Nearly everyone's head explodes. Only libertarians recognize that these really ARE essentially the same issue.
One has to be amused at this response. The writer literally cannot believe that someone might seriously support individual freedoms, as a matter of principle, rather than having memorized a series of contradictory "correct" positions on the left, or on the right.
So, the intrepid folks of OK state government are out on patrol. Be warned! If you try to sell stuff that people need, especially if they REALLY REALLY need it, you will likely be arrested. OK Gov announces price gouging enforcement.
I wish that the OK legislature could watch this short video:
On the other hand, to be fair, it wouldn't matter. Price-gouging laws are extremely popular among voters. To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, voters want price justice, and it is the job of government to give it to 'em, good and hard.
With thanks to Chris Zorn...
UPDATE: Note that the authorities are careful to muddy the waters, conflating price-gouging and fraud. Fraud is a problem, fraud is illegal. It is COMPLETELY different from price-gouging.
Alison Hope Alkon et al. Geoforum, August 2013, Pages 126–135
In the past decade, progressive public health advocates and food justice activists have increasingly argued that food deserts, which they define as neighborhoods lacking available healthy foods, are responsible for the diet-related health problems that disproportionately plague low-income communities of color. This well meaning approach is a marked improvement over the victim-blaming that often accompanies popular portrayals of health disparities in that it attempts to shift the emphasis from individual eaters to structural issues of equitable development and the supply of health-inducing opportunities. However, we argue that even these supply-side approaches fail to take into account the foodways – cultural, social and economic food practices, habits and desires – of those who reside in so-called food deserts. In this paper, we present five independently conducted studies from Oakland and Chicago that investigate how low-income people eat, where and how they shop, and what motivates their food choices. Our data reveals that cost, not lack of knowledge or physical distance, is the primary barrier to healthy food access, and that low-income people employ a wide variety of strategies to obtain the foods they prefer at prices they can afford. This paper speaks to academic debates on food systems, food movements and food cultures. We hope that progressive policy makers, planners and food justice activists will also draw on it to ensure that their interventions match the needs, skills and desires of those they seek to serve.
Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found over 200 dead crows near greater Boston recently, and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu. A Bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and, to everyone's relief, confirmed the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu.
The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts.
However, during the detailed analysis it was noted that varying colors of paints appeared on the bird's beaks and claws. By analyzing these paint residues it was determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a car.
MTAthen hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills.
The Ornithological Behaviorist very quickly determined the cause: when crows eat road kill, they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending dangers.
The conclusion was that while all the lookout crows could say "Cah", none could say "Truck."
A surprising number of people on sex offender lists either (1) urinated in public, perhaps after a concert or frat party, or (2) had sex with a minor when the "offender" was only a year or two older, but technically above the age of consent. Now, #1 is dumb, but not a sex offense. (And let's just say that it's possible I may have committed this act, at some point). And #2? I'm not going to say anything more, but it's been more than 7 years ago anyway, thank goodness.
Excerpt from the story: Members of the group place cards under windshield wipers that read, "Your meter expired; however, we saved you from the king's tariffs, Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Please consider paying it forward," and includes an address where donations can be sent.
An interesting question: can citizens legally follow law officers and taunt them? Repeatedly? To such an extent that the law officers quit, or become ill from the stress?
(Problem: It's not clear those things will actually happen. But, suppose, for the sake of argument, that that is what is happening. It makes the case a more interesting problem.)
1. Some of the RH's have in fact been aggressive and loud. And it is quite possible that there has been overt "surveillance," as alleged by the meter guy who says the RH's were watching his family.
2. The city is "losing" a lot of money. In fact, the city is losing enough that it has trouble justifying paying the meter persons.
3. #2 is motivating the city to trump up charges based on #1, to try to harass and intimidate the RH's through the legal system, using lawyers and scare tactics.
4. In short, and as usual, the state is actually doing something that if private citizens did it would be illegal. The cute thing about this is example is that the state is actually accusing the private citizens of doing just. that. thing. The state constantly conducts surveillance, harasses people, takes pictures of public gatherings, and makes threats. The difference is that the state is not a bunch of skinny teenagers. The state has guns.
5. The state's job is not to protect "us," whatever that means. The state's job is to protect the state. I expect that the state will do its job.
Robin & I first moved to Norman shortly after the Moore tornado of 1999 which was a brutal storm. Now we've seen the Moore tornado of 2013, which may prove to be even more devastating. We are fine, but as you've seen, the images and statistics coming out of Moore are horrible.
Here's a chart from the National Weather Service comparing the two storms' paths:
You can see that Norman is at the bottom right of the map.
Thanks to everyone who's been contacting us with concern and good wishes.
Michael Woodley, Jan te Nijenhuis & Raegan Murphy
I ntelligence, forthcoming
The Victorian era was marked by an explosion of innovation and genius, per capita rates of which appear to have declined subsequently. The presence of dysgenic fertility for IQ amongst Western nations, starting in the 19th century, suggests that these trends might be related to declining IQ. This is because high-IQ people are more productive and more creative. We tested the hypothesis that the Victorians were cleverer than modern populations, using high-quality instruments, namely measures of simple visual reaction time in a meta-analytic study. Simple reaction time measures correlate substantially with measures of general intelligence (g) and are considered elementary measures of cognition. In this study we used the data on the secular slowing of simple reaction time described in a meta-analysis of 14 age-matched studies from Western countries conducted between 1884 and 2004 to estimate the decline in g that may have resulted from the presence of dysgenic fertility. Using psychometric meta-analysis we computed the true correlation between simple reaction time and g, yielding a decline of − 1.23 IQ points per decade or fourteen IQ points since Victorian times. These findings strongly indicate that with respect to g the Victorians were substantially cleverer than modern Western populations.
1. What a silly slippery slope argument! That whole, "if we regulate cigarettes, then we'll be regulating chain restaurants, and eventually even family-owned restaurants." That could never happen. Whoops. New flash: some Mexican food meals have quite a few calories. (UPDATE: As WH points out, Dr. Roberts is saying that people want more choices. And what she means by "want" is that SHE, Dr.. Roberts, wants it. And what she means by "choice" is to to be forced to do something by the government. You have a choice NOW, Dr. Roberts. Stay home and have a salad, go to a different restaurant, etc.)
4. One of the reasons that poor people and minorities think the Republicans don't care about them is that most Republicans just straight up do NOT care about them. That may be okay, from some perspectives, if your program really is "we'll leave you alone." But it isn't. The Republicans pledge to cut benefits and ALSO harass, arrest, and abuse Latinos, blacks, and the poor. The Repubs need to choose: either do the "we care" thing and actually care, or else stop pretending. An argument for the "we care" side, which makes sense to me.
A spelling test with a high predictive power for career choice for men.
Rearrange the letters P-N-E-S-I to spell out the part of the human body
that is most useful when erect.
1. Those who think these kinds of "tests" are silly are destined for gainful employment and useful lives.
2. Those who think all answers are equally valid and it depends on the reaction of the reader should become literature profs.
3. Those of you who think the answer is "PINES" will be outside going on hikes and working in your gardens.
4.. Those who think the answer is "SPINE" should be doctors.
5. Those who think the answer is "SNIPE" must have been Boy Scouts at some point.
6. The rest of you are headed to some kind of political career.
The wage premium for higher education is high and growing. This is well known. Perhaps less appreciated though is that the average premium can vary greatly by college major and by whether or not the person gets an advanced degree.
Here's a graph from the paper of the overall premium (clic the pic for an even more educational image):
Median wages for BA/BS and higher have gone from 140% of high school only wages to 180% of high school only wages from 1977 to 2010. Note that the premium for "some college" has stayed fairly flat over the same time period.
So, "go to college, young person", right? Well there is the big issue of whether higher education creates human capital or just serves as a signal of innate ability (phone call for Robin Hanson).
And there's also the issues of "what major" and "what degree".
Here's another graph from that Cleveland Fed piece (clic the pic for an even more self-serving image):
English majors get a wage premium of a bit below 1.5 and if they get an advanced degree, it's around 1.75. Economics majors get a wage premium of a bit below 2 and if they get an advanced degree, it's around 3.00
Yet the thickness of the bars tells us that there are more english majors than economics majors (of course this could have something to do with labor demand, but I somehow doubt it)!
Electrical engineering is the most remunerative major with an average premium of 2.5. Elementary Education is the least with a average premium well below 1.3.
In sum, a BA/BS is not a guarantee of an 80% wage premium. Not all majors may be "worth it" economically, given the accounting costs and opportunity costs of getting the degree.
Trying to get a degree and failing can also be costly if multiple years are burned up in the attempt. Dropping out without a degree after 5 years of going to college is on average, an economic disaster.
So, "get a degree in the most remunerative major that you can get through, subject to the constraint that you can do it quickly and cheaply enough to make it worthwhile".
Note that these graphs are equally consistent with both the signaling and capital formation views of higher ed.
The Biological Bases for Aggressiveness and Nonaggressiveness in Presidents Rose McDermott Foreign Policy Analysis, forthcoming Abstract:
Leaders remain subject to the same biological determinants and pressures that affect other humans. Yet, they also differ in their ability to regulate and marshal their emotions just as they diverge in their other skills, talents, limitations, and abilities. In particular, some are better at channeling their emotions to help shape foreign policy more efficiently than others. One of the most potent and powerful emotions with which leaders have to contend, particularly under conditions of provocation, is anger. Anger can influence judgment and decision making in systematic and predictable ways. Individual heritable differences can influence the conditions under which anger leads to aggressive action. Such differences can influence not only the environments into which leaders select, but also the ways they process and interpret information; these determinations can decisively influence the outcome of significant public policies, including decisions on conflict and war. As a result, emotion regulation can play a strategic role in leadership. Examples from several recent presidencies illustrate how such individual differences play out on the world stage.
Edwards said last year he hoped to someday open an advocacy law firm to serve indigent clients and that he hoped to find a way to contribute to society.
Wade Smith, a Raleigh defense lawyer who served as Edwards' mentor early in his legal career, said he saw Edwards recently and he looked great.
"He looks so much better, more relaxed," Smith said.
Smith said Edwards hadn't told him he had reactivated his law license, but Smith was not surprised.
"He's got so much ability and talent," said Smith, who represented Edwards in the criminal case. "Lawyers who saw him in front of a jury will tell you they never saw anything like him, his ability to connect. That talent is still in there and I think he will find a space to use it."
What is "political," exactly? It is NOT true that
African-American parents don't care about their children's education.
So the "political" problem must be that politicians do not validate that
desire? Am I missing something?
The Political Foundations of the Black–White Education Achievement Gap Michael Hartney & Patrick Flavin American Politics Research, forthcoming Abstract:
More than 50 years after Brown v. Board, African American students
continue to trail their White peers on a variety of important
educational indicators. In this article, we investigate the political
foundations of the racial “achievement gap” in American education. Using
variation in high school graduation rates across the states, we first
assess whether state policymakers are attentive to the educational needs
of struggling African American students. We find evidence that state
policymaking attention to teacher quality — an issue education research
shows is essential to improving schooling outcomes for racial minority
students — is highly responsive to low graduation rates among White
students, but bears no relationship to low graduation rates among
African American students. We then probe a possible mechanism behind
this unequal responsiveness by examining the factors that motivate White
public opinion about education reform and find racial influences there
as well. Taken together, we uncover evidence that the persisting
achievement gap between White and African American students has
distinctively political foundations.
In a widely praised speech, Christina Romer referred to the "regime change" at the Central Bank of Japan as, "one of the most exciting developments in monetary policymaking since the 1930s."
She compares recent Japanese policy favorably to recent Fed policy, saying that based on the lesson of 1933, a regime change that raises inflation expectations is needed to break out of the zero-bound / liquidity trap.
Could a Japanese style regime change happen in the USA? Should it?
It's important to note (as Romer does), that the change in Japan was political and electoral.
Shinzo Abe ran on a platform of getting Japan growing and getting out of deflation. He threatened the Bank of Japan. The Head of the Bank ultimately resigned and Abe got his guy, Kuroda, in there with an aggressively expansionary policy brief.
So the answer to could this happen in the USA I think is no.
Can you imagine the reaction if a Presidential candidate threatened the Fed Chair (phone call for Rick Perry)? Can you imagine the reaction if Presidential pressure forced Bernanke to resign? Can you imagine the Senate confirmation hearings on Paul Krugman's candidacy for Fed Chair? Can you imagine what the FOMC meetings and votes would be like when Richard Fisher and Charles Plosser butted heads with Chairman Krugman?
We don't have a parliamentary system of government, we do have a now quite strong norm of no overt, heavy handed political pressure on the Fed, and the Fed chair is not a monetary policy dictator. In principle, the Chair has one vote on a 12 person voting committee.
Now the question of should this happen in the USA is trickier.
On the affirmative side, we still have a big output gap, an unacceptably high unemployment rate, too few people in the labor force, and some theoretical evidence that the "expectations channel" could work.
On the negative side, there isn't much empirical evidence that such a regime change actually will work. The jury hasn't even been selected yet in the Japanese case, so we have one case, the US in 1933, which is not uncontroversial. I mean, the US economy was in terrible shape well after 1933. Unemployment in 1938 was 19% (yes I know about the "mistake of 1937"and all but the point is that the monetary regime change was not decisive in sustainably fixing the US economy).
Roosevelt took us off gold. That was bold. What would be a comparable present day analog? What if we adopted the Venezuelan Strong Bolivar as our currency. That might work!
Hayek had this right, and people forget how often the point is illustrated by those we call "conservatives":
There is some justification at least in the taunt that many of the pretending defenders of “free enterprise” are in fact defenders of privileges and advocates of government activity in their favor rather than opponents of all privileges. In principle the industrial protectionism and government-supported cartels and agricultural policies of the conservative groups are not different from the proposals for a more far-reaching direction of economic life sponsored by the socialists. - F.A. Hayek, page 107 , Individualism and Economic Order
Nod to Marc B, who is going to lose his lefty label if he's not careful.
UPDATE: Marc B., demonstrating he has gone round the bend, sends this photo:
Dr. Evil exists. In the heart of every Democrat and Republican ever elected anywhere to any legislature. It just makes so much sense, doesn't it? Charging all those low prices for high quality stuff? It's MEAN, that's what it is. And it must be stopped, before it costs us more jobs.
Joni Hersch Vanderbilt University Working Paper, March 2013
Whether highly educated women are exiting the labor force to care for their children has generated a great deal of media attention, even though academic studies find little evidence of opting out. This paper shows that female graduates of elite institutions have lower labor market involvement than their counterparts from less selective institutions. Although elite graduates are more likely to earn advanced degrees, marry at later ages, and have higher expected earnings, there is little difference in labor market activity by college selectivity among women without children and women who are not married. But the presence of children is associated with far lower labor market activity among married elite graduates. Most women eventually marry and have children, and the net effect is that labor market activity is on average lower among elite graduates than among those from less selective institutions. The largest gap in labor market activity between graduates of elite institutions and less selective institutions is among MBAs, with married mothers who are graduates of elite institutions 30 percentage points less likely to be employed full-time than graduates of less selective institutions.
Dan Black, Natalia Kolesnikova & Lowell Taylor Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming
This paper documents a little-noticed feature of U.S. labor markets — very large variation in the labor supply of married women across cities. We focus on cross-city differences in commuting times as a potential explanation for this variation. We start with a model in which commuting times introduce non-convexities into the budget set. Empirical evidence is consistent with the model’s predictions: Labor force participation rates of married women are negatively correlated with the metropolitan area commuting time. Also, metropolitan areas with larger increases in average commuting time in 1980-2000 had slower growth in the labor force participation of married women.
Timothy Gubler, Ian Larkin & Lamar Pierce
Harvard Working Paper, February 2013
Many scholars and practitioners have recently argued that corporate awards are a "free" way to motivate employees. We use field data from an attendance award program implemented at one of five industrial laundry plants to show that awards can carry significant spillover costs and may be less effective at motivating employees than the literature suggests. Our quasi-experimental setting shows that two types of unintended consequences limit gains from the reward program. First, employees strategically game the program, improving timeliness only when eligible for the award, and call in sick to retain eligibility. Second, employees with perfect pre-program attendance or high productivity suffered a 6-8% productivity decrease after program introduction, suggesting they were demotivated by awards for good behavior they already exhibited. Overall, our results suggest the award program decreased plant productivity by 1.4%, and that positive effects from awards are accompanied by more complex employee responses that limit program effectiveness.
The 2nd Amendment: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free
state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
So, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
infringed" says clearly that there is in fact an individual right to own guns, not just that states can have militias that are "well-regulated."
But that whole "well-regulated" part means something. So registration, background checks, responsible storage, and required training...why not? I'd say the closest analogy is a driver's license. You can't be told "no, no driver's license for you!" It's a "shall issue" situation. But if you misuse, behave dangerously, etc., you lose the license. And you have to register your car, and have training, and so on. The state can impose substantial regulations on purchase, ownership, and use of guns.
I'm pretty sure that exactly no one agrees with me. The NRA-ites want to be able to fight the 82nd Airborne (seriously?), and the anti-gun-ites want to pretend the 2nd Amendment doesn't exist. (Problem, my lefty friends: as Sandy Levinson sensibly admits, if you can ignore the 2nd Amendment, you can ignore the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments. They come as a package.)
Well worth reading the whole thing, but here is a good bit:
"The main difference between world-class researchers and sound researchers is not intellect; it is energy, single-mindedness, more energy, and the ability to withstand what will sometimes feel like never-ending disappointment, tiredness and psychological pain. Tenacity is almost everything."
I have found this, along with much of the rest of Andrew's piece, all too true.
Barbara Wolfe & Jason Fletcher
NBER Working Paper, February 2013
One of the continuing areas of controversy surrounding higher education is affirmative action. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fisher v. Texas, and their ruling may well influence universities’ diversity initiatives, especially if they overturn Grutter v. Bollinger and rule that diversity is no longer a “compelling state interest.” But what lies behind a compelling state’s interest? One issue that continues to require more information is estimating and understanding the gains for those attending colleges and universities with greater diversity. Most existing studies are either based on evidence from one institution, which has issues of both selectivity and limited “treatments,” or focus on selective institutions, which also face issues of selection bias from college choice behaviors. In this research we use Wave 3 of Add Health, collected in 2001–02 of those then attending college. Add Health collected the IPEDS number of each college and matched these to the racial/ethnic composition of the student body. We convert these data into an index of diversity and then ask whether attending a college/university with a more diverse student body influences a variety of outcomes at Wave 4 (2007–08), including years of schooling completed, earnings, family income, composition of friends, and probability of voting. Our results provide evidence of a positive link between attending a college with greater diversity and higher earnings and family income, but not with more schooling or the probability of voting.
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2013, Pages 171–195
An analysis of the The Bar Passage Study (BPS) reveals that minorities are both less likely to graduate from law school and less likely to pass the bar compared to whites even after adjustments are made for group differences in academic credentials. To account for these adjusted racial gaps in performance, some researchers put forward the “mismatch hypothesis,” which proposes that students learn less when placed in learning environments where their academic skills are much lower than the typical student. This article presents new results from the BPS that account for both measurement-error bias and selection-on-unobservables bias that makes it more difficult to find a mismatch effect if in fact one exists. I find much more evidence for mismatch effects than previous research and report magnitudes from mismatch effects more than sufficient to explain racial gaps in performance.
5. Anonyman claims he IS, in fact a hipster, sort of, if you squint and have had several drinks and it's near closing time. As evidence he reminds us on the Simpsons episode on artisanal donuts...and power. He's got a point: Anonyman is a LOT like that cop who asks twice a day, "What have I become?"
8. You probably saw this. My rule is that there should be some tolerance for racism/sexism/bigotry if (a) the person is clearly trying to be funny and (b) if the person succeeds and it IS funny. (I am paraphrasing the Camille Paglia rule of humor, by the way). I don't think he was trying to be funny, and it wasn't funny.
9. Anonyman may be going through a phase. He may go into "affinity marketing" and move to Williamsburg. (The one Brooklyn, not the colonial one. Not near enough irony in the colonial one. Ick.) As for me, I could never be a hipster, no matter how much I tried. I wore work boots...to work. They had to be steel-toed, because I worked in a lumber yard. Hipsters shower before work (if at all). I had to shower after work. Not really sure why pretending to be working class is cool. I do know that lots of working class folks would be happy to have a hipster's trust fund, and trade places. How's THAT for irony?
Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers NBER Working Paper, April 2013
Many scholars have argued that once "basic needs" have been met, higher income is no longer associated with higher in subjective well-being. We assess the validity of this claim in comparisons of both rich and poor countries, and also of rich and poor people within a country. Analyzing multiple datasets, multiple definitions of "basic needs" and multiple questions about well-being, we find no support for this claim. The relationship between well-being and income is roughly linear-log and does not diminish as incomes rise. If there is a satiation point, we are yet to reach it.