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Abusing Federal Paid Leave

Nicole Kaeding Compensation for federal civilian employees is more generous than private-sector workers. Federal workers receive better benefits than their non-governmental counterparts in particular, and generous paid leave benefits are one of the federal advantages. Show More Summary

TFSAs Spur Canada Savings Revolution

Chris Edwards A tax reform is spurring a savings revolution in Canada. Amity Shlaes and I wrote about Canada’s Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) in the Wall Street Journal in August. We think that such accounts would be a fantastic policy reform for America. Show More Summary

OMB Director Sets a Low Bar for Deficit Reform

David Boaz Jonathan House reported [$] in the Wall Street Journal: The U.S. government’s budget deficit narrowed in its 2014 fiscal year to its lowest level in six years, as an improving economy boosted tax revenues. The annual deficit...Show More Summary

Las Vegas Is Ripe For Ridesharing

Matthew Feeney The regulations that govern taxis in the Las Vegas area impose especially heavy restrictions on consumer choice and driver availability. Such an environment is ideal for rideshare companies, which provide consumers with more choice and drivers with more flexibility. Show More Summary

Accuracy of Macroeconomic Forecasts

Chris Edwards One of my first professional jobs 25 years ago was with the economic forecasting firm DRI/McGraw-Hill. It was fun work, but I noticed that the firm’s gross domestic product forecasts with models hundreds of equations long...Show More Summary

The dangers of Google idealism

Julian Assange tells a fascinating tale about Schmidt and Google in Newsweek: Schmidt’s emergence as Google’s “foreign minister”—making pomp and ceremony state visits across geopolitical fault lines—had not come out of nowhere; it had been presaged by years of assimilation within U.S. Show More Summary

Updates on President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Record

Alex Nowrasteh Last May I wrote a blog post about President Obama’s immigration enforcement record. In that post I made some assumptions about the percentage of all “interior removals” (that is, deportations of illegal immigrants who...Show More Summary

The Continuing “Crisis”

Things are moving rapidly as the nation continues to respond to the Ebola “crisis.” Schools are closing (NYT). The military is in on the action, as CNN reports, “forming a 30-person “quick-strike team” equipped to provide direct treatment to Ebola patients inside the United States.” Most significant, President Obama has named an Ebola czar, Thomas […]

Now More Than Ever, Courts Should Police Administrative Agencies

Ilya Shapiro Under the Bush administration, the Labor Department interpreted a piece of the Fair Labor Standards Act as exempting mortgage-loan officers from eligibility for overtime pay. The Obama Labor Department didn’t see the law...Show More Summary

Should you donate to efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in west Africa?

The GiveWell people describe their ongoing investigation and the challenges: One fundamental issue is that we know too little about the relationship between “how much money is raised” and “what sort of response is possible”: it might...Show More Summary

The Risk of Ebola

Chairman Mao once remarked “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent.” It would appear that we are in a period of “utter chaos.” First, ISIS dominated the news. Now we have the Ebola “outbreak.” The situation is “excellent” from a political perspective precisely because crises (real or constructed) provide windows of […]

Links I liked

A Chrome extension that shows beautiful Google Earth pics in new tabs Star-Spangled Banner played by gun sounds. (I wonder if this will be on my citizenship test?) From Development Impact, a Stata command for graphing regression coefficients And via … Continue reading ? The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Changing American Views on Federalism

The Cato Institute has conducted a new poll of Americans’ attitudes toward federalism. Apparently Americans have become much more favorable to federalism and decentralization over the past 40 years. The Cato Institute commissioned YouGov for the poll. They asked respondents questions about which level of government should have primary control over each issue area, using […]

Links I liked

Coffitivity “recreates the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.” What the location of your capital city has to do with conflict risk A Christian woman rewrites Harry Potter, swapping wizards and magic for … Continue reading ? The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

What Manhattan apartment is furthest from the subway?

I would have said the folks on Avenue D, mainly because, over five years in Stuy Town, they complained a lot. I would be wrong. Source. In other New York news, it turns out that New Yorkers have really, really boring … Continue reading ? The post What Manhattan apartment is furthest from the subway? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Evidence that ethnic divisions are counterproductive. Literally.

Ray Fisman gets credit for the title, Jonas Hjort gets credit for his paper on how ethnic divisions on productivity: In team production at a plant in Kenya, an upstream worker supplies and distributes flowers to two downstream workers who assemble them into … Continue reading ? The post Evidence that ethnic divisions are counterproductive. Show More Summary

How to overcome writer’s block, by David Sedaris

Sometimes when I’m stuck, I’ll open an English textbook, and do the homework. There are a lot of college writing textbooks that will include essays and short stories, and after reading the story or essay, there will be questions such … Continue reading ? The post How to overcome writer’s block, by David Sedaris appeared first on Chris Blattman.

What does (European) schooling do to religious belief and practice?

A new paper from Pogorelova and Mocan: We exploit information on compulsory schooling reforms in 11 European countries, implemented in the 1960s and 70s, to identify the impact of education on religious adherence and religious practices. Show More Summary

Links I liked

What exactly is dry cleaning? (I actually did not know) xkcd on the IPhone predictive keypad The greatest books of all time, as voted by famous authors Everyone read this: Steven Pinker on why academic writing stinks This map of median … Continue reading ? The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Links I liked

1/3 of Americans think the government spends more on foreign aid than Social Security or interest on debt A very good article on the Ebola crisis in WashPo An important, understudied topic: overconfidence in political behavior A wearable camera drone that … Continue reading ? The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

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