What I Have Been Reading (Alex)

The Economics of Small Things–An Indian economist in the United States offers a sweet and gentle introduction to economics drawn from his personal and professional life. I enjoyed many of the essays though I have to disagree with one–it makes a difference whether you go to the mangoes or the mangoes come to you as Tyler and I showed!

Wretched Refuse?: The Political Economy of Immigration and Institutions–Kudos to Nowrasteh and Powell for doing the work that critics of immigration have never done–that is, actually test for the effect of immigration on culture and cohesion. I can do no better than quote The Economist, “Wretched Refuse?” is… full of charts and regression analysis. It is also highly original, and takes a chainsaw to the most intellectually respectable case against immigration. No serious economist denies that when people move from poor countries to rich ones, they become more productive and their wages soar. It seems likely, therefore, that more migration would make the world much richer. However, some scholars think that too large an influx from, say, Congo to Canada would make Canada more like Congo—ie, the immigrants would import Congolese habits, and gradually make Canadian institutions more like the corrupt and lawless ones that keep Congo poor. Yet remarkably little effort has been made to test this hypothesis. Messrs Nowrasteh and Powell do so as rigorously as they can.”

The Infinite Machine–I was disappointed in this history of Ethereum. It doesn’t try to explain any of the technical details of Ethereum which is ok but it also doesn’t go into great detail on the personalities, leaving one with a journalistic history of what happened with some short glosses on the people.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz–As the bombs fall on London, Churchill struggles to increase the production of aircraft, to diplomatically bring the United States into the war, to hold his government together even as British forces are defeated abroad. Meanwhile his teenage daughter falls in love, his son deals with a gambling problem and divorce and his aide looks for a wife. The Splendid and the Vile is a tremendous story of Churchill’s first year in office based on meticulous research and told at a thrilling, breakneck pace. A great read at any time. A poignant and apt read now.

Causal Inference: The Mixtape–an excellent introduction to causal inference. The Mixtape marks the beginning of the DAG era in econometrics.


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