jerryking + economists   103

Two MIT Economists Share A Bold Plan To Jump-Start The Economy In New Book
April 9, 2019 | Boston Public Radio | By Arjun Singh

On paper, America’s economy seems to be excelling. In March, the economy added 196,000 new jobs while the unemployment rate sat at 3.8 percent. Meanwhile, American startups like Uber and Pinterest are expected to go public with multi-million or higher valuations. But MIT economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson believe this hides a darker truth about the American economy: It’s slowly falling behind the rest of the world.

In their new book, “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream,” Gruber and Johnson lay out their plan for how the United States can reclaim its mantle as a leader in not just gross domestic product, but also innovation and science. The key, they say, is government investment and encouragement in the scientific sector.......The economists are optimistic, however, that the United States can regain its lead and eventually develop a robust economy that sees economic growth and investment in the sciences. And not just in places like Boston or San Francisco, but throughout the rest of the country, where Johnson says there is a wealth of untapped talent and potential. They estimate there are at least 102 potential scientific hubs scattered across the U.S.

“The coastal superstar cities have become extremely expensive, but there’s a tremendous amount of talent spread across the U.S.,” Johnson said. “Good living conditions also matter. People also want to live in a place [with a] good climate, much better commute times than you have in the megacities, and low crime rates. Those are our very simple, transparent criteria.”..... public investments in research and development contribute to what the authors call the “spillover effect.” When the product of the research is not a private firm’s intellectual property, its impact flows across the economy.
books  breakthroughs  coastal  competitiveness_of_nations  economists  industrial_policies  innovation  jump-start  MIT  NSF  public_investments  R&D  science  Simon_Johnson  spillover  superstars  U.S. 
17 days ago by jerryking
Past mistakes carry warnings for the future of work
May 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by SARAH O'CONNOR.

* Data can mislead unless combined with grittier insights on the power structures that underpin it.
* William Kempster, a master mason who worked on St Paul's Cathedral in the 18th century, left wage records that helped expose a flaw in our understanding of the past.

It is often said that we should learn from the mistakes of the past. But we can also learn from the mistakes we make about the past. Seemingly smooth data can mislead unless it is combined with a grittier insight into the structures, contracts and power relationships that underpin the numbers. On that score, economists and politicians who want to make sense of today’s labour market have an advantage over historians: it is happening right now, just outside their offices, in all its complexity and messiness. All they have to do is open the door
17th_century  18th_century  builders  contextual  data  datasets  developing_countries  economic_history  economists  freelancing  gig_economy  handwritten  historians  human_cloud_platforms  insights  labour_markets  London  messiness  mistakes  politicians  power_relations  power_structures  record-keeping  United_Kingdom  unstructured_data  wages  white-collar 
may 2019 by jerryking
Always seek out novelty — even at home
April 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

* The search for new experiences should not just be for our holidays.
* Japan: 10 days in a far-off land produces a richer treasury of detailed memories than 10 weeks back home. But why?
* Actively searching for new experiences --whether on holiday abroad or within your daily routine at home!!
* Novelty isn't just about mental stimulation. It also exposes you to opportunity.....Variation also reshapes the mental categorisation of experiences, so that freshness can be found within routine activities.
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While on an adventurous holiday, many people experience that strange sense of time having slowed down in the most pleasurable way, and of conversations that begin, “Was it really only yesterday that we . . . ?”

Ten days in a far-off land produces a richer treasury of detailed memories than 10 weeks back home. But what is behind this phenomenon?

Claude Shannon,in 1948, published one of his two profound contributions, A Mathematical Theory of Communication,.....a message can be compressed to the extent that it is predictable. ....(e.g. Ritualised conversations (“How are you?” “Very well, thank you. How are you?”) can be heavily compressed.....A movie can be compressed because, between cuts, each frame tends to resemble the previous one....Although the parallel is not exact, much the same thing seems to be going on with our memories of life. The brain is not a video recorder; we recall the gist. Sometimes the gist is very brief. If I get up in the morning at the usual time, eat my customary breakfast and catch my usual train to the office, why should my brain trouble itself to remember this day two weeks after the fact? The diffs are barely worth bothering with. In contrast, fresh experiences defy compression: the diffs are too big........Brian Christian, author of The Most Human Human, a book about conversations between humans and computers, speculates that if we’re seeking advice we should ask the person of whose answer we are least certain. If we want to understand a person, we should ask them the question to which we are least sure of their answer.
algorithms  compression  creativity  creative_renewal  economists  experience_economy  fresh_eyes  habits  holidays  insta-bae  Japan  mybestlife  novelty  non-routine  Slow_Movement  Tim_Harford  travel  unpredictability  vacations 
april 2019 by jerryking
Andrew Marshall, Pentagon’s Threat Expert, Dies at 97 - The New York Times
By Julian E. Barnes
March 26, 2019

Andrew Marshall, a Pentagon strategist who helped shape U.S. military thinking on the Soviet Union, China and other global competitors for more than four decades, has died. He was 97. Mr. Marshall, as director of the Office of Net Assessment, was the secretive futurist of the Pentagon, a long-range thinker who prodded and inspired secretaries of defense and high-level policymakers.......Marshall was revered in the DoD as a mysterious Yoda-like figure who embodied an exceptionally long institutional memory.......... Marshall's view of China as a potential strategic adversary, an idea now at the heart of national defense strategy....Through his many hires and Pentagon grants..... Mr. Marshall trained a coterie of experts and strategists in Washington and beyond.....he cultivated thinking that looked beyond the nation’s immediate problems and sought to press military leaders to approach long-term challenges differently......His gift was the framing of the question, the discovery of the critical question..... always picking the least studied and most strategically significant subjects....Marshall’s career as a strategic thinker began in 1949 at the RAND Corporation, where his theory of competitive strategies took root. Borrowing from business school theories of how corporations compete against each other, Mr. Marshall argued that nations are also in strategic competition with one another. “His favorite example was if you can pit your strengths against someone else’s weakness and get them to respond in a way that makes them weaker and weaker, you can put them out of business without ever fighting,”....He had early insight into the economic troubles the Soviet Union was having, and helped develop strategies to exacerbate those problems and help bring about the demise of the Soviet Union....In 2009, Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, asked Mr. Marshall to write a classified strategy on China with Gen. Jim Mattis, the future defense secretary.
adversaries  assessments_&_evaluations  China  China_rising  economists  éminence_grise  future  futurists  inspiration  institutional_memory  long-range  long-term  obituaries  Pentagon  policymakers  problem_framing  RAND  rising_powers  Robert_Gates  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  threats  trailblazers  uChicago 
march 2019 by jerryking
Passive investing is storing up trouble
August 2, 2018 | Financial Times | by Megan Greene.

I was recently informed by the owner of an artificial intelligence fund that markets do not listen to economists any more. .....A fundamental shift in market structure towards rules-based, passive investing over the past decade means a lot of trading is no longer based on fundamentals. But just because some markets do not pay attention to economists, it does not mean economists should not pay attention to these markets........AI quant funds are not waiting on tenterhooks for analysis of every non-farm payrolls report, Fed press conference, Donald Trump tweet, or earnings report. Instead, they look for trading strategies that are succeeding and adopt those strategies until a better one comes along, regardless of the underlying fundamentals. But what happens when the strategy suddenly becomes to sell everything? Will the computers find the buyers they need?.......ETFs, often set up to mimic an index, have to buy more of equities rising in price, sending those stock prices even higher. ETFs similarly ignore fundamentals.....This creates a piling-on effect as funds buy more of these increasingly expensive stocks and less of the cheaper ones in their indices...Risks of a bubble arise when there is no regard for underlying fundamentals or price. It is reasonable to assume a sustained market correction would lead to stocks that were disproportionately bought because of ETFs and index funds being disproportionately sold.

But again, in a crisis will the ETF managers find liquid markets? ....Passive investors and quant funds could also threaten the economy by making markets vastly more complex, noisy and opaque. They send mixed signals to active investors about what the fair value of a stock is. That could cause a significant misallocation of capital.

The danger is exacerbated by the speed at which trading is now done. The average holding period for a security on the New York Stock Exchange has fallen from two months in 2008 to just under 20 seconds today.......Systemic failures, misallocation of capital and dried up liquidity could cause a bear market, dragging on growth when the economic backdrop is already lacklustre......So even though passive investors ignore economists, economists should pay attention to risks posed by the shift in market structure they represent....This is not to say that index funds, ETFs and AI quant funds are necessarily bad. But the real test will come when there is a sudden crisis followed by a sustained bear market.
active_investing  artificial_intelligence  bear_markets  economists  ETFs  holding_periods  index_funds  investing  liquidity  misallocations  NYSE  passive_investing  piling_on  risks  systemic_failures  rules-based  bubbles  quantitative  market_fundamentals  crisis  dark_side  pay_attention 
august 2018 by jerryking
US and China must find ways to control their elites | Financial Times
July 1, 2018 | FT| Rana Foroohar. Pinboard saved article/artifact #25,000

Success rests on heading off popular unrest, rather than winning trade fights.
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Tension between the US and China is driving much of what is happening in the markets today. The analysis has focused on tariffs, currency manipulation, strategic technologies and which country has the most to win or lose in a trade war.

But there is a more important question to be asked when thinking about the future success and stability of each nation: which country will be better able to control its moneyed elites?

In his 1982 work The Rise and Decline of Nations, the economist Mancur Olson argues that civilisations tend to decline when the moneyed interests take over politics. That has clearly happened in both countries, where the levels of wealth inequality are not dissimilar; the top 1 per cent in China own about 30 per cent of the economy; in the US, the figure is 42 per cent.

........Chinese leaders also believe that America’s inability to curb its own elites will be the country’s downfall [Achilles’ heel]....America’s elite business class has, for decades now, sought to distract from rising oligopoly with hypocrisy. US companies complain vociferously about unfair Chinese trade practices and intellectual property theft.
U.S.  China  elitism  Rana_Foroohar  societal_collapse  the_One_Percent  self-interest  books  economists  Mancur_Olson  entrenched_interests  Achilles’_heel  Xi_Jinping  corruption  Chinese_Communist_Party  conflicts  confrontations  U.S.-China_relations 
july 2018 by jerryking
My top 5 investing lessons after 30 years as an economist
September 25th | The Globe and Mail | DAVID ROSENBERG.

After 30 years of experience as a Street economist, you pick up a lot of learning lessons – especially from the mistakes made along the way. Here are my top five below:

* Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (concentrated portfolios but diversified geographically and across the asset classes);
* There is no such thing as a sure thing (the forecast is just a base case across a continuum of possibilities across a distribution curve);
* Marry your partner, not your forecast – it may not love you back (what gets economists into trouble is lack of humility; admitting you’re wrong is never easy);
* If you don’t have a Plan B, you don’t have a plan. If you are wrong, it is imperative to know in what direction – and delineate the new course of action;
* Anything that can’t last forever, won’t last forever.
concentration_risk  economists  investing  lessons_learned  Plan_B  diversification  Bay_Street  Wall_Street  market_corrections  bear_markets  mistakes  forecasting  economic_cycles  beyondtheU.S.  Gluskin_Sheff  David_Rosenberg  probabilities  humility  contingency_planning  never_forever  asset_classes 
september 2017 by jerryking
Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined
SEPT. 2, 2017 | The New York Times | By SENDHIL MULLAINATHAN.

New technologies are rattling the economy on all fronts. While the predictions are specific and dire, bigger changes are surely coming. Clearly, we need to adjust for the turbulence ahead.

But we may be preparing in the wrong way.

Rather than planning for the specific changes we imagine, it is better to prepare for the unimagined — for change itself.

Preparing for the unknown is not as hard as it may seem, though it implies fundamental shifts in our policies on education, employment and social insurance.

* Education. Were we to plan for specific changes, we would start revamping curriculums to include skills we thought would be rewarded in the future. E.g., computer programming might become even more of a staple in high schools than it already is. Maybe that will prove to be wise and we will have a more productive work force. But perhaps technology evolves quickly enough that in a few decades we talk to, rather than program, computers. In that case, millions of people would have invested in a skill as outdated as precise penmanship. Instead, rather than changing what we teach, we could change WHEN we teach...... our current practice of learning early [and hopefully] benefitting for a lifetime — makes sense only in a world where the useful skills stay constant. Human capital, like technology, needs refreshing, we have to restructure our institutions so people acquire education later in life. Not merely need programs for niche populations or circumstances, expensive and short executive-education programs or brief excursions like TED talks. Instead we need the kind of in-depth education and training people receive routinely at age 13.
* Social Insurance. Economic upheaval at the macro level means turmoil and instability at the personal level. A lifetime of work will be a lifetime of change, moving between firms, jobs, careers and cities. Each move has financial and personal costs: It might involve going without a paycheck, looking for new housing, finding a new school district or adjusting to a new vocation. We cannot expect to create a vibrant and flexible overall economy unless we make these shifts as painless as possible. We need a fresh round of policy innovation focused on creating a safety net that gives workers the peace of mind — and the money — to move deftly when circumstances change.....current policies do nothing to protect the most vulnerable from the costs of all this destruction. We resist letting factories close because we worry about what will become of the people who work there. But if we had a social insurance system that allowed workers to move fluidly between jobs, we could comfortably allow firms to follow their natural life and death cycle.

.....other ways of preparing for upheaval? We should broaden the current conversation — centered on drones, the end of work or the prospect of super-intelligent algorithms governing the world — to include innovative proposals for handling the unexpected......One problem is that social policy may seem boring compared with the wonderfully evocative story arcs telling us where current technologies might be heading......The safest prediction is that reality will outstrip our imaginations. So let us craft our policies not just for what we expect but for what will surely surprise us.
tumult  unimaginable  expectations  turbulence  Joseph_Schumpeter  innovation_policies  human_capital  education  safety_nets  job_search  creative_destruction  lifelong  life_long_learning  surprises  economists  improbables  personal_economy  preparation  unexpected  readiness 
september 2017 by jerryking
We Survived Spreadsheets, and We’ll Survive AI - WSJ
By Greg Ip
Updated Aug. 2, 2017

History and economics show that when an input such as energy, communication or calculation becomes cheaper, we find many more uses for it. Some jobs become superfluous, but others more valuable, and brand new ones spring into existence. Why should AI be different?

Back in the 1860s, the British economist William Stanley Jevons noticed that when more-efficient steam engines reduced the coal needed to generate power, steam power became more widespread and coal consumption rose. More recently, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led study found that as semiconductor manufacturers squeezed more computing power out of each unit of silicon, the demand for computing power shot up, and silicon consumption rose.

The “Jevons paradox” is true of information-based inputs, not just materials like coal and silicon......Just as spreadsheets drove costs down and demand up for calculations, machine learning—the application of AI to large data sets—will do the same for predictions, argue Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb, who teach at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. “Prediction about uncertain states of the world is an input into decision making,” they wrote in a recent paper. .....Unlike spreadsheets, machine learning doesn’t yield exact answers. But it reduces the uncertainty around different risks. For example, AI makes mammograms more accurate, the authors note, so doctors can better judge when to conduct invasive biopsies. That makes the doctor’s judgment more valuable......Machine learning is statistics on steroids: It uses powerful algorithms and computers to analyze far more inputs, such as the millions of pixels in a digital picture, and not just numbers but images and sounds. It turns combinations of variables into yet more variables, until it maximizes its success on questions such as “is this a picture of a dog” or at tasks such as “persuade the viewer to click on this link.”.....Yet as AI gets cheaper, so its potential applications will grow. Just as better weather forecasting makes us more willing to go out without an umbrella, Mr. Manzi says, AI emboldens companies to test more products, strategies and hunches: “Theories become lightweight and disposable.” They need people who know how to use it, and how to act on the results.
artificial_intelligence  Greg_Ip  spreadsheets  machine_learning  predictions  paradoxes  Jim_Manzi  experimentation  testing  massive_data_sets  judgment  uncertainty  economists  algorithms  MIT  Gilder's_Law  speed  steam_engine  operational_tempo  Jevons_paradox  decision_making 
august 2017 by jerryking
We are still waiting for the robot revolution
2017 | Financial Times | Tim Harford.

“Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. “

Or at least — it should. Our chief economic problem right now isn’t that the robots are taking our jobs, it’s that the robots are slacking off. We suffer from slow productivity growth; the symptoms are not lay-offs but slow-growing economies and stagnant wages. In advanced economies, total factor productivity growth — a measure of how efficiently labour and capital are being used to produce goods and services — was around 2 per cent a year in the 1960s, when the ATM was introduced. Since then, it has averaged closer to 1 per cent a year; since the financial crisis it has been closer to zero. Labour productivity, too, has been low.

Plenty of jobs, but lousy productivity: imagine an economy that was the exact opposite of one where the robots took over, and it would look very much like ours. Why? Tempting as it may be to blame the banks, a recent working paper by John Fernald, Robert Hall and others argues that productivity growth stalled before the financial crisis, not afterwards: the promised benefits of the IT revolution petered out by around 2006. Perhaps the technology just isn’t good enough; perhaps we haven’t figured out how to use it. In any case, results have been disappointing.

There is always room for the view that the productivity boom is imminent. Michael Mandel and Bret Swanson, business economists, argue in their policy paper that we are starting to find digitally driven efficiencies in physical industries such as energy, construction, transport, and retail. If this happens, Silicon Valley-style innovation will ripple through the physical economy. If.
Tim_Harford  artificial_intelligence  productivity  automation  economists  efficiencies  energy  construction  transportation  retailers  robotics  physical_economy  data_driven 
august 2017 by jerryking
The vanishing middle class : prejudice and power in a dual economy : Temin, Peter, author. : Book, Regular Print Book : Toronto Public Library
Fairview Book In Transit In Transit 339.22089 TEM

As Peter Temin, an MIT academic who connects these dots eloquently in his new book The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, puts it: “None of this bodes well for democracy.” Temin and a growing number of other economists see America not as a single country but as two — an upper 20 per cent who live, metaphorically anyway, by the lake, and a lower 80 per cent who, hamstrung by a lack of education and unable to build an asset base, are increasingly despondent. Given this, it’s perhaps no wonder that the county where my husband and I will spend the next two weeks voted Trump. Sadly, if the president has his way, the policies that have helped create New Hampshire’s bifurcated economy will be rolled out to the rest of the nation. That’s an affliction we will all have to deal with.
books  economics  economists  TPL 
july 2017 by jerryking
Robocalypse Now? Central Bankers Argue Whether Automation Will Kill Jobs - The New York Times
By JACK EWING JUNE 28, 2017

artificial intelligence threatens broad categories of jobs previously seen as safe from automation, such as legal assistants, corporate auditors and investment managers. Large groups of people could become obsolete, suffering the same fate as plow horses after the invention of the tractor.

“More and more, we are seeing economists saying, ‘This time could be different,’”......among the economists in Sintra there was plenty of skepticism about whether the Robocalypse is nigh......Robocalypse advocates underestimate the power of scientific advances to beget more scientific advances, said Joel Mokyr, a professor at Northwestern University who studies the history of economics.....Hal Varian, the chief economist at Google — whose self-driving technology may someday make taxi drivers unnecessary — said that the plunging cost of information technology “has virtually eliminated the fixed cost of entering a business.” Companies can rent software and computing power over the internet..... disruptions caused by technology help account for rampant pessimism among working-class and middle-class people across the developed world.
automation  artificial_intelligence  Hal_Varian  central_banks  David_Autor  Joel_Mokyr  pessimism  economists  Benjamin_Bernanke  fixed_costs  developing_countries 
june 2017 by jerryking
Autopilot is the enemy
Oct 6th 2016
Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives. By Tim Harford. Riverhead; 327 pages; $28. Little, Brown; £20.

SELF-HELP books offer ways for readers to whip their lives into shape. A new book by Tim Harford, an economist and columnist at the Financial Times, argues that we need to whip our lives out of shape. According to his new book “Messy”, the order that we crave is our own worst enemy, and disorder sets us free.
books  economists  messiness  self-help  Tim_Harford 
june 2017 by jerryking
Have Americans Given Up?
MAR 5, 2017 | The Atlantic | by DEREK THOMPSON.
...this is a mirage, according to the economist and popular writer Tyler Cowen, whose new book is The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream. In fact, the nation's dynamism is in the dumps. Americans move less than they used to. They start fewer companies. Caught in the hypnotic undertow of TV and video games, they are less likely to go outside. Even the federal government itself has transformed from an investment vehicle, which once spent a large share of its money on infrastructure and research, to an insurance conglomerate, which spends more than half its money on health care and Social Security. A nation of risk-takers has become a nation of risk-mitigation experts...So, what happened? Cowen’s thought-provoking book emphasizes several causes, including geographic immobility, housing prices, and monopolization.....several studies have shown that many U.S. workers don’t start new companies because they’re afraid of losing their employer-sponsored health insurance. A single-payer system might increase overall entrepreneurial activity. As I read Cowen’s book, I thought of an acrobat show. No circus performer wants to leap between swings without a net to catch them as they fall. The trick is to design for safety without designing for complacency.
large_companies  dynamism  America_in_Decline?  self-defeating  Tyler_Cowen  economists  books  innovation  illusions  Silicon_Valley  geographic_mobility  economic_mobility  housing  Donald_Trump  elitism  restlessness  safety_nets  risk-mitigation  monopolies  the_American_dream 
march 2017 by jerryking
Unnatural calm sparks visions of a 'Minsky Moment'
31 December/1 January 2017 | Financial Times | John Authers.

Argues that it is bad news that volatility on financial markets has dropped to an all-time low as measured on the CBOE's Vix index. Economist Hyman Minsky postulated that capitalist financial systems were inherently unstable, and that stability begat instability. As markets grow calmer and bankers more confident, lending steadily rises until it is out of control. The "Minsky Moment" occurs when investors realize that they have paid far too much for the credits that have bought, no buyers can be found, and the system collapses. Aka Wile E. Coyote running-off-a-cliff....The greatest dangers to us are not from things we perceive to be high-risk, because we generally treat them carefully. Trouble arises from that which we perceive to be low-risk.
instability  Vix  indices  volatility  economists  financial_system  risk-assessment  warning_signs  complacency  dangers  high-risk  low-risk  fear  bad_news 
january 2017 by jerryking
Why this economist thinks government intervention is a good thing - The Globe and Mail
PAUL WALDIE
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 28, 2016

Many governments are moving away from austerity and toward stimulating economic growth by spending on infrastructure projects. Is that the right approach?

This is not about the panacea of infrastructure. It’s ridiculous if you think about it. All these smart, smart people in the IMF—once they finally admit that austerity was shit and it was very damaging, what’s their solution? Infrastructure. (3) These people have PhDs. Can they not come up with something more interesting than spend a bunch on bridges and roads?

What do you think about Brexit?

A massive, massive disaster. I just can’t believe that the people who engineered it haven’t been put in prison. It’s so obvious now that they were lying. Think of it: If Coca-Cola lied with advertising campaigns like that, they’d be in prison. All these civil servants are going to be spending decades unravelling something that was not the problem. The real problem in the U.K. is low productivity, very high inequality and a lack of serious planning around industrial and innovation policy. That had nothing to do with Europe. Brexit is just going to take away huge amounts of government resources that could have been spent thinking about what it really means to increase productivity. As well, it just really makes things complicated.
Paul_Waldie  economists  Brexit  industrial_policies  innovation_policies  innovation  iPhone  Mariana_Mazzucato  infrastructure  austerity  government_intervention  PhDs  IMF  productivity  income_inequality 
december 2016 by jerryking
Some of the Wisest Words Ever Spoken About Investing - MoneyBeat - WSJ
By JASON ZWEIG
Nov 25, 2016

Investing is often portrayed as a battle between you and the markets. Instead, Graham wrote, “the investor’s chief problem — and even his worst enemy — is likely to be himself.”

Evaluating yourself honestly is at least as important as evaluating your investments accurately. If you don’t force yourself to learn your limits as an investor, then it doesn’t matter how much you learn about the markets: Your emotions will be your undoing....Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman with his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.
I’m especially grateful that he taught me this: “The most important question is, ‘What is the base rate?’”....Michael Mauboussin, a strategist at Credit Suisse, has taken that hint and compiled base rates for all sorts of corporate measures, so investors can readily check a company’s projections against reality.....From the economist and investing writer Peter Bernstein, who died in 2009, I learned about Pascal’s wager: You must weigh not only the alluring probabilities of being right, but the dire consequences of being wrong....Finally, Mr. Bernstein never tired of emphasizing that we can never know the future — least of all at the very moments when it seems most certain....Richard Dawkins pointed out in a lecture in 1996, many of us today know more about the world around us than Aristotle, the greatest mind of his age, did more than 2,300 years ago: “Science is cumulative, and we live later.”

Investing knowledge is also cumulative, and we all benefit from those who have already learned — and taught — how it works.
investing  investors  gratitude  Peter_Bernstein  wisdom  economists  Jason_Zweig  ETFs  books  Benjamin_Graham  pretense_of_knowledge  base_rates  Michael_Mauboussin  self-awareness  self-analysis  self-reflective  proclivities  probabilities  Pascal’s_wager  Daniel_Kahneman  delusions  self-delusions  emotions  Achilles’_heel  cumulative  Nobel_Prizes 
november 2016 by jerryking
Goodbye, Ivory Tower. Hello, Silicon Valley Candy Store. - The New York Times
By STEVE LOHR SEPT. 3, 2016

A number of tech companies are luring Ivy League economists out of academia with the promise of big sets of data and big salaries.

Silicon Valley is turning to the dismal science in its never-ending quest to squeeze more money out of old markets and build new ones. In turn, the economists say they are eager to explore the digital world for fresh insights into timeless economic questions of pricing, incentives and behavior....Businesses have been hiring economists for years. Usually, they are asked to study macroeconomic trends — topics like recessions and currency exchange rates — and help their employers deal with them.

But what the tech economists are doing is different: Instead of thinking about national or global trends, they are studying the data trails of consumer behavior to help digital companies make smart decisions that strengthen their online marketplaces in areas like advertising, movies, music, travel and lodging.

Tech outfits including giants like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft and up-and-comers like Airbnb and Uber hope that sort of improved efficiency means more profit....“They are microeconomic experts, heavy on data and computing tools like machine learning and writing algorithms,”
Silicon_Valley  massive_data_sets  economists  Steve_Lohr  Airbnb  Hal_Varian  digital_economy  academia  microeconomics  Ivy_League  insights  consumer_behavior  war_for_talent  talent 
september 2016 by jerryking
How I learnt to love the economic blogosphere
July 27, 2016 | FT.com | Giles Wilkes.

Marginal Revolution
Econlog
Cafe Hayek
Stumbling and Mumbling
Brad Delong
Nick Rowe - Worthwhile Canadian Initiative
Steve Randy Waldman - Interfluidity
Slack Wire - JW Mason

"Sympathetic opinions coalesce in clusters of mutual congratulation (“must read: fellow blogger agreeing with my point of view!”). Dispute is often foully bad-tempered. Opposing positions are usually subject to a three-phased assault of selective quotation, exaggeration and abuse.'..."Lacking an editor to roll their eyes and ask what’s new, many writers soon become stale... Editors exist not only to find interesting pieces to publish but also to hold at bay the unstructured abundance of bilge that we do not need to read."....."...nothing as reliably good as the (eonomics) blogosphere. Some of its advantages are simply practical: free data, synopses of academic papers that the casual dilettante is unlikely to ever come across, a constant sense of what clever people are thinking about. But what is better is how its ungated to-and-fro lets a reader eavesdrop on schools of academic thought in furious argument, rather than just be subject to whatever lecture a professor wishes to deliver. No one learns merely by reading conclusions. It is in the space between rival positions that insight sprouts up, from the synthesis of clashing thoughts. Traditional newspaper columns are delivered as if to an audience of a million, none of whom might reply. The best blogs are the opening salvo in a seminar rather than the last word on the matter. They dumb down less "....."Ancient thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes and Iriving Fisher were deployed not as some sort of academic comfort blanket but because their insights are still fresh, and beautifully written."..."Reading the economic blogosphere in 2008 felt to me like the modern equivalent of watching Friedrich Hayek, Keynes and Friedman quarrelling in front of a graduate class about how FDR should react to the depression. "...."Interfluidity is where to find such brilliancies as “the moral case for NGDP [Nominal Gross Domestic Product] targeting”, a political look at a seemingly technical subject, and “Greece”, a furious examination of how the term “moral hazard” is being traduced in the euro crisis. "..."Waldman’s thoughts go far beyond such a crude duality. After a long discussion of measurement problems, the institutional constraints on innovation and much more, he zeroes in on how governments build institutions to handle the disruption wrought by technological change. In a few hundred words he flips around Cowen’s stance and, instead of looking at the growth of government as the problem, makes a case for its opposite. Technological change creates concentrations of power, which “demands countervailing state action if any semblance of broad-based affluence and democratic government is to be sustained”. We have always needed institutions to divert spending power to those left behind, otherwise social disaster beckons. "....When reading, look for sources with something new to say!
economics  economists  blogosphere  Tyler_Cowen  Paul_Krugman  Adam_Smith  information_overload  social_media  Brad_Delong  blogs  Friedrich_Hayek  Milton_Friedman  political  economy  editors  tough-mindedness  FDR  Great_Depression  insights  John_Maynard_Keynes  sophisticated  disagreements  argumentation  technological_change  innovation_policies  moral_hazards 
july 2016 by jerryking
An American Dilemma - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy is a 1944 study of race relations authored by Swedish Nobel-laureate economist Gunnar Myrdal and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York. The foundation chose Myrdal because it thought that as a non-American, he could offer a more unbiased opinion. Myrdal's volume, at nearly 1,500 pages, painstakingly detailed what he saw as obstacles to full participation in American society that American Negroes faced as of the 1940s. Ralph Bunche served as Gunnar Myrdal's main researcher and writer at the start of the project in the Fall of 1938
wikipedia  African-Americans  economists  dilemmas  race_relations  '40s  Swedish  books 
july 2016 by jerryking
We pay a high economic price for a society of exclusion - The Globe and Mail
Apr. 08, 2016 |The Globe and Mail | TODD HIRSCH.

If citizens are excluded from meaningful involvement in their economic systems, policy solutions (e.g. A tax cut here, an infrastructure program there) none of it matters.....Donald Trump has tapped into a vein of discontent that isn’t going away, whether he wins the White House or not. Those disenfranchised from mainstream politics are connecting with Mr. Trump’s childish messages.....The common thread in protest movements like Occupy Wall Street and Idle No More is that people who are excluded from the mainstream economic and political systems that run a country are disconnected and their disconnection erodes the social and political stability-- the basic building blocks on which successful economies are built. ... If people lose faith in governments, if they become so hopeless about finding a way to achieve and succeed in the system, the system itself will start to collapse.

And following that will be an outflow of capital investment, entrepreneurial energy and intellectual might. Money, businesses and educated people – if they start pouring out, the economy doesn’t stand a chance.
aboriginals  capital_flows  civil_disobedience  covenants  disenfranchisement  disadvantages  Donald_Trump  economists  exclusion  policy  social_fabric  Idle_No_More  marginalization  social_cohesion  social_collaboration  patriotism  instability  Occupy_Wall_Street  talent_flows  hopelessness  protest_movements  social_integration  Todd_Hirsch 
april 2016 by jerryking
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy? - The Globe and Mail
Scott Barlow
Too much stuff, with no one to buy it: Is this the future economy?
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Feb. 02, 2016

University of California professor Brad DeLong’s “Economics and the Age of Abundance” highlighted the new economic study of global production growth – a new-ish school of thought that attributes much of the economic malaise in the developed world to a technology-driven “too much of everything.....The economic challenges of abundance, however, go far beyond commodities. There’s too many mutual funds, television channels, cereal brands, auto companies (China hasn’t even started exporting cars and trucks yet), land-line telephones, clothing brands, taxis, department stores and, if we’re being honest, journalism. Technology and its ability to increase productivity are to blame for virtually any major market sector beset with poor profit margins and layoffs. ....... The larger problem, and I suspect Mr. DeLong would agree, is that technology increases efficiencies and reduces the need for labour. A dystopian future in which anything can be produced quickly and cheaply, except everyone’s unemployed with no money to spend, is easy to envisage without considerable structural change in the economy.

Unemployment is the most severe outgrowth of abundance and low profitability ....... ......
abundance  economics  economists  Colleges_&_Universities  structural_change  developed_countries  dystopian_future  oversupply  technology  commodities  over_investment  scarcity  innovation  China  productivity  deflation  manufacturers  outsourcing  unemployment  job_destruction  job_displacement  downward_mobility  hollowing_out  books  developing_countries 
february 2016 by jerryking
What Scented Candles Say to an Economist - The New York Times
By DIANE COYLE NOV. 7, 2015

We need a wider variety of indicators to help us take a more accurate reading of the economy. Some of these might seem frivolous, but paying close attention to worldly detail could make forecasting more reliable.
(1) height of hemlines
(2) the number of cranes visible on the skyline
(3) Spending on luxury items is another example. During a boom, sales of fast cars, expensive paintings, prime real estate and diamond necklaces all soar, as do their prices.

Less obvious are trends in retailing. When the good times roll, people decide that their great idea for a specialty store is viable. Thus booms bring all those boutiques selling just one type of good: socks or scented candles or freshly squeezed juices. But like flowers that display the behavior known as nyctinasty — opening to the sun’s light and warmth — they close as soon as the skies darken and things start to cool.

(4) how easy, or otherwise, it is to get restaurant reservations or tickets for shows.
(5) how many “help wanted” signs appear in the windows of stores and restaurants.

....G.D.P. almost certainly fails to capture newer areas of economic activity, such as today’s digital innovation — so other sources of information are needed to fill the gap....economic policy makers usually scrutinize tens, or even hundreds, of indicators, covering different industries and assets, different parts of the country, different groups of people. They monitor jobs reports, advertising rates, wage settlements, the cost of shipping freight, asset prices, sales of consumer durables and much, much more.
economics  economists  forecasting  non-obvious  GDP  indicators  trends  retailers  boutiques  detail_oriented  economic_data  information_sources  policymakers  policymaking 
november 2015 by jerryking
Dewey, Cheatem & Howe - The New York Times
SEPT. 25, 2015
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Paul Krugman
Paul_Krugman  economists  Volkswagen 
september 2015 by jerryking
How Stanford Took On the Giants of Economics - The New York Times
SEPT. 10, 2015 | NYT | By NEIL IRWIN.

Stanford’s success with economists is part of a larger campaign to stake a claim as the country’s top university. Its draw combines a status as the nation’s “it” university — now with the lowest undergraduate acceptance rate and a narrow No. 2 behind Harvard for the biggest fund-raising haul — with its proximity to many of the world’s most dynamic companies. Its battle with Eastern universities echoes fights in other industries in which established companies, whether hotels or automobile makers, are being challenged by Silicon Valley money and entrepreneurship....reflection of a broader shift in the study of economics, in which the most cutting-edge work increasingly relies less on a big-brained individual scholar developing mathematical theories, and more on the ability to crunch extensive sets of data to glean insights about topics as varied as how incomes differ across society and how industries organize themselves....The specialties of the new recruits vary, but they are all examples of how the momentum in economics has shifted away from theoretical modeling and toward “empirical microeconomics,” the analysis of how things work in the real world, often arranging complex experiments or exploiting large sets of data. That kind of work requires lots of research assistants, work across disciplines including fields like sociology and computer science, and the use of advanced computational techniques unavailable a generation ago....Less clear is whether the agglomeration of economic stars at Stanford will ever amount to the kind of coherent school of thought that has been achieved at some other great universities (e.g. Milton Friedman's The Chicago School neoclassical focus on efficiency of markets and the risks of government intervention and M.I.T.’s economics' Keynesian tradition)
economics  economists  empiricism  in_the_real_world  Stanford  MIT  Harvard  Colleges_&_Universities  recruiting  poaching  movingonup  rankings  machine_learning  cross-disciplinary  massive_data_sets  data  uChicago  microeconomics  Keynesian  Chicago_School 
september 2015 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Mariana Mazzucato - FT.com
August 14, 2015 12:07 pm
Lunch with the FT: Mariana Mazzucato
John Thornhill

Mazzucato’s book The Entrepreneurial State

As Mazzucato explains it, the traditional way of framing the debate about wealth creation is to picture the private sector as a magnificent lion caged by the public sector. Remove the bars, and the lion roams and roars. In fact, she argues, private sector companies are rarely lions; far more often they are kittens. Managers tend to be more concerned with cutting costs, buying back their shares and maximising their share prices (and stock options) than they are in investing in research and development and boosting long-term growth.
“As soon as I started looking at these issues, I started realising how much language matters. If you just talk about the state as a facilitator, as a de-risker, as an incentiviser, as a fixer of market failures, it ends up structuring what you do,” she says. But the state plays a far more creative role, she insists, in terms of declaring grand missions (the US ambition to go to the moon, or the German goal of creating nuclear-free energy), and investing in the early-stage development of many industries, including semiconductors, the internet and fracking. “You always require the state to roar.”
... Some tech and pharmaceuticals companies are going to extravagant lengths to reduce their taxes, one of the ways in which they pay back the state. The more libertarian wing of Silicon Valley is even talking of secession from California so they can pay no tax at all. “Won’t it be nice when there’s the next tsunami and these guys call the coastguard,” she says....
One criticism of Mazzucato’s work is that she fetishises the public sector in much the same way that rightwing commentators idolise the private sector. She appears stung by the suggestion: “I’m from Italy, believe me, I don’t romanticise the state.” The challenge, she says, is to rebalance the relationship between the private sector, which is all too often overly financialised and parasitic, and the public sector, which is frequently unimaginative and fearful. “When you have a courageous, mission-oriented public sector, it affects not just investment but the relationships and the deals it does with the private sector,” she says. Europe’s leftwing parties could have run with this agenda. Instead, she says, they have “absolutely failed” to change the political discourse by obsessing about value extraction rather than value creation, by focusing more on taxing big business than fostering innovation.
economists  Silicon_Valley  public_sector  innovation  women  state-as-facilitator  Mariana_Mazzucato  books  DARPA  free-riding  de-risking  activism  moonshots 
august 2015 by jerryking
Tyler Cowen on inequality, Canada, and the state of global superpowers
Eva Salinas | May 1, 2015.

Tyler Cowen is an economist, academic and writer. His popular blog, Marginal Revolution, co-written with Alex Tabarrok, a colleague at George Mason University, turned Cowen into “an economics celebrity,” in the words of one LA Times writer. More recently, Cowen and Tabarrok ventured into the world of online education with their creation of Marginal Revolution University in 2012.
The author of ‘Average is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation’ was in Toronto earlier this year as the keynote speaker at the University of Toronto’s conference on Inequality.
Tyler_Cowen  economists  income_inequality  Canada  innovation  Silicon_Valley  averages  digital_economy  knowledge_economy  economic_stagnation  clusters  polymaths  the_Great_Decoupling 
may 2015 by jerryking
Economic stagnation is here to stay - The Globe and Mail
LAWRENCE MARTIN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Apr. 14 2015

The bleak economic predicament hasn’t received much attention. Seems we’re living under an illusion that we’re doing reasonably well, the reason being that until the recent oil price plunge the Conservatives pushed out a lot of feel-good messaging about Canada faring better in the wake of the global financial crisis than other major economies. But doing better than some rivals doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing well yourself.

Over and above the energy price fall, experts cite a range of causes for the inertia. A major one is productivity. “On that, we’re doing terribly relative to our own historic rate,” said economist Don Drummond, “and we’re doing terrible relative to the rate of almost every developed country.”

Our business class, he added, is neither aggressive nor entrepreneurial, consumer demand is inhibited by high household debt and we have an aging labour force that is only going to grow at about 1 per cent a year. The small increase will come from immigrants, who make lower wages.

“I don’t look for growth to be above 2 per cent on an average basis, I’d say, for the next 10 years,” Mr. Drummond said.
economics  Lawrence_Martin  economic_stagnation  slow_growth  Don_Drummond  productivity  economists  Christopher_Ragan  the_Great_Decoupling 
april 2015 by jerryking
Economists’ magic
John Kenneth Galbraith’s admonition: “The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists....
economists  economics  John_Kenneth_Galbraith  forecasting  quotes  from notes
march 2015 by jerryking
Innovation vacuum imperils Alberta’s economic juggernaut - The Globe and Mail
TODD HIRSCH
Innovation vacuum imperils Alberta’s economic juggernaut Add to ...
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 22 2014

The province ranked second to the bottom in research and development spending, employment in high-tech and knowledge-intensive services, and investment in machinery and equipment. It ranked dead last in labour productivity growth in construction. In fact, most of Alberta’s serious shortfalls point to two broad areas of concern: innovation and productivity.

Innovation is the “it” word these days in economic circles, but to be honest, it’s a bit slippery to define. The Alberta Economic Development Authority (AEDA) uses the Conference Board of Canada’s definition of the former: “The extraction of economic and social value from knowledge.” And productivity is simply the ability to produce more with fewer resources. Economists agree that without these, you’re doomed.

Some of Alberta’s shortcomings in innovation have explanations. Lower-than-average R&D spending reflects the uniqueness of oil and gas extraction. The petroleum industry doesn’t operate like other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, information and communications technology, or consumer-driven manufacturing where research is done in a laboratory and spending is easy to track. Oil and gas “research” is much more likely to take place at the drill site or in the actual physical exploration. It’s done through trial and error – tweaks to methods and practices are constantly improving efficiency and reducing costs. It never gets counted as “spending on R&D” but it doesn’t mean research isn’t happening.

Alberta’s last place ranking in labour productivity growth in construction corroborates a Statistics Canada report on business innovation, released in February. Apparently, only 12.5 per cent of Alberta construction companies are actively investing in new technologies, compared to about 33 per cent in Ontario and 30 per cent nationally.
Alberta  innovation  innovation_policies  oil_industry  Todd_Hirsch  shortcomings  R&D  laggards  trial_&_error  productivity  innovation_vacuum  economists 
september 2014 by jerryking
Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt teach us how to think like a freak - The Globe and Mail
IVOR TOSSELL
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 23 2014

In a collection of stories that read like modern parables, Mr. Dubner and Mr. Levitt try to teach their approach to problem-solving to the rest of us, with tactics that range from “thinking like a child” to devising incentives for miscreants to reveal themselves....they want to deputize the entire world to think differently about the world's problems differently... there’s a growing body of research that suggests the human mind does a lot of things incredibly well between the ages of late childhood and late adolescence.

I asked these kids, what if I told you that your brain right now, at 13, is almost at its peak power, and that you have another 12 or 15 years where it’s just gonna be kicking ass, and then it’s going to start to diminish. Once you start to think about that, what would you use your brain to do now, knowing that it’s a perishable resource?

That for me was a takeaway I got from the book. I really want to encourage my kids to understand that their brains are not the premature versions of the adult brains. Their brains are the optimal brain. When we say, “think like a child,” if you’re over 25 or 30, that’s the best we can do.
economists  book_reviews  incentives  freakonomics  economics  takeaways  books  thinking  howto  children  cognitive_skills  problem_solving  conventional_wisdom  metacognition  think_differently 
may 2014 by jerryking
Being the best at something - Western Alumni
by Paul Wells, BA'89 May 6, 2014

It was at Western I learned that one of the options open to any ordinary kid was to be the best in the world at something. The “something” in question could be just about anything. That sense of a university as a community of achievement is yet another reason why the notion of a university as a physical place, a meeting place for thousands of young people and the ghosts of all who came before them, is nowhere close to being obsolete.
Paul_Wells  UWO  alumni  economists  music  best_of  Pablo_Picasso  physical_place  Colleges_&_Universities  meeting_place 
may 2014 by jerryking
The Piketty Panic - NYTimes.com
APRIL 24, 2014
Continue reading the main story

Paul Krugman
Paul_Krugman  Thomas_Piketty  economists  income_distribution  books 
april 2014 by jerryking
The Piketty Phenomenon - NYTimes.com
APRIL 24, 2014
Continue reading the main story

David Brooks
David_Brooks  Thomas_Piketty  economists  books 
april 2014 by jerryking
Clive Thomas: Thank you for the revolution : Kaieteur News
April 6, 2014 | By KNews | Filed Under Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
economists  Guyanese 
april 2014 by jerryking
How Jeffrey Sachs failed to save Africa - The Globe and Mail
Margaret Wente

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Sep. 21 2013

What he forgot was the human factor. It turns out that people are not always rational. They don’t always do what’s in their own best interests, even when the benefits are completely clear to a development economist.....At every turn, Mr. Sachs’s master plan was undermined by culture.
Jeffrey_Sachs  economics  Africa  economic_development  Margaret_Wente  economists  failure  human_factor 
november 2013 by jerryking
Economist Edmund Phelps on restoring the spirit of adventure
Oct. 04 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by BRIAN MILNER.

Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge and Change,

Columbia University economist Edmund Phelps made some waves at a conference in Beijing last month that included three fellow Nobel Prize winners. His blunt message: Too many young Chinese are intent on pursuing government jobs that are a waste of their talents and education. What is being lost in this “public servant frenzy” to obtain secure but unrewarding work is the eagerness to embrace risks, strike out in new directions and spark the widespread innovation needed to develop a thriving modern economy.
economists  innovation  books  China  risk-taking  Nobel_Prizes 
october 2013 by jerryking
When it comes to innovation, Canada needs more inquisitive minds
Sept. 11 2013 | The Globe and Mail | by TODD HIRSCH.

There are solutions to Canada’s innovation deficit. The Conference Board of Canada, which prepared the Canadian analysis for the WEF report, makes several smart suggestions. Encouraging more spending on R&D, making better use of advanced technology, and increasing the research linkages between universities and industry all make sense.

But a big part of the problem is our knee-jerk reaction to expect governments to provide the solutions. Need corporate R&D? Ask Ottawa for more tax credits. Lacking venture capital? Insist tax dollars are put into a fund. Want more high tech? Demand provincial governments to spend more on university research.

Good public policies can certainly nudge us in the right direction, but it’s lazy to sit back and wait for government to solve the problem. The truth is that tax credits and research subsidies do not drive innovation. Curiosity drives innovation.

Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of “what policy can drive innovation?”, we need to ask “how can we become a society of inquisitive individuals?” That’s a more difficult question. It is too simplistic to call for more creativity in the classrooms, but surely strong literacy skills at an early age form the bedrock of curiosity and innovative thinking in adulthood. Children who are encouraged to read, to question, to wonder and to imagine will carry those abilities with them into adulthood.
bottom-up  Todd_Hirsch  economists  innovation  competitiveness_of_nations  Canada  Canadian  WEF  rankings  curiosity  counterintuitive  public_policy  inquisitiveness  literacy  reframing  problem_framing  children  parenting  fascination  asking_the_right_questions  questions 
september 2013 by jerryking
Coase’s theories helped understanding of Internet’s impact on how business is done
Sep. 08 2013 |The Globe and Mail | DON TAPSCOTT.

Mr. Coase wondered why there was no market within the firm. Why is it unprofitable to have each worker, each step in the production process, become an independent buyer and seller? Why doesn’t the draftsperson auction their services to the engineer? Why is it that the engineer does not sell designs to the highest bidder? Mr. Coase argued that preventing this from happening created marketplace friction.

Mr. Coase argued that this friction gave rise to transaction costs – or to put it more broadly, collaboration or relationship costs. There are three types of these relationship costs. First are search costs, such as the hunt for appropriate suppliers. Second are contractual costs, including price and contract negotiations. Third are the co-ordination costs of meshing the different products and processes.

The upshot is that most vertically integrated corporations found it cheaper and simpler to perform most functions in-house, rather than incurring the cost, hassle and risk of constant transactions with outside partners.

It makes sense for a firm to expand until the cost of performing a transaction inside the firm exceeds the cost of performing the transaction outside the firm. This is why large, insular corporations prevailed in the industrial economy.
Don_Tapscott  Ronald_Coase  transaction_costs  frictions  economists  large_companies  Coase's_Law  industrial_economy 
september 2013 by jerryking
More Data Can Mean Less Guessing About the Economy - NYTimes.com
By STEVE LOHR
Published: September 7, 2013

measurement shortfall in the small-business sector, and a series of other information gaps in the economy, may be overcome by what experts say is an emerging data revolution — Big Data, in the current catchphrase. The ever-expanding universe of digital signals of behavior, from browsing and buying on the Web to cellphone location data, is grist for potential breakthroughs in economic measurement. It could produce more accurate forecasting and more informed policy-making — more science and less guesswork.... THE economics profession is gearing up to exploit new sources of digital data. In a recent paper, “The Data Revolution and Economic Analysis,” two Stanford economists, Liran Einav and Jonathan Levin, concluded that “there is little doubt, at least in our minds, that over the next decades ‘big data’ will change the landscape of economic policy and economic research.”

At Intuit, the small-business data portray a sector that was “hurt much more than big business by the recession and its recovery has been far worse,” says Ms. Woodward, the economic consultant. Over the last three and a half years, payroll employment for all companies has increased 6.9 percent, while small-business employment has risen far less, just 1.9 percent. Hiring among the small companies, though still sluggish, has inched ahead in the last three months.
data  Steve_Lohr  massive_data_sets  Intuit  information_sources  small_business  measurements  Freshbooks  economy  Erik_Brynjolfsson  economics  indicators  real-time  forecasting  economic_data  information_gaps  signals  economists  data_driven 
september 2013 by jerryking
Ronald H. Coase, a Law Professor and Leading Economist, Dies at 102 - NYTimes.com
By PATRICK J. LYONS
Published: September 3, 2013

At the University of London, he was on his way to becoming an industrial lawyer when a seminar with Sir Arnold Plant, a well-known economist of the time, changed his focus again, this time for good. After graduating from the London School of Economics, he taught there and at other British universities, and married Marion Ruth Hartung in 1937. The couple immigrated to the United States in 1951, when he joined the faculty of the State University of New York at Buffalo. He left for the University of Virginia in 1958.

While teaching at Virginia, Professor Coase submitted his essay about the F.C.C. to The Journal of Law and Economics, a new periodical at the University of Chicago. The astonished faculty there wondered, according to one of their number, George J. Stigler, “how so fine an economist could make such an obvious mistake.” They invited Professor Coase to dine at the home of Aaron Director, the founder of the journal, and explain his views to a group that included Milton Friedman and several other Nobel laureates-to-be.

“In the course of two hours of argument, the vote went from 20 against and one for Coase, to 21 for Coase,” Professor Stigler later wrote. “What an exhilarating event! I lamented afterward that we had not had the clairvoyance to tape it.” Professor Coase was asked to expand on the ideas in that essay for the journal. The result was “The Problem of Social Cost.”

Professor Coase was soon invited to become editor of the journal, and to join the Chicago faculty, where he stayed the rest of his life, disdaining the equation-heavy approach of what he called “blackboard economics” in favor of insights grounded in real markets and human behavior.

By identifying transaction costs and explaining their effects, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences wrote in announcing his prize in 1991, “Coase may be said to have identified a new set of ‘elementary particles’ in the economic system.”
obituaries  economists  lawyers  NPSIA  regulation  property_rights  human_behavior  transaction_costs  FCC  broadcasting  Ronald_Coase  Nobel_Prizes  Coase's_Law  behaviours  frictions  social_costs 
september 2013 by jerryking
How Dr. King Shaped My Work in Economics - NYTimes.com
August 27, 2013| NYT | By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ.

The battle against outright discrimination is, regrettably far from over: 50 years after the march, and 45 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, major United States banks, like Wells Fargo, still discriminate on the basis of race, targeting the most vulnerable of our citizens for their predatory lending activities. Discrimination in the job market is pervasive and deep. Research suggests that applicants with African-American sounding names get fewer calls for interviews. Discrimination takes new forms; racial profiling remains rampant in many American cities, including through the stop-and-frisk policies that became standard practice in New York. Our incarceration rate is the world’s highest, although there are signs, finally, that fiscally strapped states are starting to see the folly, if not the inhumanity, of wasting so much human capital through mass incarceration. Almost 40 percent of prisoners are black. This tragedy has been documented powerfully by Michelle Alexander and other legal scholars.
African-Americans  books  economics  economists  fallacies_follies  human_capital  incarceration  Joseph_Stiglitz  mass_incarceration  MLK  predatory_practices  racial_discrimination  racial_disparities  social_justice 
august 2013 by jerryking
Why Innovation Is Still Capitalism’s Star - NYTimes.com
By ROBERT J. SHILLER
Published: August 17, 2013

Edmund S. Phelps, a professor of economics at Columbia University and a Nobel laureate, has written an interesting new book on the subject. It’s called “Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge and Change” (Princeton University Press), and it contains a complex new analysis of the importance of an entrepreneurial culture.

Professor Phelps discerns a troubling trend in many countries, however, even the United States. He is worried about corporatism, a political philosophy in which economic activity is controlled by large interest groups or the government. Once corporatism takes hold in a society, he says, people don’t adequately appreciate the contributions and the travails of individuals who create and innovate. An economy with a corporatist culture can copy and even outgrow others for a while, he says, but, in the end, it will always be left behind. Only an entrepreneurial culture can lead. ... In 1991, I started a business with Karl Case, an economics professor at Wellesley College, and Allan Weiss, a former student of mine at Yale. We called it Case Shiller Weiss, Inc., and it was devoted to an innovation we dreamed up. The idea was a new “repeat sale” home price index — which would track the changes in the value of the same houses over time.

At the time, this was an entirely new line of business. And, at first, that posed a problem: we were spectacularly unsuccessful in raising money.
Robert_Shiller  innovation  Colleges_&_Universities  Nobel_Prizes  capitalism  entrepreneurship  Obama  3-D  economists  books  corporatism  job_creation  crony_capitalism  indices 
august 2013 by jerryking
Chrystia Freeland | Analysis & Opinion
May 23, 2013 | | Reuters.com |By Chrystia Freeland.

Daron Acemoglu of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and James Robinson of Harvard University.

In their seminal 2012 book, “Why Nations Fail,” Acemoglu and Robinson offered a powerful new framework for understanding why some societies thrive and others decline – those based on inclusive growth succeed, while those where growth is extractive wither.

Their new study, “Economics Versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice,” will be published later this year in the Journal of Economic Perspectives and is available now in draft form as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. It tackles an essential subject in the age of technocracy: the limits of technocratic thinking as a basis for policy.

Their critique is not the standard technocrat’s lament that wise policy is, alas, politically impossible to implement. Instead, their concern is that policy which is eminently sensible in theory can fail in practice because of its unintended political consequences.
Chrystia_Freeland  books  economists  unintended_consequences  failed_states  Non-Integrating_Gap  policymakers  policymaking 
may 2013 by jerryking
Think markets raise capital? Think again.
March 25, 2013 | G&M | John Kay as told to Brian Milner

On the glut of information available to investors:

“We need to dispose of the idea that more information is better and eliminate informa...
economists  information_overload  investment_custodians  relevance  middlemen  dysfunction  money_management  asset_management  capital_markets  noise  incentives  conflicts_of_interest  from notes
march 2013 by jerryking
Economist Ricardo Hausmann Says U.S. Should Reinvent Manufacturing
January 4, 2013 | MIT Technology Review | By Antonio Regalado.

[ less keen on setting up entire industries at home and instead try to insert themselves into global supply chains. Sometimes this means changing, not just exploiting, their comparative advantage.]

Using complexity theory and trade data, Hausmann looks at what a country is good at making and predicts what types of more valuable items it could produce next.

That sounds plain enough, but the results of Hausmann’s analyses are often surprising. A country with a competitive garment industry might want to move into electronics assembly—both need an industrial zone with quality electrical power and good logistics. A country that exports flowers may find it has the expertise in cold-storage logistics necessary to spark an export boom in fresh produce.
economists  manufacturers  reinvention  competitiveness_of_nations  industrial_zones  competitive_advantage  economies_of_scope  linkages  policymaking  kaleidoscopic  comparative_advantage  supply_chains  value_chains  capabilities  cold_storage 
march 2013 by jerryking
A Chance to Lift the 'Aid Curse' - WSJ.com
March 22, 2005 | WSJ | By JAGDISH BHAGWATI.

even as aid proponents now ask for each OECD country to spend 0.7% of GNP on foreign aid, and for the bulk of it to be spent in Africa, there are many skeptics who argue that these targets are overambitious. These are not indifferent folk, morally defective; they include developmental economists familiar with the history of aid and Africanists with experience of the continent. Their worry is that the absorptive capacity in many of the countries where the substantially increased aid funds will be spent is limited.
Africa  foreign_aid  OECD  economists  absorptive_capacity 
december 2012 by jerryking
MIT Forged Activist Views, Ties of Central Bankers - WSJ.com
December 11, 2012 | WSJ | By JON HILSENRATH.

MIT Forged Activist Views of Central Bank Role and Cinched Central Bankers' Ties
MIT  economists  Colleges_&_Universities  central_banking  central_banks  Keynesian 
december 2012 by jerryking
The world according to Tyler Cowen - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL POSNER

The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Sep. 10 2012

50-year-old Tyler Cowen is a formidable presence on the American economic landscape. Chairman of Economics at George Mason University in Virginia, he is a prolific writer and editor and blogger; his Marginal Revolution – co-written with his Canadian colleague Alex Tabarrok – is among the best read blogs in the field. His last book,The Great Stagnation, was a bestseller. His next, he told Globe and Mail reporter Michael Posner in an interview, will explore what the path out of the great stagnation will look like.
economists  economic_downturn  books  economic_stagnation  the_Great_Decoupling  Tyler_Cowen  prolificacy 
september 2012 by jerryking
Irrational Act
02.14.05 | Forbes | Rich Karlgaard.

Few can can explain why capitalism works. Economists, trapped in the closed loop of supply and demand, can only make a dismal pseudo-scientific hash of it. Out in the real world people are inspired by ideas. Some are even willing to suffer irrational odds in an effort to turn their ideas into innovations. Most fail, but even the failures add to our knowledge. The pursuit of innovation by entrepreneurs willing to give before they get creates discontinuities that shatter the predictable loop of supply and demand. Entropy and monopoly alike are defeated by innovation. That is how capitalism works. It starts with an irrational act of giving.

Why does tithing work? Nobody knows. Only that it does for many.
in_the_real_world  Rich_Karlgaard  capitalism  tithing  discontinuities  innovation  irrationality  leaps_of_faith  ideas  economic_dynamism  economists  ideaviruses 
august 2012 by jerryking
Africa Must Play a Part in Its Own Development - WSJ.com
August 15, 2003 |WSJ | Gralee Parr.

The authors cite Uganda as a modest success story, writing that President Yoweri Museveni is "authoritarian," but "seeks to run a rule-based society, not one run by mercurial fiat." In the book "Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa," author Keith Richburg recalls asking Mr. Museveni why Africa hadn't developed. Mr. Museveni ascribed it to "discipline." He added, "I tend to find more discipline among the Ugandan Asians than among the Africans," though he couldn't fully explain why. Cultural differences clearly are key.

Prosperous societies can't exist in a vacuum. As economist Thomas Sowell has shown, the cultural values of a people strongly influence their skills, choices of work and level of success. So the real question for Africans must be, "How can we change our cultural values in order to promote freedom and prosperity?" Unfortunately, until those values do change, Africa will continue to be poor.
letters_to_the_editor  Africa  Uganda  poverty  economists  values  Thomas_Sowell  self-help  economic_development  authoritarian  self-discipline  cultural_values  books  rules-based 
august 2012 by jerryking
If Economists Are So Smart, Why Is Africa So Poor? - WSJ.com
July 30, 2003 | WSJ | By STEPHEN HABER, DOUGLASS C. NORTH and BARRY R. WEINGAST
economists  Africa  Zimbabwe  Liberia  Congo  poverty 
august 2012 by jerryking
Africa's Poverty Trap - WSJ.com
March 23, 2007 | WSJ |By WILLIAM R. EASTERLY.

Economists involved in Africa then and now undervalued free markets, instead coming up with one of the worst ideas ever: state direction by the states least able to direct.

African governments are not the only ones that are bad, but they have ranked low for decades on most international comparisons of corruption, state failure, red tape, lawlessness and dictatorship. Nor is recognizing such bad government "racist" -- this would be an insult to the many Africans who risk their lives to protest their own bad governments. Instead, corrupt and mismanaged governments on the continent reflect the unhappy way in which colonizers artificially created most nations, often combining antagonistic ethnicities. Anyway, the results of statist economics by bad states was a near-zero rise in GDP per capita for Ghana, and the same for the average African nation, over the last 50 years....The cowed IMF and the World Bank never mention the words "free market" in thousands of pages devoted to ending poverty. Even the World Bank's 2005 World Development Report "A Better Investment Climate for Everyone" doesn't mention the forbidden words.World Bank economists are so scared of offending anyone on Africa that they recite tautologies.
William_Easterly  Africa  economists  IMF  World_Bank  foreign_aid  free_markets  failed_states  lawlessness  corruption  poverty  mismanagement  misrule  governance  poor_governance  misgovernance 
august 2012 by jerryking
Crovitz: 'Spectrum Auctions'—There's an App for That - WSJ.com
July 18, 2011 | WSJ | By L. GORDON CROVITZ

Spectrum Auctions? There's an App for That
It only took 50 years for the feds to realize that economist Ronald Coase was right.
L._Gordon_Crovtiz  economists  auctions  wireless  wireless_networks  Ronald_Coase  wireless_spectrum  Coase's_Law 
july 2012 by jerryking
Ride to the rescue of workers
Aug. 15 2007 | The Globe and Mail | JIM STANFORD. Economist with the Canadian Auto Workers Union

So imagine how surprised I was at the bank's rapid, powerful interventions into financial markets recently, issuing more than $4-billion in new low-cost loans in just three trading days to soothe frazzled nerves and keep the easy-credit machine out of the ditch. And it signalled in no uncertain terms there was plenty more where that came from.

Far from sitting back watching the economy "adjust to change," this drama featured the central bank as cavalry - charging over the hill just as the hedge-fund artists were making their last stand. Seems the prospect of bankrupt speculators tossed onto the street, forced to find real work, isn't the kind of change the bank has in mind. Now, don't get me wrong: What the bank did was prudent and important....This selective, one-sided approach to stabilization speaks volumes about the nature of the bank as an institution, and the biases of the inflation-targeting regime it espouses so passionately. The Bank of Canada is not a neutral, prescient team of technocrats, guiding us to some imaginary point of maximum efficiency. Like any other political body, its opinions and actions reflect value judgments about the relative importance of differing, sometimes conflicting, goals and interests. Job creation versus inflation control. Consumer inflation versus stock-market inflation. Financial troubles versus industrial troubles.

So, Governor Dodge, please carry on with your dramatic rescue mission. Just spread a little of that rescue around to the rest of us next time.
Jim_Stanford  economists  layoffs  manufacturers  bubbles  Bank_of_Canada  CAW  central_banks  biases  values  tradeoffs  financial_markets  politics  institutions  value_judgements  pairs 
june 2012 by jerryking
Lunch with the FT: Esther Duflo - FT.com
March 17, 2012 1:11 am
Lunch with the FT: Esther Duflo

By John Gapper
randomized  MIT  economists  economic_development  poverty  Esther_Duflo 
march 2012 by jerryking
Three Core Questions
OCTOBER 27, 2006 | SmartMoney.com | By DONALD LUSKIN.

Canadian economists Dan Ciuriak and John Curtis argue in a provocative new study that maybe we have “everything all wrong” about how the global economy works. They’ve identified a series of anomalies that “call into question the basic understanding of economics that underpins policy formulation today,” in their paper, What If Everything We Know About Economic Policy is Wrong?
personal_finance  Ken_Fisher  investment_advice  economists  anomalies  questions  pretense_of_knowledge  think_threes  global_economy 
october 2011 by jerryking
The Untapped Talent That Can Juice the Economy - BusinessWeek
September 30, 2011, 4:25 PM EDT

...Trying to stimulate the economy by encouraging more people to go into business for themselves doesn’t appear to work. That’s because entrepreneurial talent can’t be quickly built by giving people a short class in writing a business plan or using QuickBooks. If we can influence entrepreneurial talent at all—an open question—it takes long-term investments in education.....The levers policymakers can influence in the short term—giving entrepreneurs more access to credit or training people in business startup skills—also do little because these factors are only a small part of what limits the supply of entrepreneurial talent. .... Instead of trying to increase the amount of entrepreneurial talent in the economy, policymakers should provide incentives to reallocate that talent from unproductive or destructive forms of entrepreneurship to more productive forms.
To Baumol, entrepreneurship takes three forms: productive, unproductive, and destructive. Productive entrepreneurship is the kind we all want. ...policymakers will get more bang for the policy buck if they concentrate instead on encouraging those who have entrepreneurial talent to use it for productive purposes.

Examples of incentive are: tax earnings from business activities that merely shift wealth from one party to another at a higher rate than money made from productive entrepreneurship. We could forgive student loans of productive entrepreneurs, but not the unproductive ones. We could even make credit cheaper for productive entrepreneurs than for the wealth-shifting types.

Efforts to encourage anyone to start a business have done little for growth. Getting skilled professionals to focus on "productive" ventures makes more sense

By Scott Shane
entrepreneurship  policymaking  policymakers  economists  small_business  productivity  talent_allocation  gazelles  incentives 
october 2011 by jerryking
The Experience Economy - NYTimes.com
February 14, 2011| NYT| By DAVID BROOKS. Tyler Cowen’s e-book,
“The Great Stagnation,” has become the most debated nonfiction book so
far this year. Cowen’s core point is that up until sometime around 1974,
the American economy was able to experience awesome growth by
harvesting low-hanging fruit. There was cheap land to be exploited.
There was the tremendous increase in education levels during the postwar
world. There were technological revolutions occasioned by the spread of
electricity, plastics and the car. But that low-hanging fruit is
exhausted, Cowen continues, and since 1974, the United States has
experienced slower growth, slower increases in median income, slower job
creation, slower productivity gains, slower life-expectancy
improvements and slower rates of technological change.
David_Brooks  book_reviews  books  economic_stagnation  technological_change  downward_mobility  economists  economic_downturn  the_Great_Decoupling  slow_growth  '70s  experience  experience_economy 
february 2011 by jerryking
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