Month: December 2021
I will be doing a Conversation with him — so what should I ask?
Stewart is difficult to summarize (a virtue!), but if you wish here is his Wikipedia page.
Collective consensual judgments made via group interactions were more utilitarian than individual judgments.
Group discussion did not change the individual judgments indicating a normative conformity effect.
Individuals consented to a group judgment that they did not necessarily buy into personally.
Collectives were less stressed than individuals after responding to moral dilemmas.
Interactions reduced aversive emotions (e.g., stressed)associated with violation of moral norms.
Between 2011 and 2014, Texas enacted three pieces of legislation that significantly reduced funding for family planning services and increased restrictions on abortion clinic operations. Together this legislation creates cross-county variation in access to abortion and family planning services, which we leverage to understand the impact of family planning and abortion clinic access on abortions, births, and contraceptive purchases. In response to these policies, abortions to Texas residents fell 20.5%and births rose 2.6% in counties that no longer had an abortion provider within 50 miles. Changes in the family planning market induced a 1.5% increase in births for counties that no longer had a publicly funded family planning clinic within 25 miles. Meanwhile, responses of retail purchases of condoms and emergency contraceptives to both abortion and family planning service changes were minimal.
That is an NBER paper from 2017 by Stefanie Fischer and Corey White.
For the next three days I am likely away from internet access. There will be MR posts, but at a lower volume than usual. Fear not (or if you email me and I don’t respond), normal activity will resume soon enough. In the meantime I am just fine.
Pelosi, asked today if lawmakers and their spouses should be barred from trading stocks, gave a firm “no”: “This is a free market, we are a free market economy; they should be able to participate in that.”
Here is the link, via a loyal MR reader.
1. Krugman on inflation (NYT).
2. Adam Gopnik on Get Back (New Yorker).
3. Where Chile stands (FT).
6. “We theorize that East Asians (e.g., ethnic Chinese)—but not South Asians (e.g., ethnic Indians)—are less likely than other ethnicities to emerge as leaders in multiethnic environments partly because East Asians socialize more with ethnic ingroup members (other East Asians). Analyzing a survey of 54,620 Juris Doctor (JD) students from 124 U.S. law schools, Study 1 revealed that East Asians had the highest ethnic homophily of all ethnicities.” Link here.
A strong statement from Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University, against the worst form of political correctness.
In recent years, excessive monetization of football and professionalism among the players have been argued to have affected the quality of the match in different ways. On the one hand, playing football has become a high-income profession and the players are highly motivated; on the other hand, stronger teams have higher incomes and therefore afford better players leading to an even stronger appearance in tournaments that can make the game more imbalanced and hence predictable. To quantify and document this observation, in this work, we take a minimalist network science approach to measure the predictability of football over 26 years in major European leagues. We show that over time, the games in major leagues have indeed become more predictable. We provide further support for this observation by showing that inequality between teams has increased and the home-field advantage has been vanishing ubiquitously. We do not include any direct analysis on the effects of monetization on football’s predictability or therefore, lack of excitement; however, we propose several hypotheses which could be tested in future analyses.
That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one bit:
One major factor: The poor is the socioeconomic group that finds it hardest to purchase a home, and real estate seems to be one of the best inflation hedges. U.S. real estate prices have been on a tear for some time, including through the recent inflationary period…
The poor also save less, including as a share of their incomes, because they have to spend a relatively large percentage of their incomes on necessities. That means they have smaller buffers against many kinds of changes and uncertainties, including those of inflation.
Some researchers have referred to inflation as a “regressive consumption tax,” because cash balances are so often the pathway to consumption for poorer income groups. Poorer individuals also are less likely to have cash management accounts and other asset holdings that might partially insulate them from the losses of inflation.
Probably the strongest argument in favor of the notion that the poor are less affected by inflation is that inflation can, under some circumstances, lower the real value of debt. If prices go up 7%, and your income goes up 7%, all of a sudden your debts — which typically are fixed in nominal value — are worth 7% less.
This mechanism is potent, but it assumes that real wages keep pace with inflation. Right now real wages are falling, and with higher inflation may continue to do so. Furthermore, many poor people roll over their debts for longer periods of time. Repaying those debts will eventually be cheaper in inflation-adjusted terms, but not anytime soon.
I’ve been focusing on the U.S., but elsewhere in the world the general correlation is that high inflation and high income inequality go together. Correlation is not causation, but those are not numbers helpful to anyone who wishes to argue that inflation is a path to greater income equality. Have very high levels of inflation done much for the poor in Venezuela and Zimbabwe? And if you ask which group would benefit from an improvement in living standards prompted by higher rates of investment, as might follow from a period of stability — it is the poor, not the wealthy.
There is further content at the link.
Unfortunately, if there’s one major shortcoming of our existing scientific institutions, it’s speed. In the earliest days of the pandemic, as researchers raced to understand COVID-19 and test ideas for response, a group of outsider philanthropists stepped up to create Fast Grants for quick-turnaround financial resources for new questions and ideas. The program did more than just fund projects, it showed that there was a more effective, less bureaucratic way to support scientists…
We are in the business of supporting entrepreneurial scientists and we are in agreement that the major impediments are the obvious limitations of decision-making by committee. We’re trying something different. FootPrint Coalition is funding early research in brand new environmental fields, and doing it under the direction of esteemed Science Leads who can move quickly and fund at their discretion. The FootPrint Coalition Science Engine builds off suggestions made in the Funding Risky Research paper. It operationalizes the “loose-play funding for early-stage risky explorations” but doesn’t bind it to universities.
We’re doing it “in public” on the Experiment funding platform, a website for crowdfunding science research projects, so anyone can participate as a cofunder.
I am delighted to see so many philanthropic experiments in the works. And yes it is that Robert Downey…
1. The NBA’s Covid dilemma. I don’t think they will do it.
And what would Lysander Spooner say?:
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said the two-week rule for vaccinated close contacts was under constant review.
When Shaun Ferguson was browsing the plants at a local nursery last Tuesday afternoon, he never thought it would land him in two weeks quarantine in a medi-hotel.
That night he received the text message that no one wants to receive.
“At about 11.30 that night I got a text message from SA Health saying that I’d been to a potential exposure site for the Omicron strain,” Mr Ferguson said…
There were three other people on the bus with him, including a woman who had also visited the pet and plant shop in Glengowrie.
“She said, ‘I never go anywhere, I’m fully vaccinated … I just decided I’d go there and get this cat brush and now look what happens. I’m in quarantine,'” Mr Ferguson said.
There is much more to the story, and for the pointer I thank A.
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Arc is a nonprofit research organization founded on the belief that many important scientific programs can be enabled by new organizational models. Arc operates in partnership with Stanford University, UCSF, and UC Berkeley.
Arc gives scientists no-strings-attached, multi-year funding, so that they don’t have to apply for external grants, and invests in the rapid development of experimental and computational technological tools.
As individuals, Arc researchers collaborate across diverse disciplines to study complex diseases, including cancer, neurodegeneration, and immune dysfunction. As an organization, Arc strives to enable ambitious, long-term research agendas.
Arc’s mission is to accelerate scientific progress, understand the root causes of disease, and narrow the gap between discoveries and impact on patients.
Here is the audio and video and transcript. Here is part of the CWT summary:
Ray joined Tyler to discuss the forces that will affect American life in the coming decades, why we should be skeptical of the saliency of current equities prices, the market as a poker game, the benefits and risks of the US dollar as the world reserve currency, why he thinks US inflation will not be transitory, the key to his success as an investor, how studying the Great Depression enabled him to anticipate the 2008 financial crisis, Bridgewater’s culture of radical transparency, the usefulness of psychometric profiles, where the United States is falling short most in terms of moral character, his truth-seeking process, the kinds of education crucial to building a successful dynasty or empire — and what causes them to fail, how transcendental meditation helps him be creative and objective, what he loves about jazz music, what we undervalue about the ocean, why he loves bow-hunting Cape Buffalo, and more.
Here is one excerpt:
COWEN: If we think about macroeconomic cycles, Christina Romer claims a lot of downturns are the result of Fed contractions. Jim Hamilton claims that some downturns are the result of high oil price shocks, and you have a theory of debt cycles. If you’re just trying to apportion out mentally, how many of the cycles are Fed contractionary shocks? How many are oil shocks? How many are debt cycles? How do you see that landscape?
DALIO: I think that there’s goods and services that exist in a certain quantity, and then there’s a certain amount of money and credit, and they interact. And throughout history, if you have, let’s say, an oil shock that is not accommodated by an easing of central bank policy — in other words, the production of more money and credit — then, what I’m saying, if there was the same money and credit and you had an oil shock, then as oil goes up, something else would have to go down, and it would produce one set of circumstances.
It wouldn’t produce the same inflation. It would produce a consequence, and it would produce a transfer of wealth for those who are selling the oil at a high price — they gain wealth. And it would produce a decrease in the wealth for those who are having to pay that higher price. For example, it would make Middle Eastern countries richer, and it would make American companies and American entities poorer. That’s what would happen in a world in which we were to look at those items, and that certainly can cause a downturn in the economy.
Similarly now, where you can print money and credit, you can create money and credit, and it could have its effects. But to answer your question about do oil shocks or Fed policy have an effect? The answer is both because, for other reasons, the tightening of money and credit reduces demand for things, and as a result of reducing the demand for things, it weakens the economy.
Both an oil price shock or some other shock or a Federal Reserve tightening can cause the economy to weaken. That’s the answer to your question. Then it would have different implications, depending on whether the central banks provided more or less money and credit.
There is much more at the link! And if you would like to donate to support Conversations with Tyler, here is the link.
The author is Jimmy Soni, and the subtitle is The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley.
It is illuminating on start-ups, the earlier history of Silicon Valley, and it is a fair treatment of Peter Thiel. It is an actual history of the company, based on a great deal of information, rather than a polemic on tech or the company’s founders.