Saturday assorted links


#3) "we document that standards for degree receipt may explain some of the change in graduation rates"

The cheapest way to guarantee free college for all would be to rename high schools "colleges".

#1) Didn't deport enough of them.

We don't import enough of them. Like this Mexican physics Phd who solved 2000 year old optical problem. The equation is the hairiest thing I've ever seen:

Imagine how much better Mexico would be if we were to send all their citizens back to them. They have better educations now, speak English, which is important for national trade. They all remain full fledged citizens of their home country and the kindest thing we could do is get them back home where they belong.

I would suggest a multi-stepped program to help them get home:
1. Enforce the laws that make it illegal to hire an illegal alien.
2, Use SS and IRS records to track them down and prosecute any who broke laws.
3. Identify and prosecute anyone who aids them in breaking our laws.
4. Require schools to report students who are here illegally.
5. Require hospitals to provide names and other information on patients who are not citizens and charge the native country for the medical care.
That would be a good start.

"Use SS and IRS records to track them down and prosecute any who broke laws."

This will backfire bigly on the American people. Like the war on terror, the war on immigrants will lead to less liberty and bigger government.


From the study: "In most cases, the number of people removed by deportation did not have a large impact on the undocumented population at the local level. On average, one percent of the likely undocumented population was deported, although the share was as high as ten percent in some counties. This is likely too small a share to see a significant effect on crime from compositional changes."

3. Per the paper, colleges have debased their coinage (degrees) via inflated GPAs. Participation trophy culture goes to college.

What do economists and history have to say about a debased coinage?

The same with you engineers. I could get a better Chinese or an Indian engineer without paying inflated American wages. That's the real participation trophy.

Except that you can't get better Chinese or Indian engineers for lower wages. Corporate American has been attempting to outsource both IT and engineering for the last 15 years. For IT, the results have been marginal to a net loss, for engineering it's been a clear net loss.

The issue being that an engineers total cost to the value of the system is very small compared with the value they add. An Indian engineer (located in India) suffers from a communication barrier, a time lag barrier and a culture barrier.

First, Indian engineers that are very fluent in English tend to be in the highest demand and they either get H1B visas and work in America (for American wages) or they are promoted to project management in India. The one's that do the actual engineering tend to be less fluent and/or very young.

Second, the time lag is a very real issue. When you have to communicate a problem, wait 12 hours for it to be read and a question to be generated, wait another 12 hours for the original sender to read the question and generate a response, then this adds a significant barrier to fast response. And trust me, nobody puts grade A engineers on the night shift for a cheap rate.

I've worked in these environments several times. And it's much easier to be able to contact somebody on Skype and hash out a complex issue in 30 minutes that might involve dozens of back and forth questions. Since, you can't predict when these kind of hiccups will occur and they tend to be frequent, once or twice a week, the communication lag tends to add a lot of cost.

Third, is the cultural barrier. And this seems to generally be an non-Anglo/Franco issue. Among most American, Canadian, French, and British engineers, when asked if they understand the issue, they'll generally admit when they don't and you can discuss it until everyone is roughly on the same page. However, when you are a conference call with Indian, German or Japanese engineers, they will seldom ever admit they don't understand something. Usually, this can be solved by actual face to face meetings. However, flying Indian engineers to America or vice versa multiple times tends to clobber the savings and is thus almost always off the table.

The result of this is that I've been involved in repeated ongoing attempts to utilize Indian engineering remotely and it's never been a success. Most of the time it's not a disaster. But that's usually because the Corporation will hire an American engineering integrator to come in and analyze and fix any outstanding issues. Which often results in somewhat higher costs/ However, since the engineering budget is often only 5% of the overall costs an extra 20% in engineering costs won't really impact the viability of a project.

Also, kudos for using the pseudonym "MBA Man".

4. Claims about Los Angeles.
The one universal claim. Any state in the union can reduce welfare costs by handing our bus tickets to LA.

I swear TC has linked to that blog post before...makes me wonder how much of Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad he will remember

It's from 2007 so maybe multiple times.

He just likes Devon Zuegel. He'd sort of be crazy not to.

My solution to California's problems is to pay people to leave. And California has the money to do it. Here's 10 grand for yourself and an airline ticket to Des Moines and you can never come back. A billion dollars a year would cover 100,000 people.

A couple years and so many people would be clamoring for the money they might start accepting less. It's a win-win*

Famous Brazilian billionaire Mr. Lemann has defeated famous Brazilian Mr. Benchimol in a friendly tennid match this Saturday. Mr. Lemman, who supports Brazil's bold economical reforms controls many of the most important brands of the world, such as Heinz, Miller and Budweiser. He is known to be an avid tennis player and an active philantropist.

Lemann is only a successful billionaire because his father was Swiss and his family lives in Switzerland. Lemann admitted the corrupting influence of Brazil while a youth when he almost flunked out of Harvard: "My first year at Harvard was horrible. I was only 17 and I missed the beach and the sun a lot. ...I was not used to study or to write; we have to write a lot in Harvard. My grades were the worst possible." Only after working at Credit Suisse in Switzerland did Lemann manage to shake off his corrupt Brazilian upbringing and adopt good Swiss habits to become successful.

Not at all. If being a Swiss were enough to make a multibillionaire out of someone, all Swisses would be multibillionaries. Yet, most Swisses are not multibillionaires. Why wasn't his father a multibillionaire, by the way? Also, Cambridge is a famously cold place. Not liking cold places is not an evidence of moral corruption. There are many warn places in the United States, such as Florida, California, Texas, Georgia and Hawaii. There is nothing wrong with being from a warn place.

Mr. Lemann was forged by his youth spent in Brazil and he made his money by being tougher than the toughies, and sharper than the sharpies. It took him to succeed Brazilian heart, Brazilian humor and, yes, Brazilian Schnauze.

Being exposed to his native Swiss culture was necessary to shake off the lazy, corrupt habits of being a Brazilian beach bum and allow his superior natural talents to develop fully before it was too late.

Not at all. Think about it, how many lazy persons ever went to be accepted in Harvard and working at Credit Suisse in Switzerland? It was clear he was made of superior stuff since the beginning. It is probably not exaggeration to say that, the same way Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, Mr. Lemann's fortune was made in Brazil's K-12 school classes, where his entrepreneurial soul was forged.

4. LA is pretty awesome. Even the 7.1 earthquake was pretty awesome. No wonder Musk and Thiel moved there. Lebron and now Kawhi too. Go Clippers!

Attention: Famous Brazilian composer and singer João Gilberto has died.ão_Gilberto

LA's traffic is really soul-crushing. I know it has been turned into a joke and cliche to even mention it but it truly is a blackened sore on human life there.

Having said that, there are a lot of paeans written about LA, which is more than you can say about most towns. My favorite LA song is Aenima by Tool.

Meh, most of the verses showed only a superficial understanding of LA. Most of the lines could've been written about any coastal US city.

I like Bad Religion's "Los Angeles is Burning" much better. It truly is about LA, lines such as "Jacaranda boughs are bending in the haze" could only have been written by someone who's truly experienced LA.

#2 - claims about the USSR economy - the Miller book, like the book "The Soviet Economy" by Alec Nove (1961), suffers from lack of reliable data. In the Miller book it was related that a Soviet high-level apparatchik made an effort to visit the Central Committee in charge of collecting data about the USSR economy, thinking they would find a trove of secret data and found nobody had such data. The system was so convoluted that no such reliable data existed. That's one benefit of a decentralized price signaling economy like the free market, such data exists in the price itself, no need for a centralized repository. The Miller book was interesting since it did make rough estimates of what caused the downfall of the USSR, and indeed the fall in oil prices as well as Gorby's teetotaler drive, as well as poor harvests and the refusal of the Soviet military to take cuts in their budget, all played a role (as well as strangely, the USSR trying to keep their international credit rating high, and trying to ape China's economic reforms, which did not translate well with the Russian population, maybe south Chinese are more entrepreneurial?). The sudden USSR collapse however nobody saw coming. Arguably the proverbial camel's back straw was the Azeri-Armenian conflict of the late 1980s, culminating with the declaration of independence in spring 1988, over a year before the Berlin Wall fell ( and six months before the Estonian declaration of independence in the fall of 1988.

Bonus trivia: Liquor is underrated as a driving factor in politics, recall the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791 in the USA.

#3, I don't buy the authors reasons. Having been at a large state university and been very familiar with the trends in the whole state's university system, I can tell you that the administration implemented many reforms over the past 10 years or so specifically raise the completion rates. The paper is not correctly controlling for these efforts.

Indeed. It's hard to measure their effectiveness, but a glance at just about all colleges' and universities' programming and strategic plans will show a lot of attention being paid the last 10 or 20 years to increasing retention and graduation rates (except for the top schools, which were already graduating 90+% of their students).

I'm not claiming that those efforts were successful or that they were the main cause of increased graduation rates. But they might've been.

3. Because students who flunk out tend to stop paying tuition.

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