Sunday, August 28, 2016

First seven jobs

I had missed it until now, but apparently there is a meme about listing one's first seven jobs.

To wit:

1. Cashier in a hobby shop (at which I was a regular customer) over the holiday season (minimum wage plus cookies)

2. Dish washer / short-order cook / ice cream scooper at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant Southcenter, the first Farrell's to ever top $1 million in sales in a year. I started at $2.98 when the minimum wage was $2.90. I later advanced to $3.25 per hour plus free meals.

3. Consultant / operator at the Health Sciences remote site of the Academic Computing Center at the University of Washington. My remote site (a grand name for a small windowless room in a very large building) featured one of the last (punched) card readers on campus. This job resulted from my dad meeting someone from the ACC at some work function.

4. Summer intern (twice) at the Reason Foundation, which publishes reason magazine. This was in Santa Barbara, which is a very nice place to spend a summer indeed.

5. Research assistant to Joe Hotz at the University of Chicago

6. Research assistant to Jim Heckman at the University of Chicago

7. Assistant professor of economics at the University of Western Ontario

I have omitted a few more minor things like small amounts of paid tutoring in both my undergraduate and graduate school days.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lena und Lisa


The new enthusiasm among the younger set at my household is called musical.ly, an app that allows the user to record themselves lip-synching bits of songs, movies and television shows. These bits can then be shared among one's friends.

The stars of muiscal.ly are two young Germans called Lena and Lisa. You can watch their greatest hits in the video above, and you can hear their real voices here. One infers that Lena und Lisa have very indulgent (and well funded given the large number of different outfits and props) parents as well as lots of spare time (and the grit and determination for quite a lot of practice).

Hat tip: Lizzie Smith

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Statistical treatment rules and racial bias in the criminal justice system

Jennifer Doleac, who is on leave this year at Brookings from Virginia's policy school, provides a very fine summary of the issues.

Jen's post includes a shout-out to my one economics of crime paper (which is co-authored with my former Maryland criminology colleague Shawn Bushway). In that paper we raise some issues that have been discussed a bit in the labor economics literature in the context of the criminology literature where they had not really been addressed. Labor economics and criminology (and medicine) each have their own statistical treatment rule literatures that mostly do not talk to one another, which opens up space for intellectual arbitrage.

This quite nice AEJ paper by Devin Pope and Justin Sydnor considers related issues in the context of the Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services (WPRS) system.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Assorted links

1. State-level freedom ratings from CATO

2. On economics seminars.

3. Advice on the publishing of academic books.

4. Frontiers of academic administration (or "it could be worse"). Apparently the chancellor has recently resigned. Hard to imagine why.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Book: Blood and Daring

Boyko, John. 2013. Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation. Knopf Canada.

I got this book from my (Canadian) father-in-law as a gift, and quite enjoyed it. Though it is less academic in style than I usually prefer, and perhaps a bit too fawning on some of the Canadian founders (something that never, ever happens in books about the US founders), I quite liked it, mostly because it is full of things I had not read about before. The American Civil War was actually pivotal in uniting what was at the time a collection of multiple Canadian colonies into a single (almost) political entity, driven by fear that the Union army would finish the job left unfinished by the War of 1812 as soon it finished finishing off the confederates. The amateur cloak and dagger antics of the confederate agents in Toronto and Montreal provide comic relief.

Recommended if you are interested in our neighbor (or even neighbour) to the north.

Barnes and Noble page.
Amazon page.

Friday, August 19, 2016

More on Farrell's



There are a couple of errors in the backstory at the beginning. Bob Farrell was having trouble and sold out to Marriott (!) at some point not long before I started working at Farrell's in the spring of 1979- my paychecks were Marriott paychecks. It was Marriott who sold out to the investor group shortly after I stopped working there in 1982. Also, it is just wrong that there were ever zero Farrell's. One of the original franchisees kept running stores in San Diego long enough to overlap the stores operated by the new group featured in the show.

Lots more history at this website maintained by a former Farrell's manager.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Vegetable video



Thankfully, only a subset of my vegetabletarian friends are like this.