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On Eve of Scottish Vote, Another Look at Capital Markets

Unless the polls are systematically biased or there is a late-breaking surge in support for “Yes,” the “No” campaign looks set to squeak by with a narrow victory in the Scottish independence referendum. On the betting markets, a “Yes” vote has plunged below an implied probability of 20%. What has this decline in the prospects […]

Columbia extends its wealth tax

Colombia is one of the world’s most unequal societies. Last week, the government of Juan Manuel Santos, who began his second term as president in August, announced the extension of a wealth tax introduced in 2002 to pay for the mounting costs of the country’s 50 year drug-fuelled guerrilla war. “In that sense, we are […]

What’s the effect of TOMS shoes on local development?

A new paper from Wydick, Katz and Janet: We carry out a cluster randomized trial among 979 households in rural El Salvador to test whether shoe donations exhibit negative impacts on local shoe markets. Households in half of our communities … Continue reading ? The post What’s the effect of TOMS shoes on local development? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Scottish Independence Will Kill Socialism on Both Sides of the Border

Marian L. Tupy Much has been said about the impact of Scottish independence on British politics. With the predominantly socialist parliamentarians from Scotland gone, the Conservative Party would likely come to dominate British politics for the foreseeable future. Show More Summary

Cutting Business Property Taxes to Improve Competitiveness

Chris Edwards Tax Foundation has released a study comparing country tax codes. The “International Tax Competitiveness Index” by Kyle Pomerleau and Andrew Lundeen found that “the United States has the 32nd most competitive tax systemShow More Summary

Why don’t we have more free trade?

I remain amazed that we have as much free trade as we do.  Here is from a recent Pew poll: President Barack Obama and other world leaders are having a tough time selling the benefits of the trade agreements they’re negotiating, in part because much of the public thinks all the talk about trade’s benefits […]

Creative ambiguity, Scottish independence, and sudden death

Many political unions subsist on creative ambiguity.  That is, if the right question were posed, and the citizenry forced to answer it definitely, political order might spin out of control. Canada, Belgium, and indeed the entire European Union seem to be organized on this basis.  It’s not quite that everyone thinks they are getting their […]

Decrying "Wishful Science" on NPR(!)

Patrick J. Michaels Global Science Report is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.” — First, a disclaimer. Show More Summary

German Uber Ban Lifted

Matthew Feeney Today, a court in Frankfurt lifted the temporary ban on Uber’s ride-sharing service imposed at the beginning of this month. Judges were reportedly sympathetic to the claim brought by Taxi Deutschland, an association of taxi dispatchers. Show More Summary

Should a restaurant require prepayment for meals?

This I found in a Quora forum on prepaid meals in China: We’ve actually experimented with prepaid vs postpaid meals in our restaurant. The verdict? Upfront payment increased table turnover by over 80%. The difference is that customers who haven’t paid can justify their occupation of a table. They surf facebook. They chat away for […]

Grenade Launchers: The Newest Must-Have School Supply

Jason Bedrick The Wall Street Journal reports [$] today that government-run schools are stocking up on military surplus equipment—including M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, and even multi-ton armored vehicles—through a controversial federal...Show More Summary

Links I liked

For a Sierra Leonean spin on the ice bucket challenge: the bucket shower challenge What’s the effect of manufacturing growth on Bangladeshi women? Emily Oster on how to bound your observational causal effects for omitted variable bias (this is very useful … Continue reading ? The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

The Disappointing Continuing Resolution

Nicole Kaeding The House of Representatives is set to vote on a continuing resolution (CR) tomorrow to fund the federal government until December 11, 2014. A CR is stop-gap measure often used when the parties and chambers cannot agree on a full-year budget. The CR package, as presented in draft form, is disappointing. Show More Summary

Share Better Coalition Takes Aim at Airbnb

Matthew Feeney Airbnb, which allows for homeowners to temporarily rent some or all of their property, is the target of “Share Better,” a New York City-based campaign group launched last Friday which claims that the company worsens the...Show More Summary

Assorted links

1. First 3-D printed car? (speculative) 2. There is no great stagnation. 3. There is no polenta great stagnation. 4. The Chinese don’t actually want to leave that badly after all. 5. What is network theory teaching us about soccer? 6. Jeff Sachs argues for Scottish independence.  Angus goes further yet.

Is this the best academic cover letter ever?

Dear Sir or Madam, But Most Likely Sir: I am writing to apply for your advertised position in Social Innovation. As a Comparative Literature Ph.D, I am proficient in the fabrication of closed tautological circles of non-meaning; this makes me … Continue reading ? The post Is this the best academic cover letter ever? appeared first on Chris Blattman.

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face

Bad guys (and gals) beware: Dustin Volz (National Journal) reports that the “FBI’s Facial-Recognition Technology Has Achieved ‘Full Operational Capability’” The agency announced two new services Monday that complete the database’s “operational...Show More Summary

Pastoralist Olympics

Photos and story on the World Nomad Games   The post Pastoralist Olympics appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Argentina: One More Step toward Venezuela

Juan Carlos Hidalgo This week the Argentine Congress is likely to pass legislation that would bring that country one step closer to suffering the economic disaster that currently besets Venezuela. First, let’s keep in mind that whenShow More Summary

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