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Sheldon Silver and the Price of Doing Science

Walter Olson Rumors of ethics problems have long swirled around long-time New York assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, many of them connected with his role as a private lawyer associated with a personal-injury firm whose interests extend to many government- and policy-related matters. Show More Summary

What we really need to know about QE

From the letters page of the FT: Sir, Whether the European Central Bank chooses to embark on a programme of sovereign QE (or quantitative easing, as it used to be known) is of little day-to-day interest to most citizens of the EU. Whether the compilers of dictionaries accept that QE is now a word in […]

Arrived in my pile

Ian Morris, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve. A Tanner Lecture, with comments by Richard Seaford, Jonathan D. Spence, Christine Korsgaard, and Margaret Atwood, and edited by Stephen Macedo.  Due out March...

John Bayley has passed away

An Oxford Don, he wrote one of my all-time favorite books: “Elegy for Iris” — titled “Iris: A Memoir” in Britain — appeared in 1998, when Murdoch was in the final stages of her disease. She died in February 1999 at age 79. One obituary is here, more are here.  The book is here.

What the cost of your wedding says about the chances you divorce

Specifically, the study found that women whose wedding cost more than $20,000 divorced at a rate roughly 1.6 times higher than women whose wedding cost between $5,000 and $10,000. And couples who spent $1,000 or less on their big day … Continue reading ? The post What the cost of your wedding says about the chances you divorce appeared first on Chris Blattman.

U.S. Sugar Maple Tree Distribution Expands with Warmer Temperatures

Craig D. Idso One of the major concerns with forecast CO 2 -induced global warming is temperatures might rise so rapidly that many plant species will be driven to extinction, unable to migrate fast enough toward cooler regions of the planet to keep pace with the projected warming. Show More Summary

North Korea Wants Attention: Let’s Talk to Pyongyang

Doug Bandow North Korea has been in a conciliatory mood recently, suggesting a summit with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Pyongyang also indicated that it would suspend nuclear tests if the United States cancelled joint military exercises with the South. The United States refused and went ahead with the naval maneuvers. Show More Summary

Why is deflation continuing in Europe and Japan?

Here is an update from Japan: Four years after the Bank of Japan set a 2 percent inflation target, price gains may still be coming up short, according to a survey of economists by Bloomberg News. Consumer prices will rise an average 1.4 percent the fiscal year through March 2017, after failing to reach 2 […]

A tale of two false estimates?

1. Toilet paper is shrinking, the individual sheets that is.  (That is probably the closest we will get to hyperinflation.)  Does the average American really use 46 sheets a day?  That sounds like an overstatement. In contrast to this commodity, I usually want for food portion sizes — especially ice cream — to be downsized. […]

Assorted links

1. In praise of The Upshot.  And profile of Pearson (the textbook and testing company). 2. A good OECD report on which policy changes actually would help overcome “secular stagnation.” 3. Japanese owl cafes. 4. How to induce people to like surrealistic art more.  Remind them of death. 5. The crowded cemeteries of Hong Kong.

Is your car’s engine noise a lie?

Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you’ll hear a meaty, throaty rumble — the same style roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades. It’s a sham. The engine growl in some of America’s best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of […]

Budget Snapshot: Average Annual Defense Spending by Administration

Christopher A. Preble In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute yesterday, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry lamented the effects of the Budget Control Act’s spending caps: “the plummeting readiness levels,...Show More Summary

Links I liked

Russ Roberts interviews Josh Angrist, king of causality Does LaTeX lead to more paper errors than R? (I prefer LyX) (Hat tip to Development Impact blog for the last two) AEJ Applied has an astonishingly good special issue devoted to microfinance … Continue reading ? The post Links I liked appeared first on Chris Blattman.

The State of the Union: Please, Just Do No Harm

David Boaz At the National Interest, I critique the president’s State of the Union speech: Instead, we got a sweeping vision of a federal government that takes care of us from childhood to retirement, a verbal counterpart to the Obama...Show More Summary

The Fed Policy Statement

William Poole Here is the statement I would like to see the Federal Open Market Committee issue on January 28 on conclusion of its first meeting of 2015: Information received since the FOMC met in December confirms that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Show More Summary

Assorted links

1. My 2006 post on how to read fast. 2. Henry Manne biography and appreciation. 3. How L.A. became a powerhouse for Chinese food. 4. Previous MR posts on Yemen. 5. Arnold Kling is right: few people understand the non-dictatorship axiom either, or the portfolio separation theorem.  And political philosopher markets in everything. 6. An […]

Listen to China to Confront North Korea

Doug Bandow One of Washington’s greatest policy failures is North Korea. Apparently, Pyongyang’s most recent provocation was hacking Sony Pictures in retaliation for the movie ‘The Interview.’ More fundamentally, the Democratic People’s...Show More Summary

SNB tweets to ponder

It’s funny how faculty who work at universities with large endowments can’t understand the decisions of the Swiss National Bank… That one is from me.  In this kind of status-driven, bureaucratic environment, the incentive is to extend your cushion, not run it down and have to print up new money to replenish it, thereby receiving […]

Is the “split benefit” a feasible way to reduce health care costs?

The excellent Kevin Lewis has pointed my attention to this paper by Robertson, Yokum, Sheth, and Joiner:.  The idea will sound like common sense to an economist, namely give people some cash if they turn down special treatments of uncertain value.  The funnier thing is, there is now some evidence it might actually work: Traditional […]

Talks next week in London/Oxford

I’m giving some talks next week on some new, not released papers: Monday Jan 26, 1230-2pm “More sweatshops for Africa? A randomized trial of industrial jobs in Ethiopia” Center for Global Development Europe Details and registration Tuesday Jan 27th, 1-230pm … Continue reading ? The post Talks next week in London/Oxford appeared first on Chris Blattman.

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