Saturday assorted links


6. Men are afraid of women even in China. You go, girl!

The Chinese are cowards.

Are you capable of generating explanations of why the statement "The Brazilians are cowards" is not likely to be correct?

Are you capable of see how those explanations may also apply to the Chinese?

The Chinese are cowards.

You weirding me out, bro.

Some truly interesting information, well written and generally user friendly.

From GeorgetownU Baker Center Poll: Agreement - Women seek to gain power by getting control over men. Extra data points not included since I do not understand what the weighting factors are.

M|White|Agree|42.09% <--
M|Asian|Agree|5.82% <--

F|White|Agree|26.40% <--
F|Asian|Agree|5.34% <--

M|HS|Agree|58.30% <--


What's this? How many people must they have polled to have enough male Native-Americans in their sample so that they can say with any confidence that 12.49% of them have a given opinion on something? That's look like data produced by a random generator...


1. It's race, stupid.

Are blacks racist towards whites? And if so why? Is it learned discrimination as in many whites they made contact with treated them badly or discriminated towards them? THAT is the accepted meme. Is it right that they feel this way and to the point of this discussion is it kind of the inevitable result of different cultures making contact? OR is it racism, pure and simple? The answer to that solves 100% of the racism questions regardless of which race or culture.

#2 For the contact hypothesis to work:

A) "Prejudice" would have to be the result of ultra extreme falsehoods which are easily debunked on contact - "All Somalis steal" and suchlike. But such ideas aren't what prejudice tends to be, and couldn't be, as they would be extremely fragile to almost any real world experience. "Prejudice" tends to more of the form of "On average, more Somalis steal than Swedes steal" and so on, which is not amenable to being falsified by isolated positive anecdotal personal experiences.

B) People would have to reason about other groups in a way heavily influenced by their own personal experience only. But human social conformity and social learning indicates that this is extremely unlikely - people do not routinely disbelieve in social customs (e.g. vaccination) because they have never personally verified the result, or because a single anecdotal life experience is contrary to the custom or belief.

What always bothered me about the contact hypothesis was the experience of any number of isolated groups where people who they were unaware even existed suddenly showed up. For instance, the Tainos on Hispaniola when Christopher Columbus arrived. How the first meeting went is not really knowable because it has been so mythologized for any number of reasons (Bartolome de las Casas's tellings are acknowledged to be politically motivated), but most accounts portray it as one of mutual curiousity and restrained good will. I doubt the further contact between the two groups, though, reduced any prejudice on either end.

The political scientist Steven David offered this colloquial assessment of 'sister city' type programs a generation ago: you get to know people better, you may think less of them.

A real world example from only a month ago.

3. Fascinating that there is actually a link tone of the people most responsible for what a betting person still considers the most likely outcome of Brexit - which is a hard one, of course.

In part because the ERG seems to feel that any price is worth paying to leave the EU - especially when they assume they will not be the ones paying it.

One wonders how a member of the Virginia School would look at Mogg's et al behavior, to be honest.

#3 is a very odd article. It suggests that Rees-Mogg the Elder has correctly predicted the withering away of the state and a decline in investment in state infrastructure and the emergence of global inequality - which would be rather surprising to people who look at global income inequality (paging Max Roser), and resurgence of state investment across the authoritarian world ("Belt and Road Initiative" anyone? Chinese social credit?).

It then goes on to persuade itself that Rees-Mogg the Younger is clearly for "sovereign individuals" in an ultra-competitive borderless world, rather than his political opponents in a referendum in which the closest demographic to "sovereign individuals" living in the United Kingdom bloc voted to remain in the European Union. Largely through the use of a conspiracy theory in which professed patriotic motivations conceal a desire to create a crisis in which Rees-Mogg the Younger can supposedly seize financial control of British assets.

Well, most of the leaders of populist movements are transparent conmen who seem concerned with personal enrichment more than any ideals - Trump and Orban most obviously. It is also illuminating how many Leave campaigners from the finance industry have happily moved their operations to Ireland or elsewhere. The idea that Rees-Mogg truly cares about the people of Sunderland or exploited white girls in Birmingham was always risible.

He's a conservative so he can't possibly care about anybody. Point noted.

He’s not a “conservative”, that’s the point of the article. He’s someone who preys on well meaning conservatives.

"Why am I attributing motives to this UK based Left Wing politician that are absolutely the reverse of his entire vote base and entirely the vote base of his rivals? Well, Lula of Brazil was corrupt, and so was Maduro of Venezuela!"

(Not an exact analogy, as of course those men are far more demonstrably corrupt.)

I missed your comment before, but thanks, you have well-encapsulated the source of my trouble in parsing the thing.

American publications rarely wind up their bilious thoughts with a rhetorical candy-coating of "respect for the nation", as they've hated America for so long.

Before we get too involved in debating this, all yourself: What are the odds that The Guardian did a fair assessment of a conservative and his motives? Close to zero. Move on.

Yet again, yet another economists fails to logically apply econ 101 to the carbon tax.

And effective carbon tax generates zero tax revenue. John almost seemed to understand this, but then didn't.

Why don't economists who embrace the Laffer curve to argue for cutting taxes to raise more tax revenue, "the tax cuts will pay for themselves", understannd that a high enough carbon tax will drive substitution, lower and lower tax revenue, and raising the carbon tax rates will further lower tax revenue.

And the bonus is the substitution is building lots of capital by paying lots of workers who in turn spend their new and higher income buying stuff and paying other workers to work.

A carbon tax will not only generate no tax revenue in the long run, but will drive higher employment and higher GDP, and higher consumption, and higher investments in capital.

Pulp, would your reasoning apply for a tax of some other stuff, say salt, for example? If not, why?

I meant Mulp. sorry; my spell-checker didn't know you.

And sorry, forget my whole comment, I somehow didn't notice you were talking ironically.

1&3...Jacob Rees-Mogg seems the obvious go-to guy for an assessment of the Contact Hypothesis.

“He could not even take a bath without my help. He did not poop in school because he needed us to wipe his butt after the business. Then [after the course] he would wash his socks. I was thrilled!” Zhang said.

She's talking about a 12-year-old boy. WTH?

Twenty years from now, that little shit will still be shouting "Ma! Ma! Come wipe my arse!" from down in the basement, and look like a Chinese version of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers.

I'm inclined to think this is closer to an over-the-top infomercial than representative news.

So, the same Guardian that a week ago told us a town in Sheffield is a "time bomb" because of animosity between Pakistanis and the antisocial, nay, can't-be-socialized Roma (who are themselves the EU's gift to the UK, according to the article) now coyly suggests that it is the Brexiters who have "cease(d) to think of themselves as a nation ..."?

The key to resolving your confusion is that the articles are from The Guardian. Critical thinking takes second place to protecting their biases

Nice piece by Cochrane, but I have to say I'm a little baffled how these tradable carbon allowances would actually work. Bit of a pie in the sky idea, anyway, though.

I wish advocates of a carbon tax would make up their minds. There are two possibilities -- in the mid to long run, demand for carbon based fuels are either elastic or inelastic.

1) If the former, then this leads to a strong justification for a carbon tax to reduce fossil fuel emissions because a tax will have a big effect on behavior. But in the longer run, it will generate much less revenue as it changes behavior so it won't work well as a tx.
2) If carbon fuel usage is highly inelastic, then a tax won't change behavior much and will generate steady revenue. But then it fails as a Pigouvian tax because the optimal Pigou tax on perfectly inelastic demand is zero. Greater than perfectly inelastic just tells us that the externality is small.

Either way, carbon taxes can't be two things at once. It can't be both a substitute for efficient income taxes AND a Pigou tax.

This basically nails it. The problem with a carbon tax is that it would have to be astronomically large to reduce carbon use in the U.S. to an environmentally acceptable level, if you accept the mainstream narrative. $20 a gallon gas would do it, but it would cause the greatest depression rural America has ever known, and it could actually cause a famine in the United States. A politically and morally acceptable carbon tax would have only the tiniest effect on actual usage.

Causing a famine in the US is a feature, not a bug, to the hard-core environmentalists. Too many people using too many resources and all that.

4. Maybe vocational employees are better at detail work while others are curious and like to speculate and follow a trail of ideas?

There is something truly rotten about NYT photography. Look at @ryanchristopherjones on Instagram, the photographer of a NY priest in an article

You'll notice the photo he posts on Instagram is not the photograph in the NYT. In the NYT, it's cut-off at the top of his head. Still, the focus is on a blurry window sill instead of the man's gaze. Also the first sentence of the article, should just be "works" instead of "can often be found." Also the second photo in the article looks like a frat party.

Ironic Tho

2: Is Amazon's presence encouraging more (acquirable) entrepreneurial activity, or is it merely affecting the location of that activity (i.e. the 20 finalist cities)? The abstract doesn't say how/if the author distinguishes between the two. If the latter, this is non-news, it's like saying that schools for learning to fly are located near airports.

You realize that the whole HQ2 search was a scam right? Bezos was always going to pick the cities where he personally wants to spend time, the search was just a con to extract some concessions. Jeff BeZos was never going to contemplate spending his time in Columbus or any of these other cow towns.

5: Cochrane's ideas are a mess. He seems ignorant of the fact that his idea #1 is what carbon tax backers *already tried* with Washington Initiative I-732 in 2016. It was defeated largely because leftist/green political organizations refused to back it (plus the usual right-wing no-tax-is-a-good-tax crowd). So the new initiative I-1631 tried to mollify the leftists by giving the government a tax revenue windfall. Even in blue state WA that did not work.

His idea #2, to simply give the proceeds to the taxpayers a la the Baker-Schultz plan, might be a good idea if it's the only one that will get approved by voters. But it's only half of a good carbon tax policy; the other half is to reduce taxes and deadweight loss elsewhere. That's necessary for the carbon tax to be a clear net public good; if the consensus models on global warming are wrong, the carbon tax will create deadweight loss. But that'll be offset by the reduction in deadweight loss elsewhere.

His idea #3 has no hope of being implemented.

Tyler is correct; what is needed is better education about economics in general and for "economists to come up with better arguments" about carbon taxes in particular. Carbon taxes are much like bidding for airline seats in 1968: even Julian Simon was apparently only half-serious when he suggested that overbooked airlines should conduct an auction to determine which passengers would get bumped. But now the idea is routine.

Similarly carbon taxes cause leftists to gag because they use a market mechanism to curtail pollution ("rich people can afford to pollute") and cause rightists to gag because "tax". But they are a very good idea that economists both left and right agree on, and as Tyler says hopefully the rest of the country will eventually see the light. It did, eventually, with airline passenger bumping.

Traffic congestion fees are another example, people on the left and the right in Oregon are fighting against the implementation of tolls on I-5 for the usual dumb left-wing and right-wing reasons. Ignoring the fact that tolls -- increasingly often tied to traffic conditions -- are in place in much of the rest of the country, without those places falling into ruin. Well Oregon also prohibits self-serve gasoline stations, another dumb policy that whose dumbness will eventually result in its abolition though it'll take decades. (Gas stations in sufficiently remote low density locations in Oregon are now permitted to go self-serve, IIRC though only at certain hours.)

Small steps to a much better world indeed.

2- There's more effects that they didn't measure. There's how large company money helps people fund startups, and the fact that talent attracts talent: It's difficult to ask people to move to Springfield IL for a software job, since the alternatives if the job doesn't pan out are pretty weak. In comparison, a couple of large companies that pay well and are always hiring make a place far more attractive. This builds some big feedback loops.

Cities that start with a small advantage just compound advantages in this, and that's why it makes perfect sense for cities to bend over backwards for those few, high quality employers.

#1. "The Contact Hypothesis (hence, "CH") is an old idea in social psych: That contact between groups reduces prejudice."

It's a bit more complicated than that. There are a number of caveats that the contact theory contains as to when intergroup mixing actually leads to reduced prejudice. It's not just a simple case of throwing people together in an unstructured environment.

Sure it might be more complex.

But then why isn't it the "Contact Hypothesis" and not the "Well, in some circumstances groups interacting together might decrease prejudice, in some circumstances might increase it, and in fact virtually anything might happen regarding prejudice in virtually any circumstance" hypothesis?

2. The study is incredibly flawed for three reasons:

First, it makes a category error of assuming acquired by is a good outcome. If only one out of 100 companies that Amazon acquires becomes a stand alone company that can IPO for 1/10th the size of Amazon, that would easily swamp all the value of every other "successful exit." Power law, people. Come on!

Second, the acquisitions are actually projected acquisitions based on data scraped from Crunchbase. If you're training on a dataset of acquisitions Amazon has already made, than you are training on exactly the wrong thing. Why would Amazon buy a second augmented reality/fashion sizing app? I predict these factors will indicate a negative signal for acquisitions in the next few years.

Third and finally, the dataset is from 2015-2018, but Amazon only announced the finalist cities in January of 2018. How can you expect to attribute decisions to found a start up in one of the 20 finalist cities two years before Amazon announced its list?

This isn't paper's "evidence" isn't even wrong.

Every study is flawed but I think your three reasons are not on the point.

1. That's a big assumption. 1/10th size of Amazon is about 70 billion, which is actually bigger than Ford or vast majority of "large" companies in the world.
2. You are right in some sense. But it depends on how specifically you describe a target company. For example, amazon actually bought several companies related to home security during past a few years. I don't think "home security" indicates a negative signal.
3. You don't seem to understand the regression in the paper. It compares companies before and after 2018. There is an indicator variable "Year 2018". The years before 2018 actually increase the validity of the test.

#4 "interest in investigative, social, and enterprising activities."

Yeah, like getting stupid-drunk and chasing skirts.

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