Tuesday, October 13, 2015

College football: Steve Sarkisian fired at USC

From the Seattle Times. It all sounds like a pretty sad business.

Sark did a great job of raising Washington up out of its 0-12 muck. I wish him well.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Nobel Prize

Congratulations to Angus Deaton, who just won the prize.


Thoughts from my colleague Justin Wolfers, from Alex Tabarrok, and from Tyler Cowen. The piece from Chris Blattman is good as well, but neglects to note that many of the criticisms of experiments voiced by Deaton were already around in the labor literature, which had a similar, though arguably more civil, discussion about randomized trials a decade or so prior to the one in the development literature.

Overall, this is an excellent prize in my view. We used the Deaton and Muellbauer book, along with Varian's text, in first year micro when I was at Chicago. It is excellent.  The bits of the household survey book that I have read were really helpful as well.

Going after the economics Nobel

A member of the Swedish Academy calls for a suspension on the economics Nobel prize.

Hat tip: ASAK

Friday, October 2, 2015

Alpha Chi discovers that baseball is, like, totally boring. I agree!

 From the Daily Mail, which oversells a bit. Hat tip to you-know-who.

Update: The women of Alpha Chi Omega paid more attention in their marketing classes than they did at the baseball game.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Treat meat like cigarettes

I suspect that the UK labour party under Jeremy Corbyn and company will provide a wealth of trans-Atlantic entertainment. Today's installment features the shadow minister for farming, who wants to put warning labels on meat like those on cigarettes. Worth noting in the article is that the shadow minister's main concern about this policy is not its imposition on consumer choice but rather its potential effect on agribusiness. Not very lefty that, one might have thought.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Assorted links

1. Where Great Courses come from. I was hoping the article would explain their (to me) bizarre pricing strategies as well, but it does not.

2. Driving through a wildfire.

3. Chasing death around.

4. What to do when law enforcement wants to chat.

5. A hard day at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book: Top Student, Top School

Radford, Alexandria. 2013. Top Student, Top School? How Social Class Shapes Where Valedictorians Go To College. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

I liked this book a lot, and not just because the evidence it presents supports various conclusions in my work on college mismatch with Nora Dillon (e.g. that for some students, distance to college is an important variable, either because they want to save money by living at home, or because they want to be able to return home regularly and easily, and that student application behavior matters more than what college admissions offices do).

The book provides qualitative and quantitative analysis of a cohort of high school valedictorians who vary on a number of relevant dimensions such as sex, high school quality, and parental education. The relative roles of these and other variables are traced through a set of stages - predisposition, preparation, exploration, application, admissions and matriculation - in the process of transitioning from high school to college. The author does a nice job of combining straightforward quantitative analysis with insightful qualitative analysis. Indeed, one might even use this book as an example of integrating the two.

Even the policy section, which often provides a letdown at the end of otherwise sound books by non-economists, is not too bad. We could, and should, do a better job of informing strong students from low income backgrounds and/or who are first generation college-goers how the system works. This is, of course, an active area of research in the economics of education. One potentially instructive comparison would be to places, e.g. Ontario, where the choice problem is substantially easier for all students, due to centralized application and admissions and the absence of private colleges.

Recommended for those interested in the topic.