Monday assorted links

1. Auren Hoffman on VC and private equity.

2. “Cambridge creative-arts students have a-level scores close to those of economics students at Warwick, but earn about half as much. That is tantamount to giving up an annuity worth £500,000.” (The Economist)

3. Who again in NATO is supposed to fight back?

4. Singapore weighs the fate of its brutalist buildings (NYT).

5. The touchie-feelies.

6. Holocaust survivors lived longer.

7. The wisdoms of Eli Dourado how to boost long-term growth.


2) Can't read the article, but 500K seems a little low. It probably doesn't take into account wage growth.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorized the largest expansion of public health insurance in the U.S. since the mid-1960s. We exploit ACA-induced changes in the discontinuity in coverage at age 65 using a regression discontinuity based design to examine effects of the expansion on health insurance coverage, hospital use, and patient health. We then link these changes to effects on hospital finances. We show that a substantial share of the federally-funded Medicaid expansion substituted for existing locally-funded safety net programs. Despite this offset, the expansion produced a substantial increase in hospital revenue and profitability, with larger gains for government hospitals. On the benefits side, we do not detect significant improvements in patient health, although the expansion led to substantially greater hospital and emergency room use, and a reallocation of care from public to private and better-quality hospitals.

So mebbe % peeps who gotta health insurance is not as gooda metric
for good health as some people claimed it waswas?

Seems to have worked as planned

As usual Dourado's claim that we should allow more immigrants to work in wealth countries ignores the negative effects of too many low-performing immigrants including changes in policy itself as well the increasing unsustainability of meritocratic rules as groups with low performance and high disorder coalesce into an interest group.

#7 - Eli Dourado seems to not know about the Solow growth equation, which won the Nobel Prize. The only way to raise GDP in the long run stead state is via technology growth. Saving more, or spending less, or immigration, or free trade, and so on will only bump GDP to a higher level and then without technology it will stagnate at that level.

Another way of saying the above: in the cited article, Control + F key + "patents" and hitting Enter yields no hits. Never ceases to amaze me how professional economists can make this mistake. It's like the term PATENTS is like saying "F*** Y**" in print.

He specifically references very talented immigrants, for which I am grateful. Too often a similar argument is used to justify open borders, which in my opinion it does NOT

We need open borders because we don't need to be treated like criminals just for going from side of the town to the other.

"I’m like a galley salve who’s chained for life to his oar but who loves the oar. Everything about it." --Isaac Babel

#7: "Allow many more immigrants to work in wealthy countries. Taking a talented worker from the Central African Republic, where she will not be very productive, and moving her to the United States, where she will, obviously will increase global productivity. We should do much more of this, as we are nowhere near margins where the total quantity of immigration could be destabilizing."

1. How much do we really know how near we are to margins where "the total quantity of immigration", including 2nd and 3rd generation effects of demographic change "could be destabilizing" to institutions and politics? What's our guess that Eli Dourado, for'ex, knows where that is? Or that anyone can predict it well, for that matter? In which case it comes down to our taste for existential risks to our entire societies and cultures.

2. Regression effects. People don't like talking about these because they are genetic, but if that makes you uncomfortable imagine some totally not genetic mechanism which we still can't do anything about where bringing individuals from poorer performing states regresses the entire population, infinitessimally, to a lower performing mean. That's bad for the frontier of growth and innovation, and, as Stubborn Attachments is fond of telling us (and Garrett Jones for that), what's bad for the frontier is bad for everyone.

Of course, this isn't a very interesting comment of mine, because anyone who reads the comments should already know all these things.
But I'll do the duty and repeat them for the sake of making sure the obvious doesn't go unexpressed... (Note, not for the sake of the vast records of archived websites of the Library of Congress that no one in 2090 will ever read!).

So because there are racist xenophobes we should disallow domestic violence survivors from claiming asylum?

Because racists exist, we should say no to talented illiterate single mothers who speak no English or Spanish fleeing gang violence?

At least you didn’t wait too long to get overtly racist in your analysis: second and third generation are not immigrants, they’re red blooded Americans as much as anyone. That’s how this country works. They drink Coca-Cola and watch ESPN and the Bachelorette. They’re Americans.

Racists don’t get to say “two or three generations after immigration.” They’re not immigrants. That’s just racism.

If you want to kick out all the low IQ Trump supporters, then fine. We can do a Scotch-Irish-ocaust. But unless you’re willing to kick out white trash, don’t complain about Maria Martinez coming to drive your Uber and clean your house.

Kind of a low effort response from you here. You've kind of abandoned the rationalist mode for the ultra emo caricaturist mode here. I suspect you don't even believe any of this. Like, saying there are long term demographic effects and ethnic division from immigration = calling third generation fresh off the boat migrants? You can't honestly say with a straight face you believe that equation.

Suspend all immigration until current immigrants can be assimilated and all illegal immigrants can be deported. When that is done put the question of immigration to a popular vote.

Just for you

Sorry, that page does not exist!

It seems she took the joke, about sitting there assimilating, down.

The trick to this page is that any handle can be impersonated. So, solving for the equilibrium, don't take it too hard if and when your handle is hijacked.

Now, to read this thing ..

I think your reliance on genetics and regression is overdone. In the long run the smart girl marries the hunky dumb guy and we are back to median. In the meantime, any kid deserves a chance.

The other anonymous (perfectly fine handle btw) drops "racist" overmuch, but there is no denying that racism is part of the American landscape.

In the short run, a bit of structure is probably good for keeping high performers at the high end, and that has positive effects for everyone (not that we necessarily have responsibilities to everyone, rather than human loyalties, anyway). As you're fond of saying "because this has a small contribution overall/in the long run, you don't even want to try for a better world?!?", only this time true.

Maybe we can do the same with extensive (cultural/genetic, whatever) structure within country to counteract regression towards global norms, but I'd prefer borders and nation states to castes or Diamond Age style phyles (certainly structures like this give no more individual freedom).

Right now I am reading the "look inside" for Everybody Lies, the big data book.

It has some really interesting stuff on what Google searches tells us about racism in America.

Everybody Lies

"racism is part of the American landscape." By both/all sides. But more to the point it is common everywhere on earth. It is less common in the U.S. than most of the rest of the world.

The data at that link is more refined. While racism exists everywhere, it is concentrated (in the 21st century) east of the Mississippi and (sorry) among Republicans.

Trivia: searches for Stormfront surged on the night of Obama's election victory.

LOL, translation, somebody prominent commented that those Stormfront guys were going to be pissed that Obama won. And a million people hit google to find out what the hell is Stormfront.

That's the thing about data presented in a comments section. Some fraction will follow it up, and some fraction will wave it away.

The most interesting news from this book is that the anonymized data shared with social scientists from Google (and PornHub!) is that it is a time series for an anonymized individual. So you can see if the same person who searches for the N word with the -er ending is also researching or preferring a specific candidate.

Research it or wave it away, as is your nature.

"the N word with the -er ending"

Is there another N word with a different ending that we don't spell out?

7. 1. For greater growth, disburse the most talented people - convergence is good. 2. People who feel secure in the future are more likely to invest in the future; insecure people less likely. Owners of capital aren't feeling so secure. 3. More immigrants. Sure. 4. Less health care and less education. It's all just signaling and feel goodism, right? 5. More basic research. There, 1 out of 5 ain't bad. 6. No growth justification for the mortgage interest deduction? Our economy is built on housing, and housing is built in part on the mortgage interest deduction. 7. Eliminate giveaways, like requiring licenses for doctors and proof of safety for drugs. Don't think so. Final score: 1 out of 7. Economic growth is a function of investment. Eli got his big tax cut that a list of preeminent right-wing economists guaranteed would result in economic flourishing. Not.

convergence is good. There is a myth in economic growth literature that skilled labor is an absolute advantage to the comparative advantage of any unskilled laborer. There are times when an act of skilled labor becomes unskilled (see O'Connor and Greek tragedy).


6. You put people in an environment in which only the strongest can survive at all... and surprise, the people who survive lead long lives.

Maybe we could call this "survivor bias" ;)

Yes Holocaust survivors were as far as one can imagine from a representative sample of physical strength and fortitude. They were disproportionately from the top few percent of the population in terms of ability to endure physical and psychological hardship. It would be interesting to do a similar study on people who survived extreme battle conditions. I have an uncle who served in the US Navy in the Pacific in WWII, he is well into his 90s and still going strong.

the nazis effectively culled the jews with health issues
who would have had shorter life spans due to those health issues
looks like that would skew the survivors lifespan statistics

the armed forces also select for healthy people
rejecting people with health problems that lead to shorter lifespans

They apparently did not condition the control group for surviving up to the age where Holocaust survivors were when they escaped the camps. So the whole study is nonsense.

2. The assumption of course is that similar standardized test scores mean similar abilities. I don't know anything about A-levels in the UK, but this is not true for the SAT or ACT in the United States. Two people can both know math well enough to do well on the SAT, but it does not mean that both know well math enough to get an economics degree and do well in interviews that have a quantitative component. I went to a college with a very well respected Economics program, with an SAT score that was about average for the school, but if I had attempted to major in economics rather than political science I would have flunked out due to the greater and more complex math involved, and thus been quite unable to capture any wage premium.

Yes, and as you say this applies not just to test scores but to the entire choice of major. For the past few years it's been trendy to cite that salaries earned by say engineering majors vs English majors, but the unspoken (and bad) assumption there is that if those silly students would simply change their majors to engineering their lifetime salaries would increase.

3. Why not ask whether the US 'should' use military force instead of 'would' since 'should' is the word used in the question for the respondants' country? The poll tried to measure two different things at once, and is therefore impossible to interpret. Too bad, because it is an interesting question.

To explicit the obvious, the tweet seems to assume that someone in a NATO country who expects the US to intervene in case of a Russian attack on some NATO country would by necessity approves of this intervention. Of course this is false, in a way which is statistically significant.

"the men that is now is only palaver and what they can get out of you."

the point and the problem is the majority of people in these nato countries don't think they should live up to the terms of the nato agreement which is explicity stated -to come to the aid
of another nato country in the event that the real Russians got into
a serious military conflict with a nato country

Because expectations influence attitudes. If you expect the US to intervene against Russia, then logically you'll think your country is under a lesser imperative to fight back against Russia, since US intervention is a given. Think about the question in terms of STD/birth control: "Would my partner use contraception?" If you have low confidence in the former, you're more likely to say that you yourself "should" use contraception, but if you have high confidence in the former, you're less likely to believe that you should use contraception. The expectations we place on others influence how proper we think our own actions to be.

It looks like the Dutch are an outlier here, though. Good for them.

Equally, it might mean that Europeans expect the US to intervene in some circumstances in which they would rather the US didn’t (a nuclear exchange, for instance ?)
As posed, the questions don’t provide any clarity on which interpretation is correct.

using your example
when nato countries join nato that is an explicit agreement to
use the birth control or come to the military aid of another nato countrie if under a "serious military attack by russia"
as the question is worded

Another source of bias, beyond the could/should switch that already makes the poll worthless, can be this: the question doesn't say which country is attacked. Yet I think a respondant will fill in a specific country for concreteness before weighing his answer. That's what I did, I filled in Poland.

Why Poland? Draw a line from Paris or any point of France to Moscow, it will cross Poland. And beyond geography, there is history: we French still are ashamed of letting down Poland in 1939. Similarly, I believe that someone in Western Europe will think either Poland or a Baltic state if an hypothetical NATO member is attacked by Russia.

But a Greek may think differently. The NATO country close to Greece that looms large and is a secular ennemy of Russia is of course, Turkey.

This a Greek and a French answer a different question, one about Turkey, the other about Poland. If you asked French people if they should defend Turkey, their answer may not be that different from the Greeks.

Good comment.

However, given the fact that, in retrospect, France couldn't even save itself, I wouldn't beat yourself up too much for letting down Poland.

#3 is an outrageously bad poll. They ask if Italy *should* use milatry force against Russia, and then if the US *would* use it.

Good catch. A further complication might be that respondents factor in military capability. Greece might be more pessimistic than cowardly.

#3: basically a who's who of the most anti-American regimes in Europe. Ironic.

#4: Grind 'em into gravel.

#6. Article doesn't seem to consider the positive effects of low calorie lifestyle, although the claim that the weaker individuals were filtered out is interesting. For example, there are claims that heart attacks sharply dropped during the war of Teutonic aggression (1940-1945) in Norway, as the great majority of the population was put on a diet.

Reading the Bloomberg link in #6, the next article was about Warren's wealth tax:

This is incredibly hypocritical. Like the criticism against Cowen for (strawman like) reducing the threshold for AOC's marginal tax from $10M to $500K, this article says that lots of the rich get their income from pass-through entities, thus it is essentially labor income. What the article fails to address, is what fraction of taxpayers with net worth in excess of $50M earned their money from labor! Using "millionaire working stiffs" to argue that those more than half way (in a logarithmic sense) to billionaire are also "working stiffs". This is Huffington post level journalism of the right!!!

I do have some sympathy for the surgeon that essentially sacrificed his first 35-40 years with uncountable levels of hard work, I would like him to earn as many millions as would be possible if government stayed out of healthcare.

Yup, we saw something similar happen in the UK.

Although I wonder if the positive public health side effects of the war would have continued had the conflict lasted decades rather than years.

If the government stayed out of healthcare, that surgeon would neither "sacrifice" so much nor be paid so exorbitantly.

Agree! The ultimate way of fixing the healthcare cost disease would be outlawing third party billing and price discrimination for health services and drugs, as well as establishing very basic government run hospitals and clinics for those that can't pay, like we had 100 years ago.

Tautologically, the only way health care is cheaper is if there is less spent on it, which means someone makes less: insurance companies, doctors, drug makers, hospitals, or all of the above. People lose sight of this.

Feature, not bug. GDP would fall, but GDP is not everything. Making it suck less to have limited funds would be worth some loss of GDP.

Actually Viking, you have just described the Nordic/European model (fitting considering your handle). The entire ethos over there is to have less GDP/consumption due to higher taxes, but to then have things like health care and education be basically 'free'. They purposefully trade higher consumption/better lifestyles for the comfort of knowing health issues and job loss will never make you bankrupt or lack basic needs.

It's a trade of wealth for comfort/less stress. It's hard to say what's better overall. I personally prefer the American way of doing things, but I got lucky in the genetic lottery, and in the 'no catastrophic bad luck' lottery during my life.

What I described is not even close to the Nordic health care system.

What I proposed was the following: Government hospitals would handle setting broken bones, prescribing antibiotics, giving off patent chemo-therapies to cancer victims, and in general provide the services known to give best bang for the bucks, perhaps let the budget be 3-5% of the GDP.

The rest would be brutally capitalist, and most people who could avoid it would shun the government hospitals.

True, but then they'd spend more on something else, most likely. Another reason for government just not to be in the business of managing prices and supply (licencing) and then manipulating these on the basis that otherwise x industry / profession is over / under compensated. Its likely not good for anyone's welfare.

Leaving aside ridiculously basic checks on immigration, homelessness and poverty required to keep property owning, shared nation identifying democracy going.

Yes, starvation if it doesn’t kill you and you’re not a child probably confers some health benefits and its effects should be considered.

"tantamount to giving up £500,000"

Economists living up to price of everything value of nothing stereotype

Interesting observation (and I'm not saying it's wrong).

The point might then be rephrased as the equally intelligent creative arts students earn a non pecuniary return for their work equivalent to an annuity of at least £500,000.

Same facts but a different tone and impression.

The question to defend within NATO has different implications for different countries. Many countries have mandatory military service and major war in the Europe would mean mobilizing the reserves.

Asking more specific question would help.


So people from middle to upper income families might choose to study History, Philosophy or Classics at posh universities because it signals that they come from well to do families?

Pursuing what interests you is less of a risk at Cambridge. A poor history student from Warwick is taking a far more greater risk than a poor history student at Cambridge. An interviewer will assume the Cambridge student is naive and possibly dumb while the Warwick one is just dumb. Not something politically correcto to say, not even something empirically accurate, but certainly true in the school of hard knocks true.

"Cambridge creative-arts students ...": really? Is that a confusion between an Arts degree and a creative arts degree? This list of Cambridge departments doesn't seem to me to contain any "creative art" unless they mean architecture.

(I don't know because I an reluctant to register for the Economist.)

Oops; and music.

7: Tyler's probably cited Eli Dourado before, but this is the first time I remember reading him. I'm not very familiar with either, so my first reaction was that this was part of a vast use of metaphorical pen names and pseudonyms.

Free market groups like to invoke the name Cato, and what could be more fitting for such a website than to have a contributor with an El Dorado-ish pen name. Sorta like how that market columnist called himself "Adam Smith" as well as the sobriquets that many commenters here use.

Except Eli Dourado seems to be his real name.

The butterflies are all white. The wildflowers are covered in phantasmagorial blood. The brushstrokes puff and fray, tear and streak. A ringed pond is covered by lilies. There are frogs in mid-air, koi coming up for air. A black sky endears a golden crescent.

A kinder gentler Koch operation. Reaching across the partisan and ideological divide. lol.

The really sick part is they'll probably get away with it.

This is not new -- the Kochs have been supporting Cato (and other libertarian organizations like Reason magazine) for decades. They're libertarians (David was the vice presidential candidate on the libertarian ticket in 1980). So it's not surprising that they've long promoted socially liberal policies. It's rather bizarre that the Kochs were picked for the Emmanuel Goldstein role in the progressive imagination. But apparently progressives had an arch-villain vacancy and used whoever was at hand. And once the Kochs had been slotted into that role, it was probably a permanent assignment. Information that doesn't fit the narrative will be filtered out.

To get an idea of the topsy-turvy politics of today:

"Open Borders? That's a Koch brother idea."

- Bernie Sanders

It's not that bizarre. Only if you think about it, which is the wrong approach. There might be obvious shared policy interests, but politics isn't about those. It's about signalling games. The conservative libertarians wont mind the touchy-feely aspect of it ("ohhh.. ok, guess.....we're hugging now, whatever"), but the Left wont trust anything that isn't all about personal stories, empathy and all that crap.
Cato is mathy and for nerds, Reason is about the same issues, but it's edgy, contrarian and that works for some more. Reason is Rebel Cool.
Current Libertarians tend to be the kind of people who like Cato and/or Reason. Thing is, that's just not enough people. That can't win anything, because most people aren't like that and will never be like that. And those people are viscerally mistrusted by the left, too!
So if you can't beat them, become more like them.
They should have done this years ago, tbh.
It's obvious in retrospect.

The Koch's could have publicly "banned the box" years ago. It's a great symbolic gesture. But the normal libertarian mode of thinking isn't to do 'flashy symbolic gesture', but to make the system not needlessly incarcerate people in the first place.
Libertarians being very much systems-oriented people miss doing easy stuff like that. That's why they're mistrusted, too. They're not big with those heartfelt things.
It seems that libertarians are learning how to properly do politics now.
Exciting times.

The fact the Kochs hate Trump isn’t a win for libertarianism, it’s entirely predictable. Trump is not libertarian and never has been. Doesn’t make libertarianism good just because Trump doesn’t like it. Kochs make their money from small government because they’re monopoly rentiers. Trump actually rather likes big government and breaking up monopolies now that he’s in government because it gives him more power.

"...because they’re monopoly rentiers"

The Kochs have long opposed corporate welfare, too (including the ones in their own industries). And where, exactly, do any of their businesses enjoy monopolies?

Yeah, someone whose fortune lies in Oil & Gas ought to be an expert on corporate subsides.

Do you think it's impossible to be in an industry but also be philosophically opposed to government subsidies for the industry and to advocate for their elimination?

Your attraction to their libertarian inklings completely ignores their more conventional right wing antics. Which is the bulk of their impact.

For a couple decades, the Kochs have been fighting climate change policy, weakening labor and environmental regs, etc etc. They were front and center destroying campaign finance and bringing us the era of super pacs. The heavily financed the republican takeovers at the federal and state levels. They back freaking ALEC.

You can whine all you want about signaling, but these mofos' impact is real, they have laid to waste vast sections of the playing field with their money.

They fit the right wing villain role just fine on their own.

This is just a taste:

3. God bless my ancestral homeland Poland.

The UK gap is alarming. The Dutch surprised me.

6. My relatives who were survivors lived to their late 80s and early 90s.

If you are heart broken, Contact dr.mack201@ ( gmail ). com, and have your Ex lover back in 3 days.!!!!!!!!!!!!?? ???? ???? ??

Jovita steel

#6 I'd go with this:
"It’s instead that those surviving such an event may be sturdier than others, and by so much that it more than offsets the additional ailments they wind up with."
Selection? Only the healthy survived.
People seem to generally overestimate one's history in causing their talent/problems. I remember people arguing the David Thompson could jump so high because he grew up playing basketball on a miry clay court.

1) More immigration of talented people from the Central African Republic. Ensuring that poor countries will stay poor and provider of horseflesh for the First World?
2) Only once did the collective defense provision of the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO is the military coordinator to which you may not participate, France was out of it for 40 years and Greece or a few, while both remained in the Alliance). In September 2001, France proclaimed itself bound by the treaty and called other members to do same which they did, even sending aircrafts to the US. Result: years of insults from the US.

Re: Holocaust Survivors

They compare European Jews to Israelis--this is a completely different gene pool! Tenure in a concentration camp is hardly the only difference between these populations.

Comments for this post are closed