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Newsweek: Back in Print, Confused as Ever

David Boaz Dumb arguments against libertarianism are increasing, as guardians of the expansive state begin to worry that the country might actually be trending in a libertarian direction. This may not be the dumbest, but as Nick Gillespie...Show More Summary

Jean Tirole and Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motiviation

One of my favorite Tirole papers is Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation (written with Roland Benabou). The key idea in this paper is that an agent’s payoff from a task depends on a characteristic that the agent doesn’t know. The principal, the designer of an incentive scheme, knows something about this characteristic and designs the reward […]

Tirole and Platform Markets

Jean Tirole (working with Rochet) is a pioneer in one of the most important new areas in the economy and economics, the study of platform markets. Platform markets or two-sided markets are markets where a firm brings together two or more sides both of whom benefit by the existence of the platform and both of […]

Jean Tirole and Industrial Organizaton

Graduate students in economics will instantly know Jean Tirole from his textbook, The Theory of Industrial Organization. In this textbook, Tirole brought game theory to the study of industrial organization–the study of firm behavior in different market structures (competition, duopoly, oligopoly, monopoly). Show More Summary

2014 Nobel Laureates in economics is Jean Tirole

A theory prize!  They refer to “taming powerful firms.”  I would say it is about principal-agent theory. Tirole is at Toulouse and he has been a pioneer in industrial organization over the last thirty years, starting with some key papers in the 1980s.  You can think of him as extending the earlier work of Oliver […]

Assorted links

1. Pearlstein reviews Kleinbard and Madrick.  And is Piketty actually a case for more capitalism? 2. GMU job market candidates.  And talks from the “40 years after Hayek’s Nobel Prize” event. 3. Interviewing people named Hitler. 4. A tiger against tiger nationalism. 6. What the British wrote about the Germans in 1944, and why do […]

Longevity and the rise of the West

Neil Cummins has a new paper of interest, the abstract is this: I analyze the age at death of 121,524 European nobles from 800 to 1800. Longevity began increasing long before 1800 and the Industrial Revolution, with marked increases around 1400 and again around 1650. Declines in violence contributed to some of this increase, but […]

How to Discount Pension Funds

The NYTimes has a good piece on the Dutch pension system which is characterized by sober calculation. The Dutch central bank also imposed a rigorous method for measuring the current value of all pensions due in the future. Pensions are not supposed to be risky, so the Dutch measure them the same way the market […]

Write or die, for those with hyperbolic discounting

There is a new product to help you with getting things done, Write or Die is an application for Windows, Mac and Linux which aims to eliminate writer’s block by providing consequences for procrastination and, new to this version, rewards for accomplishment. Historically Write or Die has specialized in being the stick in the […]

Where to eat in Hong Kong

Anywhere near downtown virtually all of the good places are quite expensive.  The good news is that there are many of them and they are quite fine indeed.  Two I can recommend are Mott 32 and Ye Shanghai, near Central and Admiralty respectively. My favorite meal of the trip was out at Sha Tin 18, […]

Assorted links

1. Is luxury consumption a female mating competition strategy? 2. Brad DeLong on whether QE is destabilizing. 3. The man who discovered Ebola.  And how one district in Sierra Leone contained Ebola. 4. Amazon is not a monopoly. 5. How bad are the remaining losses in Spanish banks? 6. Might the changes in Yemen endanger […]

The collapse of parental bargaining power (sentences to ponder)

When I last visited Bombay, I explained to my then four-year-old about that we couldn’t buy too many things because of weight restrictions in the flight, etc. My relatives were genuinely wondering why I didn’t just stop at “no.” That is quoted by Kottke, from a series by Joanna Goddard, the whole post is interesting […]

Comedy club average is over

 One Barcelona comedy club is experimenting with using facial recognition technology to charge patrons by the laugh. The comedy club, Teatreneu, partnered with the advertising firm The Cyranos McCann to implement the new technology after the government hiked taxes on theater tickets, according to a BBC report. In 2012, the Spanish government raised taxes on […]

What I’ve been reading

1. David Sterling, Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition.  This cookbook is “too good” to actually cook from, but as account of food from Yucatán, along with history, photos, and recipes, it has to count as one of the year’s most notable publications. 2. Sebastian Edwards, Toxic Aid: Economic Collapse and Recovery in Tanzania.  He […]

China’s Curious Restraint

Ted Galen Carpenter Beijing’s behavior on the international stage over the past few months has been surprisingly restrained—in marked contrast to an earlier, lengthy period of assertive, if not abrasive, conduct toward its neighbors....Show More Summary

John Oliver on Civil Asset Forfeiture

Tim Lynch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture (HBO) For related Cato scholarship, go here.

Governor Brownback’s Tax Cuts

Chris Edwards Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) has become a punching bag for liberal pundits. They particularly dislike his tax reforms, which they say are causing a state budget disaster. Nicole Kaeding and I awarded Brownback an “A” on...Show More Summary

The Manhattan apartment with the furthest distance from the subway

I Quant NY reports: …there on the map lies the farthest residential building from a subway entrance in Manhattan according to my analysis: 10 Gracie Square, located at the end of 84th street at the FDR Drive.  It is 0.7 miles from the subway station as the crow flies, or 0.8 miles using the grid. […]

The Nobel Peace Prize and Child Labor

Dalibor Rohac The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi is bound to attract public attention to the problem of child labor. In 1980, Satyarthi founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or “Save the Childhood...Show More Summary

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