Results for “dylan”
109 found

The 20 Greatest Songs About Work?

The list is here.  Number one is Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons,” followed by Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm.”  “Atlantic City” would not have been my Springsteen pick but overall the list is better than expected.  There is, however, an odd under-representation of folk music, see for instance this list.

Why are the service sectors underrepresented on such lists?  There is “Dr. Robert,” “Lawyers, Guns, and Money,” “Police and Thieves,” and many others from the more stagnant sectors of the economy, although arguably police productivity has risen quite a bit.

For the pointer I thank the estimable Chug.

Surnames and the laws of social mobility

Here is some new work by Gregory Clark (pdf):

What is the true rate of social mobility? Modern one-generation studies suggest considerable regression to the mean for all measures of status – wealth, income, occupation and education across a variety of societies. The β that links status across generations is in the order of 0.2-0.5. In that case inherited surnames will quickly lose any information about social status. Using surnames this paper looks at social mobility rates across many generations in England 1086-2011, Sweden, 1700-2011, the USA 1650-2011, India, 1870-2011, Japan, 1870-2011, and China and Taiwan 1700-2011. The underlying β for long-run social mobility is around 0.75, and is remarkably similar across societies and epochs. This implies that compete regression to the mean for elites takes 15 or more generations.

Here is NPR coverage:

“If I just know that you share a rare surname with someone who was wealthy in 1800, I can predict now that you’re nine times more likely to attend Oxford or Cambridge. You’re going to live two years longer than an average person in England. You’re going to have more wealth. You’re more likely to be a doctor. You’re more likely to be an attorney,” Clark says.

Dylan Matthews offers some charts.  For the pointer I thank Fred Rossoff.

The new Nobel Prize in literature odds

The Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami has emerged as the early favourite to win this year’s Nobel prize for literature.

The acclaimed author of titles including Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and, most recently, IQ84, Murakami has been given odds of 10/1 to win the Nobel by Ladbrokes.

Last year the eventual winner of the award, the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, was the betting firm’s second favourite to take the prize, given initial odds of 9/2 behind the Syrian poet Adonis, at 4/1. This year Adonis has slipped down the list, given odds of 14/1 alongside the Korean poet Ko Un and the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare.

New names in Ladbrokes list this year include the Chinese author Mo Yan and the Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom, both coming in with strong odds of 12/1 to win the Nobel prize.


Britain’s strongest contender for the Nobel this year, which goes to “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”, is – according to Ladbrokes – Ian McEwan, who comes in at 50/1, behind the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, at 33/1. American novelist Philip Roth is at 16/1, alongside his compatriot Cormac McCarthy, the Israeli author Amos Oz and the highest-placed female writer, the Italian Dacia Maraini.

The article is here.

“Getting a good meal in D.C. requires some ruthless economics”

This piece is by me, in The Washington Post.  Here is one bit:

The key is to hit these restaurants in the “sweet spot” of their cycle of rise and fall. At any point in time Washington probably has five to 10 excellent restaurants; they just don’t last very long at their highest levels of quality.

Here’s how it works. A new chef opens a place or a well-known chef comes to town and starts up a branch. Good reviews are essential to get the place off the ground, and so they pull out all stops to make the opening three months, or six months, special. And it works. In today’s world of food blogs, Twitter and texting, the word gets out quickly.

…Through information technology, we have speeded up the cycle of the rise and fall of a restaurant. Once these places become popular, their obsession with quality slacks off. They become socializing scenes, the bars fill up with beautiful women (which attracts male diners uncritically), and they become established as business and power broker spots. Their audiences become automatic. The transients of Washington hear about where their friends are going, but they are less likely to know about the hidden gem patronized by the guy who has been hanging around for 23 years, and that in turn means those gems are less likely to exist in the first place.

In economic terms, think of this as a quest for the thick market externalities.  Search and monitoring are most intense in the early stages of a restaurant’s life, and so that is the best time to go.  There is an analogy in music: Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry do not always give the very best concerts, because they do not have to.  You may or may not like up-and-coming bands, but at least they will be trying very hard.

The full article is here.

Richard Clarida, FOMC nominee

Here is his Wikipedia page.  Here is some bio.  Here is his 1999 survey on monetary policy.  Here is Google Scholar.  He is a very wise and very accomplished economist.  Here is his piece on what we’ve learned about monetary policy in the last decade, with special reference to the liquidity trap and zero bound.  Excerpt:

According to monetary theory, central banks have at least two powerful – and complementary – tools to reflate a depressed economy: printing money and supporting the nominal price of public and private debt. As Bernanke (2002) himself argues, a determined central bank can deploy both tools for as long as it wants regardless of 1) how credible its commitment is and 2) how expectations are formed or 3) how term or default premia are determined. There are two fundamental questions. First, can these tools, aggressively deployed, eventually generate sufficient expectations of inflation so that they lower real interest rates? Forward looking models generally predict that the answer is yes. However, the interplay between monetary policy and the yield curve can become complex when central banks are at the zero lower bound (Bhansali et. al. 2009) and central banks seek to provide a “deflation put.”

Also, as discussed above, given the prominent role that inflation expectations play in inflation dynamics, inflation inertia is the enemy of reflation once deflation sets in. A second question relates to the monetary transmission mechanism itself. In a neoclassical world that abstracts from financial frictions, a sufficiently low, potentially negative real interest rate can trigger a large enough inter-temporal shift in consumption and investment to close even a large output gap. But in a world where financial intermediation is essential, an impairment in intermediation – a credit crunch – can dilute or even negate the impact of real interest rates on aggregate demand. In the limiting case of a true liquidity trap, no level of the real interest rate is sufficient in and of itself to close the output gap and reflate the economy. Credit markets in the U.S. appear at this writing to be bifurcated.

There is more to say about Clarida but I have to run to dinner and the theater!

Basically I see it as that Obama and Bernanke have chosen two academics — two guys who think monetary policy really works, or at least can really work.  Odds are, they are Ben’s guys, and in my view that is good news.  By the way, Clarida I believe is a Republican.

Addendum: Dylan Matthews has good remarks.

*Listen to This*

She [Mitsuko Uchida] tells of how she once tried to get [Radu] Lupu to visit Marlboro.  "I got every excited, describing how people do nothing but play music all day long.  But he said no.  His explanation was very funny. "Mitsuko," he said, "I don't like music as much as you."

That's from the new book on music by Alex Ross.  It's not a comprehensive tour de force like The Rest is Noise was, but it is smart and well-written on every page and if you liked the first book you should buy and read the second.  The portraits cover, among others, Radiohead, Bjork, John Luther Adams, Marian Anderson, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and Uchida.  The chapter on Bob Dylan is especially good and it eclipses Sean Wilentz's entire recent book on Dylan.

Serial hyperspecializers, and how they think

The highly-regarded-but-still undervalued Elijah Millgram has a paper on this topic, and he seems to be preparing a book.  Here is one good short bit:

So one reasonable strategy for a hyperspecializer will be to divide its energies between activities that don't share standards and methods of assessment, and let's abbreviate that to the fuzzier, problematic, but more familiar word, "values." It will be a normal side effect of pursuing the parallel hyperspecialization strategy that its values are incommensurable. The hedonic signals that guide reallocation of resources between niches do not require that niche-bound desires or goals or standards be comparable across niches. If you are a serial (and so, often a parallel) hyperspecializer, incommensurability in your values turns out not to be a mark of practical irrationality, or even an obstacle to full practical rationality, but rather, the way your evaluative world will look to you, when you are doing your practical deliberation normally and successfully. Evaluative incommensurability is a threat to the sort of rationality suitable for Piltdown Man. Serial hyperspecializers gravitate towards and come equipped for incommensurability.

Here is a good review of Millgram's latest book, which argues, among other things, that truth is messy in nature.

Adam Phillips serves up a Bob Dylan quotation: "I have always admired people who have left behind them an incomprehensible mess."

Assorted links

1. Update on gaming the Massachusetts mandate, and more here.

2. When professors get their politics: early.

3. Steve Landsburg's influential books list; he mentions that Parfit is the book most frequently cited by others.

4. Labor hoarding is in decline.

5. China blocks Bob Dylan tour.

6. Literature on analytical anarchism.

7. The obesity epidemic began earlier than we used to think.

8. Bloggingheads TV: Glenn Loury and Ross Levine.

My favorite guitarists

"Ar" wants to know who they are.  When I was young I studied guitar for seven years (multiple styles), so it's an area I've long had an interest in.  I was never very good but I learned a lot about it.  Here goes:

Classical: Segovia, Eduardo Fernandez.  I enjoy the transcriptions of Yamashita and Larry Coryell's covers of Stravinsky, though he isn't usually considered a classical guitarist.

Jazz: Django Reinhardt, Joe Pass's Virtuoso album, Wes Montgomery live (no strings), and George van Eps.  Charlie Christian deserves a mention.  Today, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and the guy who plays for Trio Saudade.  There are plenty of others, including Jim Hall and John McLaughlin.

John Fahey-Leo Kottke: They deserve their own category and indeed they dominate it.  For Kottke try 6 and 12-String Guitar Music, and then his 1981 Guitar Music.  For Fahey try the 1959-1977 Greatest Hits collection.  This is some of my favorite music.

Electric blues: Muddy Waters, Robert Cray (live), Johnny Winter (live only).  Amadou of Amadou and Miriam.  The player from Orchestra Baobab.  Does Lonnie Mack count here?

Acoustic blues: Reverand Gary Davis, Son House and many others.  Jorma Kaukonen also.  Bob Dylan is much underrated in this area.  Can Richard Thompson go here?  d'Gary, from Madagascar, is one of the greatest and most original guitarists that few people have heard of.  Bola Sete too, from Brazil.

Bluegrass: Clarence White and also Doc Watson.

Rock: Jimmy Page, Brian May, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, of course Jimi Hendrix as #1.  van Halen and his ilk never much impressed me.

Les Paul deserves mention but he straddles a few of these categories, as does Chet Atkins.  Hawaiian guitar deserves its own post.  Dick Dale.  The Carnatic slide guitar players, including Bhattacharya.  Roger McGuinn.  The Zairean tradition, including Franco.  Neil Young has his moments, as does Thurston Moore.

Eric Clapton was impressive for a while but overall I wish to be contrarian and leave him off.  Who am I forgetting?  Duane Allman?

In general guitar is an instrument which works relatively well on YouTube.  Most of the names above can be found there.

Obama’s iPod

Thank you all for your contributions, here is my new insight into Obama, it won’t be new for long:

said that, growing up, he listened to Elton John and Earth, Wind &
Fire but that Stevie Wonder was his ultimate musical hero during the
70s. The Stones’ track Gimme Shelter topped his favourite songs from the band. His
selection also contained 30 songs from Dylan. "One of my favourites
[for] the political season is [Dylan’s] Maggie’s Farm. It speaks to me
as I listen to some of the political rhetoric."

…The jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker were also included…

The worship of Dylan and Wonder and be-bop jazz is consistent with my view of him as a detached, universalist cosmopolitan.