Which is why most Uber/Lyft/etc drivers are very much against the efforts to make them regular wage-based employees.

To clarify, I was referring to the recent study of Uber drivers that concluded peak pricing does not increase the number of available Uber drivers (during the period of peak pricing), one of the main purposes (according to Uber) of peak pricing; indeed, peak pricing reduces the number because they reach their goal quicker.

Not among experienced drivers

I observed the same effect among my piecework employees in a seasonal business. It took most of them one or two cycles to learn to respond effectively to the feast-or-famine nature of our work.

This idea of "work exactly as much or as little as you want" can be a total lie for a lot of people.

With all the time sitting around ready to work but with no work to do, you then have to sit around for more hours to make up the income you hoped to make.

Sure, you can decide whether to take the "next gig" or not. But after sitting around for however long, it's hard not to even if it's getting inconvenient for other reasons (say, kids are home at its dinner time).

3. The more I review the 1970(s) economic data, the more I come to the conclusion that we had a huge demographic bubble of Baby Boomers entering the workforce. (For any decade it is still the highest decade of new worker percentage than any other post war decade.) I sometimes think Great Inflation was the demographic reality of the Baby Boom.

Anyway, I would like to think as economist think the 1930s was the great age of Creative Destruction (which did nothing to stop high unemployment), I would change that the 1970s were also a a great age of Creative Destruction as well. (A lot of the government deregulation happened or were started by the Carter Administration.)

Exactly right. Don't sometimes think it, that's a fact. Demographics can explain almost all big economic trends, including the current low interest rate, low growth world.

#3 divorce effect?

#6 lol, I'm sure losing $2B they didn't care about but now that it's in the Crimson they'll take notice

Theyve missed the fact that ~1.5B of it was the funds annual distribution, i.e. about a third of the university's revenues. While the balance is ~2B lower, market losses are only ~0.7B. The kids just love to be indignant about things.

#6 "We are a nonprofit institution of higher learning, but educating young people is expensive."

Oh noes, how will they survive with only $35.7 billion!!!!

I note that Harvard still requires needy students to take loans out as part of their financial aid package.

isnt it free if HH income is <65k?

household income above 65k in many areas (DC, NY) is still pretty needy. Especially if there are multiple children

6. Writing tip, don't write "Penultimate" when "second to last" will suffice.

Without "penultimate" we wouldn't have the oh-so-specialized "antepenultimate."

This is the opposite of true. Economize your words. Why use 3 when 1 is sufficient. Using 3 is just dumbing it down for your audience and this is Harvard here.

Then shouldn't you have used "false" instead of "opposite of true"?

#6 so even Harvard is not capable to beat the market and is experiencing the so-called regression to the mean.

Why should anyone be surprised that housing demand was strong in 1970?

Household formation is the key determine of the basic trend of housing demand. Rates and income just cause demand to bounce around the basic trend set by household formation. In the 1970s the baby boomers reached home buying age and household formation justified housing starts of some 2 million. But in the early 2000s household formation was only about half the level of the 1970s -- both before and after the bust. So extracting from all the financial problems we should have had a bust just based on demographics. Moreover, current household formation just supports the current level of starts -- some 1.2 to 1.4 starts. Claims that starts should rebound to over 2 million are just plain unrealistic.
housing b

#7. "A randomized trial for African sweatshop jobs."

Oh, it was a "randomized" trial -- so it must have been a very high quality piece of statistical research.

Of course there was no random selection at all in the actual study methodology. Picky, Picky.

And when a supposedly highly rigorous economics field study states it findings as:
"the results suggest" -- you know with certainty that it is fluffy B.S.

Huh? "we randomized people to each treatment group via computer, stratified by gender", §3.4, p13.

Merely claiming "we randomized people" does not make it true. Look at their basic methodology details.

The alleged random selection was obviously not done from the "population" under study, but from a small non-random sub-group of volunteers. Also, participants were in no way randomly assigned between the test group and control/comparison group.

And on the other hand there are those who consider that the low quality of results in recent decades is due to hesitation to publish things with not highly significant p-values, and so the average paper is much more likely to be wrong than the stats say.

But you're suggesting that use of limiting words regarding the conclusions should be frowned on.

If anything, the problem is writers feeling the need to make their results sound more than they are. The problem is not people saying "suggests" when the results do not warrant it.

1. So, being a stripper is just like being a girlfriend?

Tyler when I see you quote the DailyMail I want to cry :/

So, hold on, you linked to a stripper to learn about the financial details of her work? Wait, wasn't Ezra Klein available? Sure, he knows nothing about stripping, but then he knows nothing about economics or policy, and that didn't stop you, or, sadly, many others before.

Portland, OR has a lot of strip clubs; according to this Portland Tribune article this is because the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that stripping is protected free speech.

The article, like the Billfold article, notes that strippers are considered contractors not employees. Stripper Elle Stanger thinks that is better for the strippers:

'Some strippers have talked of unionizing or pushing the state for some sort of licensing of clubs, or to require strippers be covered by the state minimum wage, but Stanger says that sort of regulation might hurt strippers more than help.

“Employee status would give us less control as entertainers,” Stanger says. “If clubs were suddenly forced to pay wages, it would close most of them. The ones that survived would almost absolutely take the funds from our tips by increasing their house fees or enacting quotas.”'

OTOH, she's not a typical stripper: she's a writer and activist, and admits that there are some strippers who have issues with sexual abuse, drug addiction, etc.

What I find even stranger is the organization described in the article, the Cupcake Girls. Their purported mission is to provide help to strippers, but they're often viewed with suspicion by them, including by Stanger initially. And the Cupcake Girls have to impose their own rules upon their volunteers: they're prohibited from spending their own money to help out a stripper; the claim is this is to prevent the volunteers from becoming burned out. Meanwhile a couple of the comments to the article claim that the Cupcake Girls are a scam, collecting donations while only seeming to help the strippers.

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