Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Living at home versus commuting

The title of this piece from the Atlantic CityLab is a bit misleading. Really, this is a short meditation by someone who has taught in a charter school serving a disadvantaged population on the question of whether or not to encourage his students to bust their budgets to live on campus when they go to college.

The treatment effect of living on campus versus commuting is something we do not have very good evidence on, and which, perhaps as a result, is often neglected in discussions of the effect of college quality (or its interaction with ability, college mismatch) has on academic and labor market outcomes. The probability of living on campus (or away from home, a separate but related treatment) surely increases with college quality. If it represents an important component of the effect of college quality, this would call for quite different policy changes than if it does not matter, and college quality is all about class size or faculty salaries.

I suspect that living on campus actually has quite heterogeneous effects on students, with the distribution of impacts including negative as well as positive values. Being able to predict which students would benefit and which would not would of course be the holy grail here, but it is a long way off indeed.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I would have bet good money against this a week ago. Amazing.

Now both of my teams have dream coaches. Let the winning begin (along with the Oregon and Ohio State losing).

Why I love the Economist

From an Economist piece on countries splitting into their component parts:
... in Canada some fear that Quebec's secession would lead to other provinces following suit, much as the departure of an amusing guest can lead to the break-up of a boring party.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A short primer on libel law

This piece by Eugene Volokh, set in the context of the Rolling Stone story on sexual assault at the University of Virginia, provides a really interesting introduction to the nuances of libel law.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

What are the odds, mate?

Moral panic around gambling in Australia.

Left out of these discussions, whether of gambling, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or prostitution, is always the benefit side of the cost-benefit calculation. Doing so is fairly straightforward within the framework of traditional consumer theory, but becomes very complicated indeed if you wander down the tangled pathways of behavioral economics.

Plus, I actually thought that gambling was more like five percent of Australian GDP rather than just 1.2 percent.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A special day

Timely thoughts from wise reader ASAK:

"Every year it's a bonus present to demographers that the Christmas gospel starts with a census."

Happy holidays to all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Assorted links

1. Venezuela on the policy frontier.

2. When no one reads the page proofs.

3. In case you had forgotten Speed Racer.

4. Celebrity professors.

5. Sweden is not as progressive as you thought (just have Google translate the page).

Hat tip on #1 to Scott Wood and on #5 to Lars Skipper.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gilles Saint-Paul on government art

I stumbled across this piece about government art while looking (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) for one of Gilles' papers on active labor market programs. We've only interacted at one conference but even based on that limited evidence I can confidently say that he is a very interesting character with, as this post of his makes clear, quite broad interests.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014