Patents, Pollution, and Pot

In recent years, new research has significantly increased my belief that air pollution has substantial negative effects on productivity, IQ and health (see previous posts). Research in the field is exploding which means that there must also be more false positives. Consider two recent papers. The first, The Real Effect of Smoking Bans: Evidence from Corporate Innovation by Gao et al. finds that smoking prohibition increased patenting!

We identify a positive causal effect of healthy working environments on corporate innovation, using the staggered passage of U.S. state-level laws that ban smoking in workplaces. We find a significant increase in patents and patent citations for firms headquartered in states that have adopted such laws relative to firms headquartered in states without such laws. The increase is more pronounced for firms in states with stronger enforcement of such laws and in states with weaker preexisting tobacco controls. We present suggestive evidence that smoke-free laws affect innovation by improving inventor health and productivity and by attracting more productive inventors.

But the second, Do Firms Get High? The Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Firm Performance, Corporate Innovation, and Entrepreneurial Activity by Wang et al. finds that marijuana legalization increased patenting!

We find that state-level marijuana legalization has a positive financial impact on firms, likely by affecting firms’ human capital. Firms headquartered in marijuana-legalizing states receive higher market valuations, earn higher abnormal stock returns, improve employee productivity, and increase innovation. Exploiting firm level inventor data, we directly test the human capital channel and find that post legalization, firms retain inventors that become more productive and recruit more innovative talents from out of state. We also find that marijuana-legalizing states experience an increase in the number of new startups and venture capital investments.

Would anyone have been surprised if these two papers had shown exactly the opposite results? Indeed, there is some evidence that nicotine is solid cognitive enhancer and Tyler recently argued, on the basis of good evidence, that pot makes people dumb. Is it a coincidence that anti-cigarette and pro-pot papers appear as the country moves in this direction? Social desirability bias also applies to research. So no knock on either paper but I am unconvinced. As I like to say, trust literatures not papers.

Hat tip: The excellent Kevin Lewis.


Santa Cruz just decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms. Big pharma and drug warriors must hate that but its a win for regular people.

I totally unironically believe everyone ought to have about one serious psychedelic/entheogenic experience in their lives.

I know you both must be joking because that level of stupidity is impossible.

@Tyler recently argued, on the basis of good evidence, that pot makes people dumb. -- agree in most all regards. Where Alex writes about how these two papers have self-diserability bias - likewise, hard to dispute -- I do however hypothesize that the legal pot and all that 'patentable' goodness / capital agitation -- could hold true that YES pot definitely makes you dumber -- but sometimes to get stuff done you need the stuff packed up in really smart people's brains to get processed in a way that regular (dumber if you must) people can grok it - there's also the interplay between said smart people where non-traditional and/or non-direct concepts or heuristics suffice to convey the connections, the lift, the 'new thing of value'. I don't know, I'm highAF! ps - yes on everyone having a psychedelic experience...or least given the option to under controlled situation -- so many people would benefit, I know it anecdotally, wish we would put the hammer down on the science - social and otherwise. Anyhoo - how much do I love this site? A lot.

2/1 or 100/50 – you actually want 100/50 (scale, while weighted on performance, commits to more research, more profit margin and more viewable inventory).


med blegne glimt af kridt....sette: miasma; the calls from wild exist there. Paradise economized. THe darker the black. mweusi mweusi

Just think how many more patents would be issued if Americans were allowed to enjoy a quiet beer at a reasonable age - 18, say, or 16 if with their parents.

Yeah, 18-year-olds are famous for drinking beer "quietly."

It's the illegality that forces them to go raise the roof at illicit ragers. I'm sure they would rather be quietly at home with their parents.

No question, staying home with Mom and Dad is all I ever want to do.

I seriously don't know where this myth comes from... probably from those 18-20 who just want an easier way to binge drink. The WHO has data on binge drinking. I didn't find it broken out by age but it is illustrative. The statistic I looked at is the share of drinkers who had an episode of heavy drinking in the past 30 days. The US ranks below just about all of Europe with a share of drinkers who drank heavily at 25%. Here is the list of European countries with higher heavy drinking rates than the US, all of which have lower drinking ages:
Lithuania 56.1
Finland 53.7
Greece 52.8
Austria 52.4
Moldova 48.6
Ireland 48.2
Czech Republic 43.6
Slovakia 43.4
Belgium 41.7
Estonia 35.8
Portugal 35.8
Iceland 34.9
Sweden 34.5
United Kingdom 33.4
Ukraine 33
Belarus 32.7
Hungary 32.3
Denmark 32.2
France 31
Bulgaria 29.1
Luxembourg 25.6

"Just think how many more patents would be issued if Americans were allowed to enjoy a quiet beer at a reasonable age - 18, say, or 16 if with their parents."

It's illegal to buy or publicaly consume alcohol if you are under 21. In most cases you call legally drink with your parents at private events.

In 30 states, you can drink as a minor at a restaurant if your parents purchase the drink for you.

Many years ago I read in The Economist that there were studies linking a higher consumption of cigarettes with a much lower incidence of Alzheimer (adjusted for age, therefore my MD wife is wrong when she says ”sure, because you guys die earlier”). There is something about it in the document linked about cognitive enhancing by Alex, but not much.

It would be interesting to know more. People preferences are different. Of course, I am afraid of dying, but I am terrorized by the idea of losing my lucidity and becoming demented in 2-3 decades. If I had numbers, instead of “it seems that...”, I could make a informed decision. I quit smoking 2 years ago, but becoming older, maybe my chances of getting lung cancer diminish in comparison of becoming an Alzheimer sufferer.

Unfortunately, those numbers seem not available. Given that there must be data on millions of subjects, I think the numbers exist. Maybe it is the arrogance of those that think they are in charge of other people personal decisions, like the medical establishments, that work to impede their distribution.

"I am terrorized by the idea of losing my lucidity and becoming demented in 2-3 decades."

Why? Didn't the Second Coming *specifically* tell you to be terrorized by climate change? There is little room to be terrorized by two things happening in 2050.

Actually, in a refreshing change of truth, scientists have recently rejected the worst case Global Warming scenarios as highly implausible. They've been high implausible for at least a decade and probably always were. Maybe both extremes can start moving toward a sensible position.

Both the Global Warming is not happening and the Global Warming will cause human extinction crowds are in denial at this point.

"The worst-case scenario for emissions of CO2 this century is no longer plausible, say researchers." aka RCP8.5

Moving towards the sensible middle...if only it were more prevalent.

"They've been high implausible for at least a decade and probably always were."

I first saw what were similar assumptions to RCP8.5 in 1997 when the Kyoto Accord was on the news a lot and my school in Yokohama for Japanese language would watch those in class. I thought the projection discussed, a rise of 5 degrees C by 2100, was ridiculous so looked up on the new internet that my dorm office just got and couldn't believe the assumption I was reading to get that huge temperature increase: something like a doubling of CO2 by 2050 and then rising after that. I wondered which scientists actually believe that.

My view that the 4 to 5 degree rise by 2100 was silly spread to the other students there and a friend told me: "Some of the students think your ideas about global warming are pretty odd." I explained to my friend: "Do they seriously think there will be no advances in energy, CO2 sequestering, and other technology for the next hundred years? We've been on an exponential computer power curve for decades and that will easily continue until at least the 2020s."

Then again, the students who thought my (very vocal)! anti-alarmism was strange were all humanities and social science students...

"We Choose Truth Over Facts!" Joe Burisma Biden

"We take him seriously but not literally" - all you MAGA dummies

There is a lot of information out there on this, actually. Start here.

"...ban smoking in workplaces." That both applies to tobacco and marijuana in the office. The anti-smoking laws is against externalities not against tobacco itself.

Next, anecdote warming!

The tobacco smokers among my friends and family are between half and 1 pack a day consumption level. The marijuana smokers among friends and family tend to 1 or 2 joints by the end of the day. Only a few of them are carrying their pot and the one-hitter wherever they go to handle anxiety.

They say the difference between poison and medicine is in the dose.

Quite. They are measuring quite different things, so the results are far from ‘exactly the opposite’.

With vaping of both tobacco and marijuana common, it's discrete. I've vaped both on planes, in hospitals, at work. Nobody can tell, there's no scent you just duck behind a pillar and take a hit. From this I conclude that many many people today are high as a kite at work.

I think about this sometimes on the freeway, cruising along at 60-70 mph, with dozens of cars passing within a couple of feet. Its kind of amazing there aren't catastrophic wrecks every hour.

The efforts to normalize marijuana use, and generally make it more difficult to screen out employees who are drug users, seems to run counter to the hyper safety "if it only saves one life" ethos.

I'd guess the number of people high on prescribed opiates is even greater. It's more "giving up" than "normalization" because I think it's been normal for a lot of people to get through the day on drugs for a long time now.

The number of people high on Facebook or Texting is far higher than either.

I have lots of experience with alcohol impairment for driving ;) A good meal and half a bottle wine impairs you for 2 hours. Beers and a good talk with friends impairs you for 5 or 6 hours. Drinking in a party setting, and you're no good until 8-10 hours later.

I have no idea for marijuana. 1 hour, 2 hours, half a day? Any data?

If you get high it takes about 1-2 hours to 'come down' and be basically ok to drive. But you will still have plenty in your system and be driving illegally if you are tested.

In the end, the problem with alcohol consumption and driving is that tipsy drivers are likely to fall asleep at the wheel, just like people who haven't had enough sleep, not that they're any more inept in that condition than a huge percentage of drivers that don't belong on the road in any condition. However, drivers that fall asleep at the wheel, run into 9 passenger van full of Yeshiva students and then pass the blood alcohol and dope tests seem to get off OK, though their insurance carrier will pay.

I love alcohol but I'd never make the equivalence between drunk driving and falling sleep due to being tired.

Alcohol drinking has an euphoria stage before falling sleep. During this level of alcohol is went you feel confident to do stupid things including speeding, burnouts, and the proverbial "hold my beer!"...all this while your motor skills and reaction times are impaired.

Do these results hold up when you remove California from the sample? Seems like it would have a disproportionate share of both patents and changes in cig/pot smoking.

The correlation between anti-smoking laws and patents mistakes the true cause: antismoking laws started in more liberal, blue states, whereas states that didn't ban smoking were more conservative. It's not that conservatives are dumb, and cannot patent, but rather other features of more liberal states--support for education, for example--make them more attractive to the innovators.

Also, the paper is based on the headquarter location of the firm, not where the employees are based, so take the paper with a grain, nay, a box, of salt.

Yes. Came here to say this.

I know that that "+1" comments are useless, but that you are, indeed, correct.

On average, conservatives are dumber than liberals. Why are we so politically correct about this? All the top schools are liberal for a reason. The brainiest professions are all liberal too like doctors, lawyers, and engineers.

It's not that conservatives tend to be stupid but that stupid people tend to be conservative.

True, it's pretty much a survival trait.

Idk, there's a big gap between education and intelligence. As someone with 21 years of active school-based education and a number of "continuing education" years, I can certainly attest to that fact.

Absolutely. But if you are taking conservative in the literal sense and not the political sense, then change is high risk and a higher IQ helps mitigate that risk.

"Idk, there's a big gap between education and intelligence. "

True, particularly with regard to higher education.

Interestingly, "Overall, on most science knowledge questions Trump supporters score significantly higher than Clinton supporters and significantly higher than the combined non-Trump supporting public. If, however, you asked about beliefs, rather than knowledge, on evolution and the origins of the universe you would get substantially better answers on individual science questions from Clinton supporters than Trump supporters."

I've never met a liberal civil, structural, or mechanical engineer. I'm not saying they're not out there--just that in my experience the fields are VERY heavily skewed towards conservativism. (I'm in environmental compliance/remediation, so if anything the prior would be to expect a more liberal leaning.)

With questions like this, one always has to ask: Who gets to define the terms? And every time I've asked that it's been amazing just how Left-leaning those who define the terms are. If you define "intelligence" as "being Liberal" (and there's all sorts of ways to muck with surveys to do this without openly doing this), well golly gee whiz, you find that only Liberals are intelligent.

Bear in mind as well, the spectrum has changed. If Trump were to have been elected president in the 1970s or so he'd have been considered middle-of-the-road. Earlier than that and he'd have been considered fairly Liberal--maybe not a bleeding heart, but certainly on that side of the spectrum. So there's a temporal factor that has to be considered as well.

There's a bunch more that can be said, but suffice to say, I find any correlation between intelligence and political views to be specious at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst.

There are plenty of smart liberals and conservatives. But Brian is right, if you are stupid you are more likely to be conservative. Racists are stupid. Hard core religious types (like jihadists and evangelicals) are generally not as smart as atheists. You get the picture.

I think it’s more *ignorance* that captures the sentiment than stupidity

But on average, wouldn't we expect ignorance to at least correlate with stupidity?

I do. I also see that you continue to treat "intelligence" and "stupid" in a manner that is not compatible with intellectual rigor. They're slippery terms, prone to ending up meaning whatever the person speaking wants them to mean. Without hard definitions this conversation essentially boils down to "People who lean this way politically agree with this-way-leaning ideas more than people who lean the other way politically".

But can't we make a common sense judgement without the hard definitions?


define "common"
define "sense"
define "judgement"
define "hard"

This is such an engineer-y response :-)

We can, among people we know. It's easy enough to tell who your smart and stupid friends are. We humans are hard-wired for it.

However, that's not the situation here. We're being asked to judge the intelligence of strangers, based on criteria that are undefined, via tests that we are not privy to. There are know cognitive biases in play here (no offense to anyone, this is inevitable in this sort of study and serious scientists account for them). There are known cases of people formulating questions such that "smart" means little more than "agrees with the political and social views of the test-maker". Without rigorous, repeated, and well-constrained data, what we're being asked to do here isn't just hard; it's a violation of foundational principles in science.

Second, from whence does that common sense derive? I'm in a management position, and my common sense tells me that field grunts (geologists and engineers that collect samples) are a bunch of half-crazed lunatics who are likely to blow themselves up trying to collect a sample. The common wisdom among field grunts is sthat management is a bunch of lazy coffee-swilling layabouts who can't find our rear ends with a map. It's common sense to wash your hands after you do an autopsy--but when it was first proposed it was violently opposed.

Turns out "common sense" is usually just internalize group norms. And since most of us are educated, most of us have internalized liberal norms--which means that, consciously or in, we're going to associated liberal views with intelligence. Since the goal of this question is whether that's true or not, this is a serious problem.

Let me spin this another way: Why do you think it's acceptable to drop the standard requirements of scientific and intellectual rigor here? You would not, I assume, "common sense" your way through a physics problem, or an engineering one, or a geological problem. If sociology is a science, it must play by the rules of science--including the need to rigorously define the question, the parameters of the test, and the conditions of success or failure of a hypothesis. The desire to avoid that is, in my experience, usually tied to the belief that one's pet hypothesis can't survive such rigor. That may not be the case here, but it's a question worth asking.

Not like the 'hard sciences'. Sociology to me is just trying to quantify common sense understanding. So you're right, trying to scientifically 'prove' that liberals are smarter is not really possible. But that doesn't make the 'common sense' understanding entirely wrong either.

As you correctly said, among people we know we can just tell who the smart ones are. We don't do this scientifically with a test, we just know from how they talk, what they are interested in, their profession, etc. Well, we can do that with people we don't know either. It's not as accurate because you have less input, but when you see or read interviews with liberals and conservatives, when you see or read about liberal voters and conservative voters, when you learn about what issues and attitudes the different ideologies espouse, you can make educated guesses.

I think it's fair to say there are many smart liberals, many smart conservatives, and many dumb ones of each stripe too. And of course they are outnumbered by the intellectually average on both sides. So the comment that got this started, that on average liberals are smarter because educators skew liberal, while not dispositive or scientific, does get at some manner of truth.

If we get more granular it gets even more confusing. My common sense guess is that libertarians are on average the smartest of all. Are they conservative? I guess so...but really aren't they a third axis?

This is mostly just mental masturbation, I agree with you that it would be difficult to 'prove' which ideology has smarter adherents.

This whole matter gets confused by sematics. Left wing Americans aren't exactly liberals, American conservatives aren't necessarily conservative.

If the results had been opposite, would you so strongly object to calls for standard levels of rigor (which is really all I'm after here)?

Don't bother answering. It's rhetorical--that you object at all tells the whole story.

Opposite results would have no effect on my thoughts here. I'm not strongly objecting to anything. I'm a mushy moderate and very non-ideological. If you want to try to rigorously answer this question, be my guest. We're just chatting here.

if you are stupid you are more likely to be conservative.

What you're really saying is that people that don't agree with me are stupid, aren't you?

"The brainiest professions are all liberal too like doctors, lawyers, and engineers."


Engineers aren't conservative to a man but... it's pretty close to that. Something about getting yelled at if it isn't running when the schedule said it should be tends to focus the mind. If there is a real physical system in the mix honesty is enforced. If the job is shovel data into papers and papers into "journals" to be skimmed and forgotten in an hour... well lets just say academia can get away with believing more concepts that don't correlate with the physical world.

We need both the grow fast (conservative) and grow well (liberal) attitudes. We need both women and men and the rest too. But we could do without the people who want to starve the poor to death by banning fire... don't be one of those! think that people exist "who want to starve the poor to death by banning fire"?

I'm pretty sure that "banning fire" is a metaphor for stopping the spread of technology (ie the Prometheus myth.)

And we certainly have numerous people who have stopped GMO's from being used in Africa and it's highly statistically likely that people have actually starved to death because of it.

So, I'm going with smart.

There are also a couple of billion people alive today who would promptly starve to death if fossil fuels were banned, or even very strictly limited, as more than a few people loudly demand.

I was referring to the whole fossil fuels/energy "debate". But your interpretation is so much better. So +1 Internets for catching the spirit of my snide remark and making it something beautiful.

I resisted responding to the heckler so as to spare the Internet another dumb flame war about energy, and now I'm glad I did.

Engineers and IT folks are pretty conservative, if you take out the foreign born. Doctors were, but not so much now, more women and immigrants from pretty authoritarian countries.

Even the two guys I work with (IT) from (born and raised) California are right wing.

Factually incorrect. California spends less per student on education than Nebraska.

Innovation hubs originated in Defense Department R&D spending and grew through network effects. There's no political spin to be had here.

Not correct. You must be including grade school only and not higher education.

Give me the link to support your claim.

Since you didn't respond, let me give you the link to expenditures per pupil by state: You will notice that rural states (Alaska, Nebraska and North Dakota) have higher than southern counterparts, and still lower than, say, New York or New Jersey, and other blue states which are above southern and most rural states.

I will look for state expenditures for post-secondary education, if you persist.

Say what? Tom T. is correct.

Nebraska spending per pupil: $12,299
California spending per pupil: $11,495

That's directly from the source to which you linked.

JW, as I said, I pointed out the three rural states exceptions, and note that these have school buses to bring in students. This is expenditures by students. If you look at instructional expenditures you get a different picture, and three rural states does not a model make. Compare other rural states, southern states, and blue states. Go look at the graphs and tables again. In fact, everyone should.

Yikes and related,

Not only are data suspect, so is choice architecture at all levels.

50% is the difference between summer and winter as if consciousness is the sole invention of society or community or some artifact that you can dig up and hold your in your hand like a baseball or wear across your brow like a bandanna. Nor it is the peel of fruit you throw in the garbage bin or some treasure you lose on the day you shall perish. Its ingrained as much as the animal pretends to shiver.

Watch how many comments here will mistake correlation and causation. It always happens when these types of papers get posted. Worst part of any social science.

We identify a positive causal effect of healthy working environments on corporate innovation, using the staggered passage of U.S. state-level laws that ban smoking in workplaces.

In this case the healthy working environment is one where employees aren't thinking about and then going about taking a smoke break. In fact, non-smokers should be paid more than smokers because they don't spend a significant part of their day in the non-productivity of smoking and jawing with other smokers.

It can be argued that many non-smokers procrastinate in other ways (like I am doing right now atm). While smokers have a definitive way of taking a break and then going back to work. But that of course requires smokers to not procrastinate as well.

Your support is critical.

That and a cup of tea will bring Peace in the Middle East, or at least a photo op for both leaders.

My point is, there finally is an actionable, realistic plan at place if the Palestinian regimw really wants peace.

A troll about a "plan" that is itself nothing but a troll.

If it is a troll, why Mr. Netanyahu supports the plan? Why is he willing to partition Jerusalem? Don't get me wrong. I don't like Zionists either, but it is hard to blame them from the Palestinian rwfime's lack of interest in a just, lasting peace. At somw point, we must hold those thugs responsible for their actions.

It would be a good solution for the United States. Not 2, but many. Unfortunately Jackson and Lincoln made it politically uncorrect.

Hope never dies, though. In case of a 50%+ inflation for a few years to kill the debt, all options are on the table.

Bill and anonymous fail the Thiago Turing test.

Delete the thread

I tried using nicotine gum for a couple of years as a cognitive enhancer in a graduate program. I felt it did help me concentrate and produce better work. However, my skin aged a great deal and I experienced heart palpitations so I quit during a vacation break. Now, that I'm back in new semester, I do feel desire for nicotine while studying but I'm terrified of having heart palpitations again. Interestingly, I don't feel cravings for it when just reading or relaxing, only when I'm on deadline - like right now instead of buckling down I'm writing an online comment. The nicotine gum felt like it aided me in writing better and thinking more quickly and cogently over all. Be careful, I'm skeptical that the pro-nicotine work is being funded by tobacco companies so I would take the claims of health safety with grain of salt.

Nic is a major stimulant and definitely improves concentration. I smoked heavily through grad school. I've quit now for a long time. I find it harder to read for long periods especially new and highly technical material. But I don't think there are any other negs. I feel more inclined than ever to have unique and important insights into problems; but it's not clear that has anything to do with nic either way, just from accumulating knowledge mostly I think.

"We identify a positive causal effect of healthy working environments on corporate innovation, using the staggered passage of U.S. state-level laws that ban smoking in workplaces. "

wow -- it is impossible to demonstrate such a causal connection, as claimed.

It is stunning that any intelligent, educated people accept this nonsense at face value.

This is an unfortunate familiar tale. For the general public, which gets “curated” information—-and not for the better——the best response for most distributed studies is to not believe them. When one is interested in a topic the best thing to do is attempt one’s own curation. Look for other studies, read people you trust—etc. And, use common sense. I find that if some study has absurd premises ignore it——because it is likely wrong. I read that President Ike did not like Govt sponsored research. He believed it lead to biases. Not sure if that is true either. But, my general rule of thumb is to ignore studies which defy common sense.

FWIW, I've personally worked with companies that have developed new technologies suitable for patenting to serve the legalized marijuana industry. So, the second paper is unsurprising.

Deleted again. :>(

I think Mr. Tabarrok can not handle the truth.

Nicotine enhances concentration and memory a bit, but like stimulants probably decreases creativity. Marijuana likely stimulates creativity. If you want more patent you need creativity, not a bunch of slightly better focused drones. The latter, however, are good on the line once you get into production.

If dope induces creativity, why do stoners always just sit around watching TV and mowing chips?

I wonder if we would have won WW2 if soldiers' rations had included marijuana instead of cigarettes.

On the con for cigarettes, they're a stimulant, true, but cigarette smokers are jumpy and compulsive, unfocused and anxious when they're not smoking and really between cigs (as la Wiki puts it: "The temporarily increased cognitive levels of smokers after inhaling smoke are offset by periods of cognitive decline during nicotine withdrawal."). So I'm not sure they really helped at all.

On the pro side for pot in your counterfactual, THC concentrations were low compared to today, so it would not be as strong sedative or narcotic as we might think, and could serve a pain relief, which could have its uses when lots of what the army do is dull and arduous. (It's somewhat hilarious to think that a stereotype in the 1920s-1930s was of marijuana as leading to extremities of strength and violence.)

Also, neither of those are necessarily "pollution" unless we use the term so widely it's meaningless.

(People often eat marijuana.

Both weed and nicotine are widely available in inhalant forms that do not involve burning plant matter, and thus skip almost all traditional "pollution" effects from smoking.

And office full of smoke of any kind sounds bad for getting things done, but we haven't had those in corporate America in decades.)

I think the common thread is "smoke," though of course that's only one class of air pollution.

It would be interesting if burning different things (fossil fuels, buds, leaves) had such different positive and negative effects.

So don't trust studies with small margins.

I've never forgotten a story about a Russian doctor who advised his elderly patients to start smoking at age 70. His theory was that it takes 20 or 30 years for the cancerous plaques to start forming, and they'd most likely be dead by then anyway, but in the interim the nicotine staved off dementia. So my goal is two packs a day by 80.

Definite negative is the drug screening required of job applicants of most high-tech firms, like Baxter and Abbott Labs, and by military contractors as required by Nancy Reagan's Astrologer, in the USSA. It is notable that the leaders, Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook DO NOT require such, having indicated they would lose half their directors and officers like Steve Jobs. A designer in bombers, fighters, ICBMs, rockets, tank warfare, I've been having to tell Rockwell, Lockheed and the like to stop bothering me with job postings. I don't know how they manage to get any good employees in CO, CA, WA or IL.

There have been many times that I wished the company I worked for had drug testing. Hey if you want to sit around and write apps to parse Windows error messages, by all means, have a toke and chill. But if you're working with chemicals, equipment, or doing serious engineering, stay home if you're going to toke

Isn't more patents from banning smoking in workplaces a negative economic result?

Patents are used to reduce economic efficiency by idling factors of production through monopoly rent seeking and restricting production to drive up prices and profits, which reduces quantities demand/produced (a zero sum rule).

Note, the second most valuable global automaker obtains patents only defensively to establish prior art, then offers patents to all who do likewise. (Value defined based on Milton Friedman's theory, not Keynes.) Tesla's Elon Musk seeks more competition driving more production of carbon free energy production and consumption, and that is Keynesian policy, inconsistent with the current patent regime of restricting both competition and increased production of new carbon free products.

In regard to smoking in workplaces, the question is whether manufacturing in the US and other smoking ban places has gotten cleaner, as in clean room production.

Again, the indicators are contradictory in that Japan and China have high male smoker rates, but they have been more aggressive than the US in building clean room manufacturing facilities. The US is only decades after banning smoking recruiting high school students to manufacturing with the pitch "factories are not your father's dirty workplace any more".

But this might be merely indicative of the libertarian rule breaker ideology factory workers embrace: "no liberal elite rich bastard is going to tell me to not smoke in the clean room! "

Tabarrok's professed concern about air pollution is amusing and ironic given his passionate love for "beautiful" landscapes covered in wind turbines. In Germany, mass construction of wind turbines has made electricity prohibitively expensive, working class people have found it more economical to burn wood imported from the USA and as a result have air quality inferior to Australia's during the bush fires:

Even The Guardian smells something rotten:

But given Germany is a major wood pellet producer, perhaps we have to solve for equilibrium:

At any rate, we should not get too worked up about the particulates research that Tabarrok is so fond of citing. Kip Hansen provides a less credulous and more informed reading of the literature:

Given his previous pronouncements on the absence of economic costs to regulation and there being no, whatsoever, increase in administrative overhead in the USA college diploma selling industry, it is perhaps time to question if Tabarrok even wants anyone to take him seriously.

We live in a mechanized society. Keep on eye on car accidents.

I just don't see how any state policy can affect patent numbers. Patents are exclusively federal law, but these two examples involve changes to state laws. There is no relationship between the two.

Comments for this post are closed