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What’s the Hardest Part of Being a PhD Student?

I was asked this this question on Quora. Here’s my answer: Writing an original dissertation. Anyone who makes it into graduate school has had at least 16 years of learning and, as a result, most graduate students are good learners. A dissertation, however, requires the creation or discovery of new knowledge. On the day you finish your […]

Those Who Write for Immortality

Joshua Rothman writes in The New Yorker about a new book by H.J. Jackson, on the romantic poets: Truly long-term literary endurance depends, Jackson writes, on “regular reinterpretation,” and, for that to happen, your writing has to be rich and multi-dimensional. That doesn’t mean, though, that other factors can’t help it along. Thanks to Wordsworth’s […]

Hair analysis on trial after FBI admits to using flawed evidence

he FBI has admitted that flawed evidence was accepted in nearly all of the trials that took place over the 1980s and 90s. Is hair analysis still any use at all?

“A good start…”

Mike Irvine is set to make a splash in the dry world of academe. The University of Victoria student is getting ready to defend his masters thesis in education from below the surface of the Salish Sea off the coast of British Columbia. And lest you think he’s not taking his thesis defense seriously, he’ll be wearing a […]

Conference video from the Coase conference

The link is here, more or less unedited I am told.  Somewhere in there (Saturday, 11 a.m.) is a panel with myself, Kenneth Arrow, Sam Peltzman, Gary Libecap and others on how academia and publishing models are evolving. There are very likely other good bits too, but I did not catch most of the conference.  […]

Monday assorted links

1. How much is a dinosaur worth? 2. Session-by-session videos from the Coase conference, including myself, Sam Peltzman, and Kenneth Arrow on the future of the economics profession. 3. Evidence for ZMP labor. 4. The creeping success of the ruble in eastern Ukraine. 5. Various negative claims about Cornel West. 6. Data is the new […]

Declining Desire to Work and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation

That is the next (and for me final) NBER paper from the macro workshop, by Barnichon and Figura, the pdf is here.  Their main claim is quite startling, and very important if true.  Here is the abstract: The US labor market has witnessed two apparently unrelated trends in the last 30 years:a decline in unemployment […]

What does Robin Hanson think is the most likely “Great Filter”?

Here is a long and excellent post, whereby Robin outs himself as a strange kind of environmentalist.  Do need the whole thing, but here is one summary excerpt: So, bottom line, the future great filter scenario that most concerns me is one where our solar-system-bound descendants have killed most of nature, can’t yet colonize other […]

Does immigration enforcement reduce crime?

No.  From Thomas J. Miles and Adam B. Cox in the JLE: Prior research investigates whether immigrants commit more crimes than native-born people. Yet the central policy used to regulate immigration — detention and deportation — has received little empirical evaluation. This article studies a recent policy innovation called Secure Communities. This program permits the […]

Slovenia (Greece) fact of the day

From The Slovenia Times: “Our exposure to Greece is 2.7% of GDP, which was in a year after we had a 8% fall in GDP and when we had to slash pay and economise in all areas.” This is why Slovenia will insist on Greece continuing with the restructuring and continuing to meet its obligations […]

Saturday assorted links

1. Views of Brad DeLong. 2. The development of Mexican-Chinese fusion food. 3. Ambedkar as an economist. 4. If anything, rising inequality seems to have turned voters against redistribution. 5. Kling’s three laws. 6. Why do firms even compete at all?  And Matt Levine on the same.  And Matthew Klein from the FT.

How much political capital is inside the IMF?

Let’s say that you and a casual friend meet for lunch two or three times a year, but otherwise have little contact.  One day you would say to the friend “let’s become Batman and Robin and fight violent crime together in Gotham City, trusting our lives to each other along the way.  We’ve built up […]

Networks and the Macroeconomy

That is the next NBER macro session, the authors are Acemoglu, Akcigit, and Kerr, the pdf is here, and here is the abstract: The propagation of macroeconomic shocks through input-output and geographic networks can be a powerful driver of macroeconomic fluctuations. We first exposit that in the presence of Cobb-Douglas production functions and consumer preferences, […]

To the Edge

That is the new Philip A. Wallach book and the subtitle is Legality, Legitimacy, and the Responses to the 2008 Financial Crisis.  Philip is one of the underrated up-and-coming young policy economists, and this book focuses on the financial crisis and the law.  It is original, a rare quality for books on the crisis at […]

Demystifying the Chinese housing boom

That is the next NBER macro paper at these sessions, by Fang, Gu, Xiong, and Zhou, here is the pdf.  The abstract is this: We construct housing price indices for 120 major cities in China in 2003-2013 based on sequential sales of new homes with the same housing developments. By using these indices and detailed […]

How Bad is the Minnesota Turkey Epidemic?

Unless you are living in a chicken coop, you have probably heard about the Turkey Crisis in Minnesota and surrounding upper plains/midwestern states. Every few days we hear more news: Millions of farmed turkeys are being put down in one turkey farm after another, because the farm’s turkeys are infested with the H5N2 bird flu.…

Lists of Types of Mania and Melancholy, Compiled for Early-19th-Century Doctors 

The Vault is Slate's history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here. These lists of types of mania and melancholy appear in the 1817 handbook The Philadelphia Medical Dictionary (available on the Internet Archive, via the U.S. Show More Summary

First There Is A Mountain

When I'm feeling stressed out, I head for nature. I found myself driving to Old Rag Mountain in Virginia's Shenandoah range this weekend. I've done a few amazing hikes in this region: Mary's Rock, Catoctin, Hawksbill, Big Schloss, sometimes with others and sometimes alone. Show More Summary

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