Saturday assorted links


#1 - and in other news: world GDP is correlated with the price of butter in Bangladesh...

your sleazy ray.

RIP V.S. Naipaul.

Let it be clear that the NYT is in the same business as Netflix.

#1 - Regarding spurious correlation, there's a missing variable at work: people who are 'map-savvy' also happen to have a high-IQ, which is related to GDP per capita, which feeds back to GDP. Same with kids who know how to play a piano and who know how to swim, play tennis, and the like (rich kid sports).

Bonus trivia: reading a book by astronomer Lisa Harvey-Smith of the UK, ("When Galaxies Collide") where she, when a teen, was able to navigate back home when dropped off as a training exercise 60 km in a random location from home, just using dead reckoning. The other teens depended on her. She was home schooled and living in the countryside while the other teens were city kids going to public and private schools. It's true: country living makes you smarter (a future paper in socio-economics).

Not a lot of reason to think that this is spurious. We have a clear model as to the cause of action here.

It is possible that there is a confounding variable, but given the number of correlations between IQ and other productivity metrics it seems very plausible that these two metrics are causally related.

IQ is a measure of skill in doing paperwork. More advanced economies are service economies where the most successful people are skilled in paperwork. Hence, it's the environment that trains then to master IQ tests.

One interesting thing about IQ is that US Ak. Jews are higher than average IQ but Israeli Ak. Jews do not. I don't think that is easy to explain.

High IQ is predictive of quite a bit more than that. Learning basically any sort of skill, plus really basic things like reaction times

#2 America, too - add Blood Simple to the list of Scandinavian Noir movies. Add The Killing to the list of TV shows. Fargo.

Shetland fits.

+many for the Killing. And ignore the advice at the link to watch the BBC Wallander; the Swedish one is better, or at least more melancholy.

Also: Monster (TV, Norway) and Terribly Happy (film, Denmark) .

Shetland's practically in Scandinavia anyway. The one guy in that show I thought had the worst fake accent turns out to be from Shetland; I guess that's how they speak. Wikipedia tells me that a "North Germanic" language called Norn was spoken there until the late 18th century, and that:

"...Shetlandic contains many words of Norn origin. Most of them, if they are not place-names, refer to the seasons, the weather, plants, animals, places, food, materials, tools, colours (especially of sheep or horses), moods and whims or 'unbalanced states of mind'."

Even more melancholy? That's a bummer. European crime shows are just so bland and somber. Give me someone with anger issues, or some multiracial/multiracial tension, or someone with a drug habit. Everyone's just so ridiculously well-behaved, and in a similar fashion, compared to American shows.

The Missing is good though.

6. Bradford Delong doesn't suffer from writers' bloc. A GoogleScholar search dredges up about 60 works in the last 10 years in addition to his 'Semi-Daily Journal' entries. You subtract the commentaries, book reviews, magazine articles, and survey articles (in journals and anthologies) and you get ... nothing. Not one theoretical paper, not one observational study, not one historical study, not one literature review. A decade ago, an EconLit search for Dr. Delong's work revealed much the same: research papers published in economics journals could be counted on the fingers of one hand. It's as if two years as a patronage employee of the Treasury Department ate part of the man's brain. only permitting him to write op-ed pieces (not a few of which are shilling for the Democratic Party as in "John McCain is dishonest and dishonorable").

Why oh why can't we have better morbidly obese econbloggers?

+1 excellent.

I haven't read him since he censored one of my comments.

sour dough

What an odd batch of sour grapes.

Here is my favorite bit of punditry from Delong, from 1996, right after the Mexico bailout and right before the 1997 Asian Financial crisis: "As far as investors are concerned this is the point: we do not want investors to hesitate to commit their money to emerging market economies with strong fundamentals because they fear a liquidity crisis, and thus we hope that investors will anticipate a support package in cases of liquidity crisis when underlying policies are sound and fundamentals are strong."

Delong to investors: Be as reckless and stupid as you want because Bob Rubin's got your back.

Does any of this matter? The guy might be an asshole & give bad advice. He might no longer write mathematical papers.

His history book might still be great. Isn't that the topic here? I read a draft almost a decade ago and liked it a lot, although I knew much less of economics then. But skimming the first chapters now it still seems pretty good -- it's refreshing to have 20th C history told by someone numerate, and I don't mean just counting tanks instead of counting cavalry.

I think the issue is that there is a lack of intellectual honesty. Do you think he ever said, my bad, the Asian financial crisis is on me and Bob Rubin? We got that one wrong.

Of course not. Here is what he said after the Asian crisis: "The absence of pre-1997 forecasts of an East Asian financial crisis is convincing proof that an expectation of bailouts could not have induced the East Asian crisis–for if there was no expectation of a crisis, what would happen if there were a crisis has no effect on anyone’s investment decisions."

You got that - cancer warnings on cigarette packs won't work because smokers don't care about cancer. The whole thing was preordained. I wouldn't read Delong's book because there is an absence of basic intellectual honesty. He's the Charles Krauthammer of economists.

#3...Agreeing to Disagree: Robert Kuttner Speaks with Milton Friedman
Date: December 18, 20. THe website includes links to outside sources including this conversation from which my health care views are derived

1. I don't think we can judge without playing the game. Does it favor those with certain life experience? Long GUI exposure?

Where is the app store link?

I think the big question on 5 is whether this is because:

1) Women have the right message in 2018 when they running against Trump and Republicans.
2) Most of the energy for elections are left/right center women. And 60 %of Primary voters are women.
3) The Trump economy is very grumpy 4% unemployment but we are witnessing the slight decline of Real Wages. (Likely ~70% oil prices.) So the basic Pre-Existing and we all can be successful message is good in this economy.

I am going with both but 2 is just stronger.

Barry Ritholtz on that..

(My gut says women are perceived as more serious, less crazy, less corrupt, at this point in history. It is a not-Trump bundle.)

Women vote for women candidates. Is there anything else to this theory?

The percentage of single women grows every year, single women are dramatically more likely to be liberal democrats. Democrat party is becoming a party of ethnic minorities and single women of all ethnicities.

Of that group, single women are much more likely to vote than the rest of the democrat base. This is magnified in primaries.

No Women's March effect?

It's women, period. One of the most important aspects of the Cold War was to retain the protestant/puritan American culture in the face of the godless Soviet attempt to internationalize their own warped views. The maintenance of the male/female relationship in the US was a cornerstone in the edifice of a jillion dollar defense structure. Of course the Soviets imploded but the havoc they unleashed on US society will probably never be rectified.
In normal civilization women, by biological necessity, are subservient to men but the Democrats and Progressives, willing to abandon the struggle against Soviet theories in exchange for political power, have embraced an ideology that will eventually condemn America to a fate similar to Rome's, eventual irrelevance. More here.


It's not even just single women: it's especially black women, particularly single black women, that are very reliable for high turnout and to vote almost uniformly Democratic in the general elections and in the primaries. I don't like to use the term "Bernie Bro", because it's a pejorative that has been used quite liberally to paint with a broad brush, but I recall a Bernie supporter claiming that a major reason the Democrats lose elections is because of low minority turnout. A Hillary supporter correctly noted that black women have notably higher turnout than the average voter and vote over 90% Democratic, and that this was an insult to a core Democrat demographic. Just another reason Bernie lost.

IIRC, Bernie Sanders' support in the black population was inversely correlated with Southern residence and age and that he managed a 50-50 split with younger northern blacks. That might be a good omen.

I'd rather party with single women than with a bunch of cucks like McConnell or Trump.

3. How to ferret out the most useful items from such a random collection? And I see students being more confused than enlightened. I always liked the back and forth between Friedman and Samuelson. Two brilliant thinkers brought out the best in each other. So first thing I did a search for "Samuelson" and come up with a wonderful piece on “The Economic Responsibility of Government.”

If there are a gaggle of geese and a clap of thunder, does the gaggle stick to the same form?

What are the best things by Milton Friedman to read? The problem with a site like the linked is that it is impossible to skim.

If you haven't read anything from him, and want just one thing to read, try "capitalism and freedom".

1. Did the study control for level experience with similar technologies and programs? That's got to be correlated with GDP and predictive of performance on their game.

#1 There are unexpected results about games. Rather than using individual performance, the fraction of top ranking players and their country origin are readily available and the relationship with the national mean cognitive indicators such as the average national GRE verbal and quant scores can be determined.

Surprisingly many of the games are more correlated to GREVerb than GREQuant. Many of the esports are team based thus verbal communication and ability to empathize with team mates are more important than quant skills. Alternatively it could be that high GREQuant students are busy studying and high GREVerb slackers have time to waste. The odd one out seems to be scrabble, dispite being language based and involves mental arithmatics, the results are not that strongly correlated to GREVerbal and not significant wrt GREQuant. The results for chess are also strange that GREVerbal is more significant than GREQuant, i.e. for human, chess positions are more like permutation of words rather than like the quantitative position scores from computer chess. Go is more culture based and might not have enough range to have a more reasonable result. For poker GREVerbal is very significant for detecting bluffing and GREQuant is even negatively correlated showing that the estimation of the odds of certain hands are not that important. Or alternatively smart quant people do not like to play poker. As I do not play esports I cannot offer further insights. Nevertheless these show the biases when using games to evaluate IQ.

Other aspects of games that are neglected are the influence of culture/language (derived from GRE scores) and personal wealth positions. The regression equations were obtained with the three variables as well as the parsimonous equations by interatively dropping out the non-significant variables.

As for scrable it is interesting that the performance is independent of IQ and language/culture but is dependent on per capita wealth. The independence with language is apparent when a former English scrabble champion was also a French scrabble champion without a working understanding of the French language. The per capita wealth comes in as the scrabble ELO scores can only be obtained from international championships in only a few selected countries and the relatively poorer competitors have problem in attending and scrabble is not popular enough to have widespread financial sponserships for competitors. Again, many of the games are also significantly influenced by language/culture and thus will only give biased estimation of IQ.

5. Quote from piece: "No variable we looked at appeared to seriously harm a candidate’s chances in a primary." How brainwashed are these people?

Where is the app store link? Thanks for sharing those link.

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