Thursday, March 31, 2011
More things I thought I would never say
Nanny of the month
Where are the female economist bloggers?
You’re right. Your chosen leisure activities are morally superior to my chosen leisure time activity. I’ll remember to stop thinking ultimately useless but enjoyable and fulfilling thoughts and start having more ultimately useless but enjoyable and fulfilling relationships with other people.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Miss America does ED
Swedish model: An insidious form of prohibitionism based upon the neofeminist premise that adult women are forever the equivalent of legal minors, neither able to consent to sex acts of which the state does not approve, nor held liable if they consent to those acts. Since men are fully competent adults, however, they are unilaterally liable just as they would be in statutory rape cases
P.J. O'Rourke on Amy Chua
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Advancing the debate, or scoring points?
Cheating in the DC schools ...
Ann Arbor federal building
Monday, March 28, 2011
But few appreciate the extent to which mental health and social health are the close companions of physical health. And few fully grasp the importance of developing the social patterns that let each individual find an appropriate way forward, step by step. This is why we emphasize both the uniqueness of each person and the common healthy behavioral patterns we uncovered. Each of us has to make our own way to long life.
More pols at graduation
Economists misbehaving? Libya and Michael Porter
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Not only Libyans hire out their dissertations
Ms. Merkel [the German prime minister], a former academic married to a professor, was being accused of belittling intellectual property theft and, by implication, the value of an advanced degree, which is not a purely academic matter in this country. Many jobs require such degrees in Germany, where, as is not the case in America, calling oneself doctor for having completed a thesis in, say, political science or art history, is not embarrassing but normal, even when filling out Lufthansa’s online booking forms. (The airline generously provides three levels of academic achievement for its overachieving countrymen: doctor, professor and professor doctor, skipping the extremely rare but not unheard-of German mouthful Herr Professor Doctor Doctor).At the same time, however, Mr. Guttenberg’s troubles thrust into embarrassing national relief the dirty secret that to gain such credentials, many Germans, well-connected ones anyway, apparently cut corners or worse, and universities often look the other way. The minister couldn’t admit to having farmed out his dissertation, because that’s literally a crime here, but he was generally suspected of having hired someone to write the work for him (how else to explain why he seemed so blithely oblivious to the contents of his own thesis?). And to add insult to injury, his advisers had even awarded him a rank of “summa cum laude” (“Summa cum fraude” was another of those protesters’ placards), notwithstanding that the thesis seems to have poached material from one of those very advisers.
Sales taxes on online purchases
UM Next Gen IT
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Teasing the sociologists
Lanny Friedlander, RIP
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
2. Cool photos of lonely Chicago buildings.
Humor from my inbox
This is dedicated to everyone who ever attempted to get into a regular workout routine.
For Christmas this year, I purchased a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear. Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 am. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god-- with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!! Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines.. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around.
This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other shit too.
Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late-- it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny bitch to find me.
Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine--which I sank.
I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel..
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun--like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!
Hat tip: Jackie Smith
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Happy 80th William Shatner
Hat tip: Nat Wilcox
Scariest thing I learned today
Pricing at Harold's
On Libya - will the third Mideast war be the charm?
So let's review: No clear national or even humanitarian interest for military intervention. Intervening well past the point where our intervention can have a decisive effect. And finally, intervening under circumstances in which the reviled autocrat seems to hold the strategic initiative against us. This all strikes me as a very bad footing to go in on.
And this doesn't even get us to this being the third concurrent war in a Muslim nation and the second in an Arab one. Or the fact that the controversial baggage from those two wars we carry into this one, taking ownership of it, introducing a layer of 'The West versus lands of Islam' drama to this basically domestic situation and giving Qaddafi himself or perhaps one of his sons the ability to actually start mobiliz[ing] some public or international opinion against us.
I can imagine many of the criticisms of the points I've made. And listening to them I think I'd find myself agreeing in general with a lot of it. But it strikes me as a mess, poorly conceived, ginned up by folks with their own weird agendas, carried out at a point well past the point that it was going to accomplish anything. Just all really bad.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Lascivious memories from U of Chicago
Lascivious memories, pleaseKristen Schilt, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, and I, a graduate student, are seeking alumni who attended or chose not to attend the Lascivious Costume Ball between 1969 and 1984 to participate in interviews about their experiences.The interview will cover your experiences with the Lascivious Costume Ball, including your reasons for attending or not attending. Additionally, you will be asked to reflect on what the event meant to you, what the event was like, the role you feel it played (or didn’t) in the College community, and your opinions on public perceptions of the event. You must be an alumna/alumnus of the University of Chicago, and you must be familiar with the Lascivious Costume Ball as it was between 1969 and 1984 to participate in the study. For further information, please contact Celene Reynolds at celene.reynolds [at] gmail.com [...].Celene ReynoldsChicago
College men's hoops
On sibling fixed effects ...
An interesting abstract:
"Long Term Effects of Health Investments and Parental Favoritism: The Case of Breastfeeding"
JASON M. FLETCHER, Yale University - School of Public Health
This paper re-examines the effects of breastfeeding on long term educational outcomes using longitudinal data on siblings. While family fixed effects allow controls for all shared family factors, these estimators are sensitive to compensating or reinforcing behaviors by parents. These biases may be particularly important for estimating the effects of parental investment such as breast feeding, where sibling discordance may be difficult to treat as a random outcome and may result in persistence in differential investments between siblings.
This paper uses a unique question asked to adolescent siblings about parental favoritism to adjust for potential reinforcing behavior by parents. Standard fixed effects estimates suggest important long term educational effects of breastfeeding, however these effects are uniformly eliminated after focusing on families who treat siblings equally. These findings shed light on the mechanisms linking associations between breastfeeding and longer term outcomes.
Hat tip: Charlie Brown
Book: Let the Swords Encircle Me
There's a Tolstoyan panorama to "Let the Swords Encircle Me" that's likely to have readers checking the newspaper each day in a fever to find out what happens next. The main character is Iran itself: beautiful yet terrible, neither the paragon its jingoistic leaders declare it to be nor the demon thundered about by our own hard-liners, but human, flawed and hanging on to the elusive, but tantalizing possibility of redemption.
From sweaty political rallies in dusty provincial mosques, to vast cemeteries dedicated to Iran's war dead, from the tea and macaroons of government offices, to the private thoughts of a necessarily very private people, Peterson brings a living, breathing, all-too human Iran into the reader's hands, and one emerges with a sense of having gained intimate knowledge of, and compassion for, a place too often treated as inscrutable.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Health effects of health insurance
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Meaningless statistic increases
From Michigan skit night
I liked this the best of all the bits at skit night.
Economics Department Wall, U of Chicago
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
US Snooze grad program rankings
Artists and politics
I don’t think either the L.A. Times' scolding or Sting's inflated sense of his own diplomatic powers really applies. On this matter I agree with Hitler. When news surfaced that some of his favorite artists had signed a communist pamphlet, the easygoing Führer waved the matter off, saying, “I don't take any of that seriously. We should never judge artists by their political views. The imagination they need for their work deprives them of the ability to think in realistic terms. Artists are simple-hearted souls. Today they sign this, tomorrow that; they don't even look to see what it is, so long as it seems to them well-meaning.”
Tsunami in Santa Cruz, dude
Flagships sailing away
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Huskies men's basketball wins Pac-10 tournament ...
NPR and PBS
Like Matt, I enjoy NPR and I do so on two levels. First, I find their coverage of music and culture more broadly to be quite good. I enjoy the interviews with musicians and other artists, as well as the classical music (during the day) and the jazz (during the evening) that one of the local public radio stations broadcasts. Second, I enjoy the news part of NPR for the same reason that I enjoy watching Fox News in the morning when I am in hotels: I like to deconstruct how they craft and present the news both to further their ideological ends and to pander to the egos of their consumers. Both NPR and Fox are really good at this!
I am quite confident that both NPR and PBS will persist without federal funding. And I am genuinely puzzled that people on the left think it is a good idea to have the federal government fund cultural amenities for the well-off (thus moving money, on average, up rather than down the income distribution) or that it is a good idea, in a free society, to have government-run media organizations at all.
Finally, this post gives me a chance to tell my very favorite NPR story ever. This was back when I was in college and the right was referring to NPR as the "Voice of Nicaragua". I was in a used bookstore on Capitol Hill in Seattle - long since closed sad to say - and they had NPR on in the background. It was Sunday evening and they were reading letters from listeners. The letter that has stayed with me all these years criticized NPR for their coverage of some Soviet news event the week before, arguing that they had been "too hard on Stalin."
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Let reality TV inspire your research agenda
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2011 5:21 PM
To: ECONOMIST FRIEND OF ECONJEFF
Subject: Seeking Graduate Economics Student to Conduct Study
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Anna and I am the Internet & Marketing Director for Bobby Goldstein Productions, the production company behind the television show "Cheaters." I would appreciate it if you could please forward this email to any students and/or graduates that would be interested in a work opportunity. The details are below:
We are currently seeking a Master's level or higher student or graduate to conduct and write a study on the effects of infidelity on the GDP. There has not been a study conducted on this subject (that we are aware of) to date.
This position would be a contract position. Compensation would depend on experience.
A little information about Bobby Goldstein Productions, we are an independent television and film production company. We are most well-known for our reality show "Cheaters." Cheaters is syndicated in over 190 domestic markets and over 180 international markets. We are nearing the end of our 11th season and will be back for our 12th season.
Please send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me. Thank you very much.
Internet & Marketing Director
Bobby Goldstein Productions (Cheaters(r))
4516 Lovers Lane #104
Dallas, TX 75225
(214) 526.8830 ext. 303
(214) 526.8834 Fax
Bleeding heart libertarians
Friday, March 11, 2011
The dark side of for-profit higher education
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Economists, left and not left
12. Implicitly constructing a two-stage moral theory, which first cordons off the sphere of the nation-state (public goods provision, etc.) and then pushing cosmopolitan questions off the agenda in the interests of expanding a social welfare state. (In fairness, many individuals on the right don't give cosmopolitan considerations even this much consideration, although right-oriented economists tend to be quite cosmopolitan.)
Seville Beach Hotel
The most interesting thing we saw walking along the beach in Miami was the Seville Beach Hotel, which has been closed (surprisingly given the value of the real estate that it sits on) for over five years. I poked around a bit trying to find pictures from someone who had climbed the fence and gone inside but came up empty so my external pictures will have to do. Pictures of the hotel in better days from Tripadvisor here and news on its future here.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Responses to negative academic book reviews
World's coolest parking garage?
U of Miami
I gave a seminar at the University of Miami on Friday and had a delightful time. Thanks to everyone there for a very enjoyable visit, some good comments on my paper and useful discussions.
More on the American Sociological Association
Remember a few years ago when you were sitting in class in front of that professor with the over-inflated ego -- who didn't have a clue what he was talking about and wouldn't shut up? ...
Saturday, March 5, 2011
The non-market time of the poor and cost-benefit analysis
Benefit–cost analysis is used extensively in the evaluation of social programs. Often, the success or failure of these programs is judged on the basis of whether the calculated net benefits to society are positive or negative. Almost all existing benefit–cost studies of social programs count entire increases in income accruing to participants in a social program as net benefits to society. However, economic theory implies that the conceptually appropriate measure of the impact of a government program on any group of individuals is the net change in their surplus (or economic rent), rather than the net change in their income. For example, if a social program causes increases in income by increasing work hours, then the lost nonmarket time that accompanies these increases has value that needs to be counted as a cost when assessing the merits of that program. In this paper, we develop a methodology for incorporating lost nonmarket time into benefit–cost analyses of social programs. We apply our methodology to the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), an experimental welfare-to-work program tested on a pilot basis in two provinces in Canada during the 1990s. We find that if losses in nonmarket time are ignored, SSP yields a substantial positive net benefit to society. However, if losses in nonmarket time are taken into account, the net societal benefits are greatly reduced, even becoming negative in certain instances. We conclude that future benefit–cost analyses of social programs must take effects on nonmarket time into account in order to give a more accurate picture of the net benefits of the program.The full citation is:
Greenberg, David and Philip Robins. 2008. Incorporating Non-market Time into Benefit-Cost Analyses of Social Programs: An Application to the Self-Sufficiency Project. Journal of Public Economics 92(3-4): 766-794.
You can find a gated version here.
Valuing the non-market time of the poor means taking the economics seriously in doing the cost-benefit analysis, but it also means that fewer programs will pass cost-benefit tests.
Improving teaching ratings at Northwestern
"It is probably something I will remember the rest of my life," Smith, a 21-year-old senior, told the Tribune. "I can't say that about my Econ 202 class and the material that I learned there."