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Labor union sentences to ponder

to raise labor share, unions have to decrease markups or the cost of capital; don’t see evidence or mechanism there That is from A Macroeconomist, on Twitter.  A union which simply grabs for more from the employer will raise marginal cost and induce an offsetting boost in the price, restoring capital’s share (to some degree, […]

Sweet Briar will close

I used to think it was a decent enough school, and now: Sweet Briar College announced today that it is shutting down at the end of this academic year. Small colleges close or merge from time to time, more frequently since the economic downturn started in 2008. But the move is unusual in that Sweet […]

Bibi vs. Frost

Benjamin H. Friedman There is a lot to say about Israeli Prime Minster’s Benjamin Netanyahu’ speech to Congress today. I could object to his use of worst case scenarios and overstatements of Iranian power. Instead I’m taking issue with his treatment of Robert Frost’s The Road Less Traveled. Show More Summary

Obama Police Task Force Report Includes Worrying Recommendation

Matthew Feeney Yesterday, President Obama met with the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which on the same day released an interim report outlining dozens of recommendations related to how policing can be improved. The report wasShow More Summary

Tuesday assorted links

1. The New Rambler, a new book review journal, edited by Eric Posner, Arian Vermeule, and Blakey Vermeule, looks very good plus I owe them a review. 2. Toulouse School of Economics magazine (pdf). 3. WaPo covers the best places to visit internationally, now that the dollar is stronger. 4. How much did ATMs displace […]

Ricardo Hausmann on Greece and austerity

So the problem is not that austerity was tried and failed in Greece. It is that, despite unprecedented international generosity, fiscal policy was completely out of control and needed major adjustments. Insufficient spending was never an issue. From 1998 to 2007, Greece’s annual per capita GDP growth averaged 3.8%, the second fastest in Western Europe, […]

Eating pizza makes America more Republican

Possibly the best pie chart ever: The article is at Bloomberg News, and the hat tip goes to @_cingraham. The short answer is that Democratic lawmakers apparently regard pizza, soda, and french fires as the nutritional axis of evil. The post Eating pizza makes America more Republican appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Long Range Bomber’s Big Bill

Nicole Kaeding Over the next several months the Pentagon will award the contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber. If the Department of Defense’s history repeats itself, cost overruns on the project seem likely. According to 2010 estimates each new plane is officially expected to cost $550 million. Show More Summary

Bottom 90% Pretax Pretransfer Income is no Proxy for Median After-Tax Income

Alan Reynolds This graph illustrates a few points made in my recent Wall Street Journal article. First of all, the Piketty & Saez mean average of bottom 90% incomes per tax unit is not a credible proxy for median household income, particularly...Show More Summary

“These were people who believed their own PowerPoint presentations.”

I asked Todd Moss for a (more or less) politically authentic thriller, and he recommended David Igantius’ Body of Lies. The thought of returning to CIA headquarters was depressing. It wasn’t the flat, linoleum feel of the place, or the … Continue reading ? The post “These were people who believed their own PowerPoint presentations.” appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Open English Borders

I am in favor of open borders for economic and moral reasons. It’s not crazy, however, to be concerned about some of the potential consequences of immediately opening borders between countries with very different income levels, culture or history. It is crazy, however, to fear opening borders between countries with similar income levels, culture and history. […]

Soumission — Submission — Entwerfung

The only version of the new Houllebecq novel I can read now is the one in German, Entwerfung., as the English edition does not come out until September.   I am about halfway through and can report it is excellent and a fun read as well, most of all when it makes fun of the vulnerabilities […]

Does playing video games make you smarter?

It’s in an economics journal, so it must be true.   Agne Suziedelyte reports, from Economic Inquiry: According to the literature, video game playing can improve such cognitive skills as problem solving, abstract reasoning, and spatial logic. I test this hypothesis using the data from the Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. […]

If You Want Good Fiscal Policy, Forget the Balanced Budget Amendment and Pursue Spending Caps

Daniel J. Mitchell Back in 2012, I shared some superb analysis from Investor’s Business Daily showing that the United States never would have suffered $1 trillion-plus deficits during Obama’s first term if lawmakers had simply exercised a modest bit of spending restraint beginning back in 1998. And the IBD research didn’t assume anything onerous. Show More Summary

U.S. Aid Empowering Organized Crime in Mexico

Juan Carlos Hidalgo Two weeks ago I had an article in The National Interest where I made the case against the Obama administration’s proposal to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Central American governments to help them fight organized crime, promote security and foster economic development. Show More Summary

17 Errors & Omissions in Vox's Otherwise Excellent History of King v. Burwell

Michael F. Cannon This week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, one of four legal challenges to an IRS regulation that purports to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but in fact vastly expands the IRS’s powers beyond the limits imposed by the Act. Show More Summary

Talk in NYC March 5: Evidence 4 Peace

3ie has been analyzing the universe of rigorous impact evaluations on peacebuilding and conflict, to identify gaps. They’ll present results Thursday in NYC, and invitation/RSVP information is below. Open to all. I will be a discussant. To spark interest, here’s … Continue reading ? The post Talk in NYC March 5: Evidence 4 Peace appeared first on Chris Blattman.

After Eight Years of Losses, End the Government’s Postal Monopoly

Doug Bandow The United States Postal Service lost $5.5 billion last year. That is the eighth annual loss in a row and the third highest ever. The only good news is that it remains below the red ink tsunami of $15.9 billion in 2012. Why...Show More Summary

Ignoring the Evidence Doesn't Make It Disappear

Jason Bedrick If a study shows the benefits of school choice, but you don’t read it, does it really exist? Apparently not, at least according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), an organization ideologically committed to opposing school choice. Show More Summary

Monday assorted links

1. Myths about Bitcoin and the block chain.  And a decentralized lie detector.  And faster now! (with lasers). 2. Will be Brazil be seeing a resurgent free market movement? 3. The origins of dishonesty. 4. For which major religion is the work ethic strongest? 5. “What was even the point of websites? Were they just […]

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