nhaliday + market-power   53

Overcoming Bias : What’s So Bad About Concentration?
And occurs to me to mention that when these models allow “free entry”, i.e., when the number of firms is set by the constraint that they must all expect to make non-negative profits, then such models consistently predict that too many firms enter, not too few. These models suggest that we should worry more about insufficient, not excess, concentration.
ratty  hanson  economics  industrial-org  contrarianism  critique  models  GT-101  game-theory  examples  market-power  rent-seeking  regulation  increase-decrease  signum  error  markets  biases  efficiency 
7 weeks ago by nhaliday
What Peter Thiel thinks about AI risk - Less Wrong
TL;DR: he thinks its an issue but also feels AGI is very distant and hence less worried about it than Musk.

I recommend the rest of the lecture as well, it's a good summary of "Zero to One"  and a good QA afterwards.

For context, in case anyone doesn't realize: Thiel has been MIRI's top donor throughout its history.

other stuff:
nice interview question: "thing you know is true that not everyone agrees on?"
"learning from failure overrated"
cleantech a huge market, hard to compete
software makes for easy monopolies (zero marginal costs, network effects, etc.)
for most of history inventors did not benefit much (continuous competition)
ethical behavior is a luxury of monopoly
ratty  lesswrong  commentary  ai  ai-control  risk  futurism  technology  speedometer  audio  presentation  musk  thiel  barons  frontier  miri-cfar  charity  people  track-record  venture  startups  entrepreneurialism  contrarianism  competition  market-power  business  google  truth  management  leadership  socs-and-mops  dark-arts  skunkworks  hard-tech  energy-resources  wire-guided  learning  software  sv  tech  network-structure  scale  marginal  cost-benefit  innovation  industrial-revolution  economics  growth-econ  capitalism  comparison  nationalism-globalism  china  asia  trade  stagnation  things  dimensionality  exploratory  world  developing-world  thinking  definite-planning  optimism  pessimism  intricacy  politics  war  career  planning  supply-demand  labor  science  engineering  dirty-hands  biophysical-econ  migration  human-capital  policy  canada  anglo  winner-take-all  polarization  amazon  business-models  allodium  civilization  the-classics  microsoft  analogy  gibbon  conquest-empire  realness  cynicism-idealism  org:edu  open-closed  ethics  incentives  m 
february 2018 by nhaliday
What era are our intuitions about elites and business adapted to? – Gene Expression
Above natural states are open-access orders, which characterize societies that have market economies and competitive politics. Here access to the elite is open to anyone who can prove themselves worthy — it is not artificially restricted in order to preserve large rents for the incumbents. The pie can be made bigger with more people at the top, since you only get to the top in such societies by making and selling things that people want. Elite members compete against each other based on the quality and price of the goods and services they sell — it’s a mercantile elite — rather than based on who is better at violence than the others. If the elites are flabby, upstarts can readily form their own organizations — as opposed to not having the freedom to do so — that, if better, will dethrone the incumbents. Since violence is no longer part of elite competition, homicide rates are the lowest of all types of societies.

OK, now let’s take a look at just two innate views that most people have about how the business world works or what economic elites are like, and see how these are adaptations to natural states rather than to the very new open-access orders (which have only existed in Western Europe since about 1850 or so). One is the conviction, common even among many businessmen, that market share matters more than making profits — that being more popular trumps being more profitable. The other is most people’s mistrust of companies that dominate their entire industry, like Microsoft in computers.
gnxp  scitariat  reflection  farmers-and-foragers  sapiens  instinct  politics  coalitions  anthropology  cultural-dynamics  political-econ  polisci  leviathan  north-weingast-like  unintended-consequences  open-closed  biases  government  markets  market-power  rent-seeking  capitalism  democracy  roots  EEA  inequality  egalitarianism-hierarchy  business  cost-benefit  interests  elite  hari-seldon 
december 2017 by nhaliday
The Political Typology: Beyond Red vs. Blue | Pew Research Center
The new typology has eight groups: Three are strongly ideological, highly politically engaged and overwhelmingly partisan – two on the right and one on the left. Steadfast Conservatives are staunch critics of government and the social safety net and are very socially conservative. Business Conservatives share Steadfast Conservatives’ preference for limited government, but differ in their support for Wall Street and business, as well as immigration reform. And Business Conservatives are far more moderate on social issues than are Steadfast Conservatives.

At the other end of the spectrum, Solid Liberals express liberal attitudes across almost every realm – government, the economy and business and foreign policy, as well as on race, homosexuality and abortion – and are reliable and loyal Democratic voters.

Taken together, these three groups form the electoral base of the Democratic and Republican Parties, and their influence on American politics is strong. While Solid Liberals, Steadfast Conservatives and Business Conservatives collectively make up only 36% of the American public, they represent 43% of registered voters and fully 57% of the more politically engaged segment of the American public: those who regularly vote and routinely follow government and public affairs.

The other typology groups are less partisan, less predictable and have little in common with each other or the groups at either end of the political spectrum. The one thing they do share is that they are less engaged politically than the groups on the right or left.

Young Outsiders lean Republican but do not have a strong allegiance to the Republican Party; in fact they tend to dislike both political parties. On many issues, from their support for environmental regulation to their liberal views on social issues, they diverge from traditional GOP orthodoxy. Yet in their support for limited government, Young Outsiders are firmly in the Republicans’ camp.

Hard-Pressed Skeptics have been battered by the struggling economy, and their difficult financial circumstances have left them resentful of both government and business. Despite their criticism of government performance, they back more generous government support for the poor and needy. Most Hard-Pressed Skeptics say they voted for Obama in 2012, though fewer than half approve of his job performance today.

The Next Generation Left are young, relatively affluent and very liberal on social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. But they have reservations about the cost of social programs. And while most of the Next Generation Left support affirmative action, they decisively reject the idea that racial discrimination is the main reason why many blacks are unable to get ahead.

The Faith and Family Left lean Democratic, based on their confidence in government and support for federal programs to address the nation’s problems. But this very religious, racially and ethnically diverse group is uncomfortable with the pace of societal change, including the acceptance of homosexuality and non-traditional family structures.

And finally, an eighth group, the Bystanders, representing 10% of the public, are on the sidelines of the political process. They are not registered to vote and pay very little attention to politics.

...

The Faith and Family Left is by far the most racially and ethnically diverse group in the typology: In fact, just 41% are white non-Hispanic; 30% are black, 19% are Hispanic and 8% are other or mixed race. The Faith and Family Left also is less affluent and less educated than the other Democratically-oriented groups, and is older as well.

They also have strong religious convictions, which distinguishes them from Solid Liberals and the Next Generation Left. Fully 91% say “it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.” No more than about one-in-ten in the other Democratically-oriented groups agree. And the Faith and Family Left have much more conservative positions on social issues. Just 37% favor same-sex marriage, less than half the share of the other two groups on the left.

The Faith and Family Left support activist government and a strong social safety net, though by less overwhelming margins than Solid Liberals. And while the Faith and Family Left support affirmative action programs, just 31% believe that “racial discrimination is the main reason many black people can’t get ahead these days.” Among the much less racially diverse Solid Liberals, 80% think racial discrimination is the main barrier to black progress.

...

First, Steadfast Conservatives take very conservative views on key social issues like homosexuality and immigration, while Business Conservatives are less conservative – if not actually progressive – on these issues. Nearly three-quarters of Steadfast Conservatives (74%) believe that homosexuality should be discouraged by society. Among Business Conservatives, just 31% think homosexuality should be discouraged; 58% believe it should be accepted.

Business Conservatives have generally positive attitudes toward immigrants and 72% favor a “path to citizenship” for those in the U.S. illegally, if they meet certain conditions. Steadfast Conservatives are more critical of immigrants; 50% support a path to citizenship, the lowest share of any typology group.

Second, just as Steadfast Conservatives are opposed to big government, they also are skeptical of big business. They believe that large corporations have too much power, and nearly half (48%) say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests. By contrast, as their name suggests, Business Conservatives are far more positive about the free market, and overwhelmingly regard business – and Wall Street – positively.

group profiles (including demographics): http://www.people-press.org/2014/06/26/appendix-1-typology-group-profiles/

2017 redux:
Political Typology Reveals Deep Fissures on the Right and Left: http://www.people-press.org/2017/10/24/political-typology-reveals-deep-fissures-on-the-right-and-left/
Nearly a year after Donald Trump was elected president, the Republican coalition is deeply divided on such major issues as immigration, America’s role in the world and the fundamental fairness of the U.S. economic system.

The Democratic coalition is largely united in staunch opposition to President Trump. Yet, while Trump’s election has triggered a wave of political activism within the party’s sizable liberal bloc, the liberals’ sky-high political energy is not nearly as evident among other segments in the Democratic base. And Democrats also are internally divided over U.S. global involvement, as well as some religious and social issues.

...

Divisions on the right

The political typology finds two distinctly different groups on the right – Core Conservatives and Country First Conservatives, who both overwhelmingly approve of Trump, but disagree on much else – including immigration and whether it benefits the U.S. to be active internationally.

Core Conservatives, who are in many ways the most traditional group of Republicans, have an outsized influence on the GOP coalition; while they make up just 13% of the public – and about a third (31%) of all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents – they constitute a much larger share (43%) of politically engaged Republicans.

This financially comfortable, male-dominated group overwhelmingly supports smaller government, lower corporate tax rates and believes in the fairness of the nation’s economic system. And a large majority of Core Conservatives (68%) express a positive view of U.S. involvement in the global economy “because it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth.”

Country First Conservatives, a much smaller segment of the GOP base, are older and less educated than other Republican-leaning typology groups. Unlike Core Conservatives, Country First Conservatives are unhappy with the nation’s course, highly critical of immigrants and deeply wary of U.S. global involvement.

Nearly two-thirds of Country First Conservatives (64%) – the highest share of any typology group, right or left – say that “if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”

A third Republican group, Market Skeptic Republicans, sharply diverges from the GOP’s traditional support for business and lower taxes. Only about a third of Market Skeptic Republicans (34%) say banks and other financial institutions have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, lowest among Republican-leaning typology groups.

Alone among the groups in the GOP coalition, a majority of Market Skeptic Republicans support raising tax rates on corporations and large businesses. An overwhelming share (94%) say the economic system unfairly favors powerful interests, which places the view of Market Skeptic Republicans on this issue much closer to Solid Liberals (99% mostly unfair) than Core Conservatives (21%).

In contrast to Market Skeptic Republicans, New Era Enterprisers are fundamentally optimistic about the state of the nation and its future. They are more likely than any other typology group to say the next generation of Americans will have it better than people today. Younger and somewhat less overwhelmingly white than the other GOP-leaning groups, New Era Enterprisers are strongly pro-business and generally think that immigrants strengthen, rather than burden, the country.

Divisions on the left

...

While there have long been racial, ethnic and income differences within the Democratic coalition, these gaps are especially striking today. Reflecting the changing demographic composition of the Democratic base, for the first time there are two majority-minority Democratic-leaning typology groups, along with two more affluent, mostly white groups.

Solid Liberals are the largest group in the Democratic coalition, and they make up close to half (48%) of politically engaged Democrats and Democratic-leaning … [more]
news  org:data  data  analysis  database  white-paper  politics  polisci  sociology  ideology  coalitions  things  phalanges  exploratory  distribution  poll  values  polarization  policy  populism  vampire-squid  migration  obama  gender  sex  sexuality  corporation  finance  foreign-policy  trade  diversity  race  demographics  religion  inequality  envy  left-wing  right-wing  africa  descriptive  discrimination  identity-politics  trust  institutions  quiz  business  regulation  redistribution  welfare-state  usa  government  civil-liberty  market-power  rent-seeking  nationalism-globalism  age-generation  chart  nl-and-so-can-you  🎩  homo-hetero  trump  2016-election  postmortem  charity  money  class  class-warfare  elections  multi  let-me-see  fertility  theos  geography  urban  art  drugs  opioids  flux-stasis  entrepreneurialism  2014  2017  urban-rural  twitter  social  discussion  commentary  backup  journos-pundits  study  impetus  trends  tradition  culture  society  christianity  pdf  article  sentiment  abortion-contraception-embryo 
october 2017 by nhaliday
From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016
We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

Figure 1a, 8abc, 9b

The Role of Oligarchs in Russian Capitalism: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/0895330053147994
2005

Using a unique dataset, we describe the degree of ownership concentration in Russian economy and its role in shaping economic and political institutions in Russia. In particular, we find that Russian "oligarchs" do control a substantial part of the economy. While the relative weight of their firms in Russian economy is huge, they do not seem to be excessively large by the standards of the global economy where most of them are operating. The oligarchs seem to run their firms more efficiently than other Russian owners controlling for industry, region and size.

Russia's Billionaires: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.p20161068
2016

Using data collected by Forbes since the 1990s, I examine the emergence and survival of the super-wealthy in Russia over the past two decades and compare Russia's record to those of other countries. The major surge in the number of Russian billionaires came in the mid-2000s, mirroring the dynamic worldwide. While early billionaires were predominantly found in the oil, gas, metals, and banking sectors, the distribution has become more diverse, now including some in trade, real estate, chemicals, and information technology. Only a minority of today's Russian billionaires acquired significant assets in the privatization of the 1990s.

Popular Attitudes towards Markets and Democracy: Russia and United States Compared 25 Years Later: http://www.nber.org/papers/w22027

While we find some differences in attitudes towards markets across countries and through time, we do not find most of the differences large or significant. Our evidence does not support a common view that the Russian personality is fundamentally illiberal or non-democratic.

The Political Economy of Transition: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/0895330027102
- Gérard Roland, 2002

The overriding importance of political constraints in the transition process has led to developments of the theory of the political economy of reform. What are the main insights from that theory? How does it reflect the transition reality? What have we learned, and what do we still need to learn? The present article will attempt to answer those questions.

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/centrifugal-forces-why-russian-oligarchs-remain-loyal-to-the-putin-government-op-ed-59760
pdf  study  economics  broad-econ  history  mostly-modern  pre-ww2  cold-war  russia  communism  authoritarianism  inequality  data  class  econ-metrics  wealth  compensation  money  usa  china  asia  capitalism  visualization  elite  vampire-squid  time-series  distribution  piketty  multi  chart  heavy-industry  nationalism-globalism  flux-stasis  🎩  political-econ  polisci  winner-take-all  poll  values  democracy  institutions  industrial-org  property-rights  efficiency  energy-resources  roots  corruption  group-level  market-power  rent-seeking  regression-to-mean  legacy  anomie  quality  econ-productivity  leviathan  technocracy  civic  madisonian  redistribution  world  growth-econ  developing-world  markets  news  org:foreign 
august 2017 by nhaliday
Is the U.S. Aggregate Production Function Cobb-Douglas? New Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution∗
world-wide: http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~duffy/papers/jeg2.pdf
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/is-the-us-labour-share-as-constant-as-we-thought
https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2015/paper_844.pdf
We find that IPP capital entirely explains the observed decline of the US labor share, which otherwise is secularly constant over the past 65 years for structures and equipment capital. The labor share decline simply reflects the fact that the US economy is undergoing a transition toward a larger IPP sector.
https://ideas.repec.org/p/red/sed015/844.html
http://www.robertdkirkby.com/blog/2015/summary-of-piketty-i/
https://www.brookings.edu/bpea-articles/deciphering-the-fall-and-rise-in-the-net-capital-share/
The Fall of the Labor Share and the Rise of Superstar Firms: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23396
The Decline of the U.S. Labor Share: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2013b_elsby_labor_share.pdf
Table 2 has industry disaggregation
Estimating the U.S. labor share: https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2017/article/estimating-the-us-labor-share.htm

Why Workers Are Losing to Capitalists: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-20/why-workers-are-losing-to-capitalists
Automation and offshoring may be conspiring to reduce labor's share of income.
pdf  study  economics  growth-econ  econometrics  usa  data  empirical  analysis  labor  capital  econ-productivity  manifolds  magnitude  multi  world  🎩  piketty  econotariat  compensation  inequality  winner-take-all  org:ngo  org:davos  flexibility  distribution  stylized-facts  regularizer  hmm  history  mostly-modern  property-rights  arrows  invariance  industrial-org  trends  wonkish  roots  synthesis  market-power  efficiency  variance-components  business  database  org:gov  article  model-class  models  automation  nationalism-globalism  trade  news  org:mag  org:biz  org:bv  noahpinion  explanation  summary  methodology  density  polarization  map-territory  input-output 
july 2017 by nhaliday
Yale Law Journal - Amazon's Antitrust Paradox
This Note argues that the current framework in antitrust—specifically its pegging competition to “consumer welfare,” defined as short-term price effects—is unequipped to capture the architecture of market power in the modern economy. We cannot cognize the potential harms to competition posed by Amazon’s dominance if we measure competition primarily through price and output. Specifically, current doctrine underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms for two reasons. First, the economics of platform markets create incentives for a company to pursue growth over profits, a strategy that investors have rewarded. Under these conditions, predatory pricing becomes highly rational—even as existing doctrine treats it as irrational and therefore implausible. Second, because online platforms serve as critical intermediaries, integrating across business lines positions these platforms to control the essential infrastructure on which their rivals depend. This dual role also enables a platform to exploit information collected on companies using its services to undermine them as competitors.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/why-amazon-bought-whole-foods/530652/
https://gnxp.nofe.me/2017/06/17/the-distribution-channel-comes-to-you/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmourdoukoutas/2017/06/18/amazon-whole-foods-deal-is-bad-news-for-store-cashiers-and-the-fight-for-15-minimum-wage/
Amazon Must Be Stopped: https://newrepublic.com/article/119769/amazons-monopoly-must-be-broken-radical-plan-tech-giant

Amazon Will Go To Denver: https://gnxp.nofe.me/2017/09/10/amazon-will-go-to-denver/
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/09/upshot/where-should-amazon-new-headquarters-be.html
http://www.paddypower.com/bet?action=go_event&category=SPECIALS&ev_class_id=45&ev_type_id=22711&ev_id=13023353&force_racing_css=&ev_desc=Where%20will%20Amazon%20build%20their%20Second%20Headquarters?
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/this-city-hall-brought-to-you-by-amazon/
Real things cities are offering to get Amazon HQ2
*Chicago: Let Amazon keep employees' income tax
*SoCal: Give away $100M in land
*Boston: City employees working just for Amazon
*Fresno: Let Amazon decide how to spend tax dollars

https://www.wsj.com/articles/rules-of-engagement-how-cities-are-courting-amazons-new-headquarters-1522661401
Washington, D.C., might have a leg up, having already hosted Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos for visits when he considered acquiring the Washington Post, which he now owns. Mr. Bezos also purchased the former Textile Museum in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood for $23 million in 2016 and is currently turning it into a private residence.

28-year-old makes millions buying from Walmart, selling on Amazon: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/28-year-old-makes-millions-buying-from-walmart-selling-on-amazon/ar-AAupB8i

https://twitter.com/DKThomp/status/954028684788273153
https://twitter.com/hyperplanes/status/954020562262781952
https://archive.is/uNk1p
https://archive.is/phiTA
Thread: Why Amazon’s HQ2 is going to Fairfax County

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-19/amazon-is-sure-acting-like-it-s-going-to-pick-the-d-c-area

https://twitter.com/NeonPeonage/status/955436146183561216
https://archive.is/lJeaz
walmart is the only entity that has even a slim chance at preventing jeff bezos from intermediating every commodity exchange in the world, u must respect

https://twitter.com/holerepairer/status/955469951833436160
https://archive.is/ig58T
"I tried to save you, but you didn't listen. Now you'll have to face Him alone..."

What Amazon does to wages: https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21735020-worlds-largest-retailer-underpaying-its-employees-what-amazon-does-wages
Is the world’s largest retailer underpaying its employees?

Flat or falling industry wages are common in the cities and towns where Amazon opens distribution centres, according to an analysis by The Economist. Government figures show that after Amazon opens a storage depot, local wages for warehouse workers fall by an average of 3%. In places where Amazon operates, such workers earn about 10% less than similar workers employed elsewhere.

What Amazon Does to Poor Cities: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/02/amazon-warehouses-poor-cities/552020/
The debate over Amazon’s HQ2 obscures the company’s rapid expansion of warehouses in low-income areas.

The Facts Behind Trump’s Tweets on Amazon, Taxes and the Postal Service: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/us/politics/trump-amazon-post-office-fact-check.html

If Workers Slack Off, the Wristband Will Know. (And Amazon Has a Patent for It.): https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/01/technology/amazon-wristband-tracking-privacy.html
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/01/582370715/wrist-watching-amazon-patents-system-to-track-guide-employees-hands
https://boingboing.net/2018/02/02/amazon-patent-could-lead-to-do.html
https://www.jwz.org/blog/2018/02/amazon-patents-wristbands-shock-collars-designed-to-steer-employees-movements/

auto-management -> automation dystopia: http://marshallbrain.com/manna.htm

Amazon’s vision for the future: delivery drone beehives in every city: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/23/15860668/amazon-drone-delivery-patent-city-centers
article  essay  study  law  business  industrial-org  market-power  rent-seeking  amazon  sv  tech  markets  capitalism  winner-take-all  multi  news  org:mag  org:biz  gnxp  scitariat  commentary  current-events  org:lite  right-wing  corporation  trends  zeitgeist  rhetoric  barons  management  org:rec  usa  the-west  video  profile  arbitrage  entrepreneurialism  microbiz  feudal  prediction  prediction-markets  power  org:local  twitter  social  discussion  speculation  backup  the-south  virginia-DC  planning  career  org:bv  econotariat  marginal-rev  inequality  gnon  🐸  memes(ew)  data  econ-metrics  marginal  malaise  supply-demand  labor  coming-apart  compensation  intervention  branches  org:anglo  automation  techtariat  ai  scifi-fantasy  pessimism  optimism  orwellian  vampire-squid  left-wing  trump  media  propaganda  taxes  government  capital 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Is America Encouraging the Wrong Kind of Entrepreneurship?
Of Baumol’s many contributions to economics, the most famous is cost disease, which explains why high-productivity industries raise costs and therefore prices in low-productivity industries. The insight is particularly relevant now, as economic activity has shifted into low-productivity services like health care and education, where price increases are devouring public and household budgets, and whose continued low productivity has weighed down U.S. productivity growth overall.

But there’s a lesser-known idea of Baumol’s that is equally relevant today and that may help explain America’s productivity slump. Baumol’s writing raises the possibility that U.S. productivity is low because would-be entrepreneurs are focused on the wrong kind of work.
news  org:biz  economics  business  industrial-org  startups  entrepreneurialism  trends  rot  market-power  rent-seeking  winner-take-all  corruption  anomie  government  regulation  usa  stagnation  madisonian  capitalism  class-warfare  zeitgeist  org:mag 
june 2017 by nhaliday
Tyler Cowen on Brexit, Steven Pinker, and Joseph McCarthy | askblog
Also, in my other post today, I mention an event on plutocracy co-sponsored by the Hudson Institute and The American Interest. Tyler Cowen makes remarks that have little or nothing to do with the article that he wrote for the event. Two of his more provocative opinions:

1. Steven Pinker may be wrong. Rather than mass violence following a benign trend, it could be cyclical. When there is a long peace, people become complacent, they allow bad leaders to take power and to run amok, and you get mass violence again. (Cowen argues that there are more countries now run by bad people than was the case a couple of decades ago)

2. Joseph McCarthy was not wrong. There were Soviet agents in influential positions. Regardless of what you think of that, the relevant point is that today Chinese and Russian plutocrats may have their tentacles in the U.S. and may be subtly causing the U.S. to be less of a liberal capitalist nation and more of a cronyist plutocracy.

hmm, the USPS stuff here: https://pinboard.in/u:nhaliday/b:fc443b256b1a
econotariat  cracker-econ  commentary  marginal-rev  video  presentation  summary  straussian  contrarianism  rhetoric  pinker  peace-violence  cycles  oscillation  flexibility  leadership  government  history  mostly-modern  cold-war  china  asia  russia  communism  inequality  winner-take-all  authoritarianism  antidemos  corruption  anomie  domestication  gilens-page  n-factor  individualism-collectivism  egalitarianism-hierarchy  madisonian  democracy  rot  zeitgeist  the-bones  counter-revolution  flux-stasis  kumbaya-kult  virginia-DC  class-warfare  rent-seeking  vampire-squid  trump  current-events  news  org:rec  amazon  market-power  media  propaganda  taxes  corporation  capital  multi 
june 2017 by nhaliday
An Economic Analysis of the Protestant Reformation
- Ekelund, Hébert, Tollison

This paper seeks to explain the initial successes and failures of Protestantism on economic grounds. It argues that the medieval Roman Catholic Church, through doctrinal manipulation, the exclusion of rivals, and various forms of price discrimination, ultimately placed members seeking the Z good "spiritual services" on the margin of defection. These monopolistic practices encouraged entry by rival firms, some of which were aligned with civil governments. The paper hypothesizes that Protestant entry was facilitated in emergent entrepreneurial societies characterized by the decline of feudalism and relatively unstable distribution of wealth and repressed in more homogeneous, rent-seeking societies that were mostly dissipating rather than creating wealth. In these societies the Roman Church was more able to continue the practice of price discrimination. Informal tests of this proposition are conducted by considering primogeniture and urban growth as proxies for wealth stability.

Causes and Consequences of the Protestant Reformation: https://pseudoerasmus.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/becker-pfaff-rubin-2016.pdf
- Sascha O. Becker, Steven Pfaff, Jared Rubin

The Protestant Reformation is one of the defining events of the last millennium. Nearly 500 years after the Reformation, its causes and consequences have seen a renewed interest in the social sciences. Research in economics, sociology, and political science increasingly uses detailed individual-level, city-level, and regional-level data to identify drivers of the adoption of the Reformation, its diffusion pattern, and its socioeconomic consequences. We take stock of this research, pointing out what we know and what we do not know and suggesting the most promising areas for future research.

Table 1: Studies of the Supply and Demand-Side Factors of the Reformation
Table 2: Studies on the Consequences of the Reformation: Human Capital
Table 3: Studies on the Consequences of the Reformation: Work and Work Ethic
Table 4: Studies on the Consequences of the Reformation: Economic Development
Table 5: Studies on the Consequences of the Reformation: Governance
Table 6: Studies on the “Dark” Consequences of the Reformation

LUTHER AND SULEYMAN: http://www.jstor.org.sci-hub.tw/stable/40506214
- Murat Iyigun

Various historical accounts have suggested that the Ottomans' rise helped the Protestant Reformation as well as its offshoots, such as Zwinglianism, Anabaptism, and Calvinism, survive their infancy and mature. Utilizing a comprehensive data set on violent confrontations for the interval between 1401 and 1700 CE, I show that the incidence of military engagements between the Protestant Reformers and the Counter-Reformation forces between the 1520s and 1650s depended negatively on the Ottomans' military activities in Europe. Furthermore, I document that the impact of the Ottomans on Europe went beyond suppressing ecclesiastical conflicts only: at the turn of the sixteenth century, Ottoman conquests lowered the number of all newly initiated conflicts among the Europeans roughly by 25 percent, while they dampened all longer-running feuds by more than 15 percent. The Ottomans' military activities influenced the length of intra-European feuds too, with each Ottoman-European military engagement shortening the duration of intra-European conflicts by more than 50 percent. Thus, while the Protestant Reformation might have benefited from - and perhaps even capitalized on - the Ottoman advances in Europe, the latter seems to have played some role in reducing conflicts within Europe more generally.

Religious Competition and Reallocation: The Political Economy of Secularization in the Protestant Reformation: http://www.jeremiahdittmar.com/files/RRR_20170919.pdf
- Davide Cantoni, Jeremiah Dittmar, Noam Yuchtman*

Using novel microdata, we document an unintended, first-order consequence of the Protestant Reformation: a massive reallocation of resources from religious to secular purposes. To understand this process, we propose a conceptual framework in which the introduction of religious competition shifts political markets where religious authorities provide legitimacy to rulers in exchange for control over resources. Consistent with our framework, religious competition changed the balance of power between secular and religious elites: secular authorities acquired enormous amounts of wealth from monasteries closed during the Reformation, particularly in Protestant regions. This transfer of resources had important consequences. First, it shifted the allocation of upper-tail human capital. Graduates of Protestant universities increasingly took secular, especially administrative, occupations. Protestant university students increasingly studied secular subjects, especially degrees that prepared students for public sector jobs, rather than church sector-specific theology. Second, it affected the sectoral composition of fixed investment. Particularly in Protestant regions, new construction from religious toward secular purposes, especially the building of palaces and administrative buildings, which reflected the increased wealth and power of secular lords. Reallocation was not driven by pre-existing economic or cultural differences. Our findings indicate that the Reformation played an important causal role in the secularization of the West.

look at Figure 4, holy shit

History: Science and the Reformation: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v550/n7677/full/550454a.html?WT.mc_id=TWT_NatureNews&sf126429621=1
The scientific and religious revolutions that began 500 years ago were not causally related, but were both stimulated by printing, argues David Wootton.
https://twitter.com/whyvert/status/923940525673103360
https://archive.is/JElPv
No, the Reformation did not cause the scientific revolution. Nice brief article. 👍

No RCT = No causal claims, for or against ;)
Though I'm open to a regression discontinuity design! cc: @pseudoerasmus
pdf  study  economics  growth-econ  broad-econ  history  medieval  early-modern  religion  christianity  protestant-catholic  revolution  institutions  cliometrics  🎩  europe  the-great-west-whale  chart  roots  entrepreneurialism  wealth-of-nations  rent-seeking  inequality  market-power  industrial-org  political-econ  anglosphere  sociology  polisci  egalitarianism-hierarchy  flexibility  supply-demand  models  analysis  path-dependence  divergence  leviathan  theos  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  cultural-dynamics  s:*  multi  pseudoE  piracy  conquest-empire  war  islam  mediterranean  eastern-europe  incentives  modernity  north-weingast-like  open-closed  MENA  time  density  unintended-consequences  correlation  article  survey  marginal  equilibrium  competition  distribution  wealth  comparison  things  homo-hetero  discrimination  legacy  urban  trust  corruption  morality  ethics  n-factor  diversity  redistribution  welfare-state  flux-stasis  data  scale  causation  endo-exo  natural-experiment  meta-analysis  list  education  hum 
may 2017 by nhaliday
Why Are Economists Giving Piketty the Cold Shoulder? | Boston Review
- Marshall Steinbaum (seems like a tool from Twitter)

In a review in Democracy, Lawrence Summers, perhaps the foremost representative of the economics elite at the highest reaches of the recent policymaking apparatus, ushered in what became the academic establishment’s agreed-upon reason for dismissing Capital in the Twenty-First Century, aside from its empirical contribution: that Piketty’s theory that the marginal value of capital diminishes more slowly than capital itself accumulates (hence, the famous formulation, r > g) is at odds with econometric evidence suggesting the opposite conclusion about the “marginal elasticity of substitution” between labor and capital. Hence it cannot be that a rising capital-to-income ratio causes a rising capital share of national income and—since the owners of capital are, to an increasing degree, exclusively among the rich—rising income and wealth inequality.

Matthew Rognlie—then a doctoral student, now an assistant professor at Northwestern—took up that line in even greater detail in an article that eventually appeared in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, to which he added that the rising capital-to-income ratio in Piketty’s data is disproportionately the result of the price appreciation of certain scarce stores of wealth, primarily housing and the land it sits on, not the quantity accumulation of productive capital that is the subject of the neoclassical theory of economic growth.

Finally, Jason Furman and Peter Orszag, two senior economic policymakers in Democratic administrations, released “A Firm-Level Perspective on the Role of Rents in the Rise in Inequality,” which, while not a direct response to Capital in the Twenty-First Century, took indirect issue with foregrounding the shift in national income from labor to capital and with Piketty’s story of rising inequality within the distribution of labor income: that it results from the increased power of top executives in a within-firm bargaining context. Instead they highlight rising dispersion of both firm-level profits and earnings as driving inequality dynamics between an in-group at the highest-profit, highest-earning firms, and everyone else.

https://twitter.com/pseudoerasmus/status/617943972426723328
https://twitter.com/pseudoerasmus/status/863059403158806529
Forget article's title/framing! It's a great overview of the theoretical & methodological issues occasioned by Piketty, critics, & followers
news  org:mag  letters  econotariat  economics  growth-econ  labor  class  inequality  social-science  academia  info-dynamics  capital  winner-take-all  debate  reflection  epistemic  essay  books  review  summary  🎩  piketty  article  the-bones  rent-seeking  competition  market-power  modernity  multi  twitter  social  commentary  pseudoE  broad-econ  critique  analysis  distribution  compensation  larry-summers 
may 2017 by nhaliday
Concentration and Growth | Dietrich Vollrath
Ultimately, and this is my impression, not some kind of established fact, concentration likely lowers innovative activity. Put it this way, the null hypothesis should probably be that concentration lowers innovation. An individual industry needs to provide evidence they are on the “right side of the curve” in the first AAH figure to believe concentration would be good for productivity growth in the long run.
econotariat  commentary  links  economics  growth-econ  trends  market-power  business  industrial-org  flexibility  innovation  malaise  stagnation  econ-productivity  madisonian  rent-seeking  competition  correlation  frontier  stylized-facts  chart  🎩  entrepreneurialism  rot  scale  curvature  corporation  convexity-curvature  nonlinearity 
may 2017 by nhaliday
Anonymous Mugwump: The Empirics of Free Speech and Realistic Idealism: Part II
1. News Media: Murdoch and the Purple Land
2. The Effects of Money and Lobbying in Politics
3. Video Games: Crash Bandicoot Shouting Fire in a Crowded Theatre
4. Porn: Having an Orgasm in a Crowded Theatre
5. Sexist Speech: Crash Bandicoot Making Rape Jokes in a Crowded Theatre
6. Race Related Speech: Hollywood, Skokie and Umugandas in Rwanda
7. Incitement, Obedience and Speech Act Theory: Eichmann to Jihadi Twitter
8. Conclusion: Epistemic Humility

...

Here is what I am seeking to show in the next few paragraphs:
1. Corporate ownership of the media does not lead to corporate-friendly media output arising from a conflict of interest.
2. The main driver of media output is consumer demand (i.e., people read what they already agree with) as the above extract indicates.
3. This could create a new negative effect of a free media: people living in a bubble where their views are reinforced by an uninformative partisan press.
4. I do not believe this bubble exists: reputational effects and consumer demand for truth rather than reinforcement of existing beliefs means that the partisan media does not, uniformly or consistently, distort the truth.

...

For clarity: my primary argument is that things like campaign contributions and lobbying don’t matter. But, in deference to how mixed the literature is, I would say that our aversion to interest groups is misguided. Whether it’s Save the Children campaigning for minimum levels of aid or Citigroup lobbying for certain legislation, we needn’t jump to accusations of corruption or cronyism. Democratic politics is about legislators listening, being persuaded in a marketplace of ideas – and it really doesn’t matter if the person putting forward that idea is Exxon Mobil or a constituent. The burden for suggesting that there is impropriety is necessarily high and I simply haven’t seen any convincing evidence that there is necessarily or mostly a link between money, lobbying, politics and impropriety.

...

[some stuff on video games, porn, sexism, and racial hate speech]

[this is pretty crazy:]
In essence, ‘learning from the peasant ideology… and the everyday propaganda during umuganda had also motivated people to see their fellow ba-Tutsi as enemies’ in the run up the genocide. When the genocide finally hit, umugandas were used more directly in the genocide:

During the genocide, umuganda did not involve planting trees but ‘clearing out the weeds’ – a phrase used by the genocidaires to mean the killing of Tutsis. Chopping up men was referred to as ‘bush clearing’ and slaughtering women and children as ‘pulling out the roots of the bad weeds’... The slogan, ‘clearing bushes and removing bad weeds’, were familiar terms used in the course of ordinary agricultural labour undertaken in umuganda.

...

One more Saturday with rainfall above 10mm corresponds to a 0.41 percentage point reduction in the civilian participation rate. Those who wish to stop curtail certain forms of hate speech might very easily rely on studies like this. But there is an even better study which they can rely on in doing so: RTLM was the radio station in Rwanda and much like the umugandas: referring to Tutsis as cockroaches and dirty.

Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19201
Towns with one standard deviation higher association density saw at least 15% faster Nazi Party entry. All types of societies – from veteran associations to animal breeders, chess clubs and choirs – positively predict NS Party entry.

White, middle-class social capital helps to incarcerate African-Americans in racially diverse states.: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2017/09/22/white-middle-class-social-capital-helps-to-incarcerate-african-americans-in-racially-diverse-states/
Social capital is mostly seen as a ‘good’: bringing communities together and, in the case of criminal justice, encouraging social empathy which can lead to less harsh sentencing. But these analyses ignore racial divisions in social capital. In new research, Daniel Hawes finds that while social capital can reduce the Black-White disparity in incarceration rates in states with few African Americans, in states with greater numbers of African Americans, perceptions of racial threat can activate social capital in white communities, leading to greater targeting, profiling and arrests for minorities.
albion  analysis  essay  meta-analysis  study  summary  list  empirical  civil-liberty  media  institutions  roots  business  info-dynamics  endo-exo  religion  natural-experiment  polisci  politics  wonkish  propaganda  nl-and-so-can-you  epistemic  supply-demand  🎩  spock  nitty-gritty  history  early-modern  usa  britain  MENA  unaffiliated  scale  incentives  market-power  competition  piketty  inequality  government  elections  money  null-result  stylized-facts  polarization  distribution  data  visualization  poll  gilens-page  coalitions  foreign-policy  realpolitik  israel  neocons  iran  nuclear  managerial-state  regularizer  policy  games  crime  sex  gender  discrimination  biodet  variance-components  behavioral-gen  race  diversity  africa  stories  death  social-capital  europe  woah  unintended-consequences  h2o  community  internet  terrorism  correlation  tv  tradeoffs  optimism  intervention  faq  putnam-like  madisonian  chart  article  exit-voice  microfoundations  germanic  mostly-modern  world-war  multi  economics  fluid  cliometrics  news  org:ngo 
april 2017 by nhaliday
Progressive Cities vs. Conservative States - The Atlantic
The dark side of cities: http://theweek.com/articles/689554/dark-side-cities
President Trump often paints Americans cities as either liberal elitist enclaves or crime-ridden hellholes. Meanwhile, cities' defenders praise their flourishing, dense, and diverse communities that thumb their nose at Trumpism.

But defenders of the city also go further: They argue that changing technology and the network effects of density all favor the creativity and innovation of diverse metropolises. In other words, cities are supposed to do better than other places, and everyone who doesn't live in one already should get moving. Cities dominate American society like never before because of what they did right, these promoters say.

But actually, cities succeeded because of what the country did wrong.

A small number of liberal urban clusters certainly do dominate America's economic output. Rates of productivity growth are higher in cities. And over the last few decades, rates of business and job creation during recoveries fell off a cliff in less-dense areas — but held stable in the most dense areas.

Yet the productivity growth rate and the GDP growth rate across the entire national economy slowed to near record lows as cities rose in prominence. Certainly, agglomeration effects and dense innovative cultural milieus have real economic value. But how much value compared to other forces is the question.

More to the point, rates of job and business creation in dense areas held stable as rural areas died. They didn't increase to compensate. Economic vibrancy and opportunity didn't move to the cities. They just drowned everywhere else, while cities became the economy's only remaining life rafts.
news  org:mag  class  urban  usa  trends  tribalism  politics  longform  culture-war  westminster  polarization  american-nations  homo-hetero  current-events  decentralized  cohesion  vampire-squid  exit-voice  class-warfare  zeitgeist  2016-election  geography  multi  rhetoric  contrarianism  trump  growth-econ  economics  econ-productivity  labor  policy  market-power  ideology  populism  inequality  winner-take-all  density  org:anglo  malaise  nihil  coming-apart  urban-rural 
february 2017 by nhaliday
What Steve Bannon Wants You to Read - POLITICO Magazine
https://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/this-is-how-steve-bannon-sees-the-entire-world
http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/7/14533876/mencius-moldbug-steve-bannon-neoreactionary-curtis-yarvin
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/millman/neo-reactionaries-in-the-west-wing/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/world/europe/vatican-steve-bannon-pope-francis.html
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/behind-the-internets-dark-anti-democracy-movement/516243/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/world/europe/bannon-vatican-julius-evola-fascism.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/stephen-bannons-words-and-actions-dont-add-up/2017/02/09/33010a94-ef19-11e6-9973-c5efb7ccfb0d_story.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/where-did-steve-bannon-get-his-worldview-from-my-book/2017/02/24/16937f38-f84a-11e6-9845-576c69081518_story.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bannons-dangerous-deconstruction/2017/02/26/0d1aab0e-fad2-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/silicon-valley-tech-alt-right-racism-misogyny
https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/during-his-political-rise-stephen-k-bannon-was-a-man-with-no-fixed-address/2017/03/11/89866f4c-0285-11e7-ad5b-d22680e18d10_story.html
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/trump-steve-bannon-destroy-eu-european-union-214889
Atlantic article writes about @BronzeAgePerv and quotes Land and @kantbot2000 lol

‘I’m fascinated by Mussolini’: https://usa.spectator.co.uk/2018/03/im-fascinated-by-mussolini-steve-bannon-on-fascism-populism-and-everything-in-between/
‘The bigger threat we have got than socialism is state-controlled capitalism, which is where we’re headed, where we have big government and a handful of big companies. That’s what you’re seeing in technology right now with these massive companies. It’s the biggest danger we have.

‘Listen, I think our problem is [not just] the cultural Marxist left, but state capitalism on finance. That’s what we’re fighting right now.

They absolutely control our borders. They debase your currency, they debase your citizenship, and they take your personhood digitally.

‘This is the new serfdom. We’re just a collection of serfs — serfs living at a higher standard of living, but vis-à-vis what the total economic pie is, you’re still a serf, and that’s exactly where the modern state wants to keep you.’

Bannon is adamant that populism and fascism ‘are not even related’. ‘That’s just a smear. Look at the Gracchi brothers in Rome, Tiberius and Gaius, the greatest populists we ever had. They were not fascists. People are naturally not fascist. Come on, dude, you’ve got to know your Roman history? The brothers Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus … they’re not fascists, they’re populists.’

That’s quite a highbrow allusion, I say: isn’t citing Roman history way above every-one’s heads? ‘Why? No, you see here’s the problem. You want to talk down. This is what’s happening to us. I want to raise the bar and get back to classical allusions because I come from a blue-collar family that reads Plutarch.’

He goes on: ‘Lincoln had the King James Bible, Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans and the plays of Shakespeare, that’s all he had, that’s what he read non-stop. He didn’t go to 20 years of school, he didn’t have a PhD in English. In the height of our civilisation, in England and other places, working men had reading associations. Churchill could make classical allusions and the Labour vote knew exactly what he was talking about. We’re not going to dumb it down, OK? I’m not going to let you dumb it down.’
news  org:mag  org:lite  org:data  right-wing  politics  trump  yarvin  investigative-journo  polisci  government  gnon  speculation  multi  org:rec  religion  christianity  culture-war  🐸  lmao  subculture  land  westminster  profile  interview  authoritarianism  populism  ideology  managerial-state  EU  europe  clown-world  big-peeps  nascent-state  current-events  nationalism-globalism  cycles  chart  left-wing  org:anglo  mediterranean  the-classics  finance  capitalism  tech  sv  market-power  rent-seeking  elite  vampire-squid  monetary-fiscal  leviathan  history  iron-age  egalitarianism-hierarchy  inequality  class  class-warfare 
february 2017 by nhaliday
Peter Turchin Elite Collusion or Competition? - Peter Turchin
more comments https://pseudoerasmus.com/2014/04/13/anonimo/#comment-42887
http://evonomics.com/science-predicting-rise-fall-societies-turchin/
https://twitter.com/kmichaelwilson/status/875108634870534144
interesting discussion of gilens-page: https://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/how-inequality-corrodes-cooperation-new-experimental-evidence/
This is not accurate. It is true Gilens shows that when the policy preferences of the rich diverge from the rest, the rich do get their way. But as I tried to point out on Twitter, most of the divergence is in matters unrelated to economic or redistributive policies. In fact, the policy preferences of the rich are positively correlated with the policy preferences of the middle and the poor on economics, taxes, and social welfare. The divergence is substantially driven (in Gilens’s analysis) by gun control and environment (see Table 5.5). The rich are more ‘progressive’ on those things.
econotariat  history  cliometrics  class  pseudoE  debate  politics  polisci  turchin  multi  realpolitik  winner-take-all  gilens-page  roots  zero-positive-sum  market-power  competition  elite  managerial-state  sociology  broad-econ  madisonian  chart  rent-seeking  westminster  polarization  crime  inequality  noblesse-oblige  vampire-squid  the-bones  cultural-dynamics  twitter  social  commentary  2016-election  trump  org:sci  org:mag  malaise  stagnation  class-warfare  poast  policy  government  microfoundations  trends  usa  interests  hari-seldon 
january 2017 by nhaliday
Professors Make More Than a Thousand Dollars an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers | Hacker News
https://www.wsj.com/articles/paying-professors-inside-googles-academic-influence-campaign-1499785286
https://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/07/12/tech-companies-arent-different/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/politics/eric-schmidt-google-new-america.html
WASHINGTON — In the hours after European antitrust regulators levied a record $2.7 billion fine against Google in late June, an influential Washington think tank learned what can happen when a tech giant that shapes public policy debates with its enormous wealth is criticized.

The New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from Google; its parent company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt; and his family’s foundation since the think tank’s founding in 1999. That money helped to establish New America as an elite voice in policy debates on the American left.

But not long after one of New America’s scholars posted a statement on the think tank’s website praising the European Union’s penalty against Google, Mr. Schmidt, who had chaired New America until 2016, communicated his displeasure with the statement to the group’s president, Anne-Marie Slaughter, according to the scholar.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/08/30/zephyr-teachout-google-is-coming-after-critics-in-academia-and-journalism-its-time-to-stop-them/
http://nypost.com/2017/08/30/being-evil-the-firing-of-a-google-critic/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/01/us/politics/anne-marie-slaughter-new-america-google.html
https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/9/8/16266496/silicon-valley-google-apple-facebook-amazon-monopolies
commentary  hn  news  investigative-journo  academia  economics  ethics  business  longform  micro  policy  industrial-org  org:mag  crooked  anomie  multi  org:rec  market-power  google  law  political-econ  regulation  madisonian  property-rights  civil-liberty  censorship  drama  current-events  corruption  media  org:lite  exit-voice  sv  tech  org:data  interview  thiel  barons  facebook  2016-election  trump  org:local 
november 2016 by nhaliday
Too much of a good thing | The Economist
None of these accounts, though, explain the most troubling aspect of America’s profit problem: its persistence. Business theory holds that firms can at best enjoy only temporary periods of “competitive advantage” during which they can rake in cash. After that new companies, inspired by these rich pickings, will pile in to compete away those fat margins, bringing prices down and increasing both employment and investment. It’s the mechanism behind Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

In America that hand seems oddly idle. An American firm that was very profitable in 2003 (one with post-tax returns on capital of 15-25%, excluding goodwill) had an 83% chance of still being very profitable in 2013; the same was true for firms with returns of over 25%, according to McKinsey, a consulting firm. In the previous decade the odds were about 50%. The obvious conclusion is that the American economy is too cosy for incumbents.

Corporations Are Raking In Record Profits, But Workers Aren’t Seeing Much of It: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/07/corporations-are-raking-in-record-profits-but-workers-arent-seeing-much-of-it/
Even Goldman Sachs thinks monopolies are pillaging American consumers: http://theweek.com/articles/633101/even-goldman-sachs-thinks-monopolies-are-pillaging-american-consumers
Schumpeter: The University of Chicago worries about a lack of competition: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21720657-its-economists-used-champion-big-firms-mood-has-shifted-university-chicago
Some radicals argue that the government is now so rotten that America is condemned to perpetual oligarchy and inequality. Political support for more competition is worryingly hard to find. Donald Trump has a cabinet of tycoons and likes to be chummy with bosses. The Republicans have become the party of incumbent firms, not of free markets or consumers. Too many Democrats, meanwhile, don’t trust markets and want the state to smother them in red tape, which hurts new entrants.

The Rise of Market Power and the Decline of Labor’s Share: https://promarket.org/rise-market-power-decline-labors-share/
A new paper by Jan De Loecker (of KU Leuven and Princeton University) and Jan Eeckhout (of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics UPF and University College London) echoes these results, arguing that the decline of both the labor and capital shares, as well as the decline in low-skilled wages and other economic trends, have been aided by a significant increase in markups and market power.

...

Measuring markups, De Loecker explained in a conversation with ProMarket, is notoriously difficult due to the scarcity of data. In attempting to track markups across a wide set of firms and industries, De Loecker and Eeckhout diverged from the standard way in which Industrial Organization economists look at markups, the so-called “demand approach,” which requires a lot of data on consumer demand (prices, quantities, characteristics of products) and models of how firms compete. The standard approach, explains De Loecker, works when it is tailor-made for particular markets, but is “not feasible” when studying markups across many markets and over a long period of time.

To do that, De Loecker and Eeckhout use another approach, the “production approach,” which relies on standard, publicly-available balance sheet data and an assumption that firms will try to minimize costs, and does not require other assumptions regarding demand and market competition.

...

Markups, De Loecker and Eeckhout note, do not necessarily imply market power—but profits do. The enormous increase in profits over the past 35 years, they argue, is consistent with an increase in market power. “In perfect competition, your costs and total sales are identical, because there’s no difference between price and marginal costs. The extent to which these two numbers—the sales-to-wage bill and total-costs-to-wage bill—start differing is going to be immediately indicative of the market power,” says De Loecker.

Markup increases, De Loecker and Eeckhout find, became more pronounced following the 2000 and 2008 recessions. Curiously, they find that economy-wide it is mainly smaller firms that have the higher markups, which according to De Loecker is indicative of widely different characteristics between various industries. Within narrowly defined industries, however, the standard prediction holds: firms with larger market shares have higher markups as well. “Most of the action happens within industries, where we see the big guys getting bigger and their markups increase,” De Loecker explains.

http://www.janeeckhout.com/wp-content/uploads/RMP.pdf

http://www.overcomingbias.com/2017/08/marching-markups.html
The authors are correct that this can easily account for the apparent US productivity slowdown. Holding real productivity constant, if firms move up their demand curves to sell less at a higher prices, then total output, and measured GDP, get smaller. Their numerical estimates suggest that, correcting for this effect, there has been no decline in US productivity growth since 1965. That’s a pretty big deal.

Accepting the main result that markups have been marching upward, the obvious question to ask is: why? But first, let’s review some clues from the paper. First, while industries with smaller firms tend to have higher markups, within each small industry, bigger firms have larger markups, and firms with higher markups pay higher dividends.

There has been little change in output elasticity, i.e., the rate at which variable costs change with the quantity of units produced. (So this isn’t about new scale economies.) There has also been little change in the bottom half of the distribution of markups; the big change has been a big stretching in the upper half. Markups have increased more in larger industries, and the main change has been within industries, rather than a changing mix of industries in the economy. The fractions of income going to labor and to tangible capital have fallen, and firms respond less than they once did to wage changes. Firm accounting profits as a fraction of total income have risen four fold since 1980.

...

If, like me, you buy the standard “free entry” argument for zero expected economic profits of early entrants, then the only remaining possible explanation is an increase in fixed costs relative to variable costs. Now as the paper notes, the fall in tangible capital spending and the rise in accounting profits suggests that this isn’t so much about short-term tangible fixed costs, like the cost to buy machines. But that still leaves a lot of other possible fixed costs, including real estate, innovation, advertising, firm culture, brand loyalty and prestige, regulatory compliance, and context specific training. These all require long term investments, and most of them aren’t tracked well by standard accounting systems.

I can’t tell well which of these fixed costs have risen more, though hopefully folks will collect enough data on these to see which ones correlate strongest with the industries and firms where markups have most risen. But I will invoke a simple hypothesis that I’ve discussed many times, which predicts a general rise of fixed costs: increasing wealth leading to stronger tastes for product variety. Simple models of product differentiation say that as customers care more about getting products nearer to their ideal point, more products are created and fixed costs become a larger fraction of total costs.

Note that increasing product variety is consistent with increasing concentration in a smaller number of firms, if each firm offers many more products and services than before.

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/markups-market-power/
http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/08/robin-hansons-take-rising-margins-debate.html

https://growthecon.com/blog/Markups/

Variable costs approach zero: http://www.arnoldkling.com/blog/variable-costs-approach-zero/
4. My guess is that, if anything, the two-Jan’s paper understates the trend toward high markups. That is because my guess is that most corporate data allocates more labor to variable cost than really belongs there. Garett Jones pointed out that these days most workers do not produce widgets. Instead, they produce organizational capital. Garett Jones workers are part of overhead, not variable cost.

Intangible investment and monopoly profits: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/09/intangible-investment-monopoly-profits.html
I’ve been reading the forthcoming Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy, by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake, which is one of this year’s most important and stimulating economic reads (I can’t say it is Freakonomics-style fun, but it is well-written relative to the nature of its subject matter.)

The book offers many valuable theoretical points and also observations about data. And note that intangible capital used to be below 30 percent of the S&P 500 in the 70s, now it is about 84 percent. That’s a big increase, and yet the topic just isn’t discussed that much (I cover it a bit in The Complacent Class, as a possible source of increase in business risk-aversion).

...

Now, I’ve put that all into my language and framing, rather than theirs. In any case, I suspect that many of the recent puzzles about mark-ups and monopoly power are in some way tied to the nature of intangible capital, and the rising value of intangible capital.

The one-sentence summary of my takeaway might be: Cross-business technology externalities help explain the mark-up, market power, and profitability puzzles.

Why has investment been weak?: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/12/why-has-investment-been-weak.html
We analyze private fixed investment in the U.S. over the past 30 years. We show that investment is weak relative to measures of profitability and valuation — particularly Tobin’s Q, and that this weakness starts in the early 2000’s. There are two … [more]
finance  business  economics  prediction  macro  news  trends  org:rec  org:biz  org:anglo  winner-take-all  wonkish  market-power  industrial-org  competition  current-events  madisonian  scale  rent-seeking  usa  class-warfare  multi  org:mag  left-wing  compensation  corporation  rhetoric  policy  regulation  org:ngo  stagnation  white-paper  politics  government  chicago  tech  anomie  crooked  rot  malaise  chart  study  summary  capital  labor  distribution  innovation  correlation  flux-stasis  pdf  ratty  hanson  commentary  cracker-econ  gray-econ  diversity  farmers-and-foragers  roots  marginal-rev  supply-demand  marginal  randy-ayndy  nl-and-so-can-you  nationalism-globalism  trade  homo-hetero  econotariat  broad-econ  zeitgeist  the-bones  🎩  empirical  limits  garett-jones  management  heavy-industry  books  review  externalities  free-riding  top-n  list  investing  software  planning  career  programming  endogenous-exogenous  econometrics 
march 2016 by nhaliday
Horrifying civil liberties predictions for 2015 - The Washington Post
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449698/civil-asset-forfeiture-law-enforcement-scam-expanded-jeff-sessions
https://twitter.com/GabrielRossman/status/887813740535496704
Asset forfeiture is like reading about the collapse of the Roman empire, when taxation broke down and the state relied on arbitrary levies
I get why taking smugglers' planes fights crime, but giving the agency that seizes property equity stakes turns cops into tax farmers
Notably Augustus's reforms of taxation to give less power to rapacious tax farmers is why provincials so preferred the principate
The Gospels w/ their "tax collecters and sinners" occur during the principate, but it was even worse in the republic, eg "Against Verres"

strongmen were often preferred by the small-folk. in decline imperial central power decline = aggrandizement of rural oligarchs
Yup, a major argument of the "transformationist" school, you see antecedents of feudalism in late antiquity

https://today.yougov.com/news/2015/08/28/poll-results-civil-asset-forfeiture/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/06/stop-and-seize/

“Get Out of Jail Free” Cards: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/01/get-jail-free-cards.html
I find these cards especially odious as more and more police are funding themselves through fines and forfeitures. Discriminatory taxation increases the tax rate. It’s one rule for the ruler and another for the ruled.

Do law enforcement officers have "a code" or a culture where they overlook the transgressions of other cops or retired cops? How does it work and how far does it go?: https://www.quora.com/Do-law-enforcement-officers-have-a-code-or-a-culture-where-they-overlook-the-transgressions-of-other-cops-or-retired-cops-How-does-it-work-and-how-far-does-it-go

Police Union Privileges: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/01/police-union-privileges.html

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2018/01/police-union-privileges-officer-misconduct-systems-thinking.html
This is important research but although I’m not surprised that collective bargaining rights lead to more misconduct I do find the size of the effect implausibly large. One reason is that police union privileges are only one brick in the blue wall. Juries, for example, often fail to convict police even when faced with video evidence that would be overwhelming in any other context [e.g. Philando Castile]. Police union privileges are unjust and should be abolished but solving the problems with policing requires more than a change in naked incentives.
politics  policy  civil-liberty  government  news  usa  org:rec  current-events  property-rights  multi  trump  org:mag  right-wing  twitter  social  commentary  econotariat  history  iron-age  mediterranean  the-classics  gibbon  taxes  rot  criminal-justice  microfoundations  org:data  data  poll  values  demographics  law  money  anomie  corruption  scitariat  gnxp  marginal-rev  trends  institutions  chart  feudal  discrimination  economics  rent-seeking  nyc  market-power  justice  q-n-a  qra  expert-experience  leviathan  decentralized  madisonian  study  summary  labor 
january 2015 by nhaliday

bundles : biznessecon

related tags

2016-election  abortion-contraception-embryo  academia  africa  age-generation  aggregator  agriculture  ai  ai-control  albion  alignment  allodium  amazon  american-nations  analogy  analysis  analytical-holistic  anarcho-tyranny  anglo  anglosphere  anomie  anonymity  anthropology  antidemos  aphorism  apollonian-dionysian  apple  arbitrage  aristos  arrows  art  article  asia  atmosphere  audio  authoritarianism  automation  autor  backup  barons  behavioral-gen  being-becoming  benevolence  biases  big-peeps  big-picture  biodet  bioinformatics  biophysical-econ  biotech  books  branches  brands  britain  broad-econ  business  business-models  california  canada  cancer  canon  capital  capitalism  career  cartoons  causation  censorship  chan  charity  chart  chicago  china  christianity  civic  civil-liberty  civilization  class  class-warfare  classic  climate-change  clinton  cliometrics  clown-world  coalitions  coarse-fine  cocktail  cohesion  cold-war  collaboration  coming-apart  commentary  communication  communism  community  comparison  compensation  competition  complement-substitute  composition-decomposition  computation  computer-vision  concept  conceptual-vocab  concrete  conquest-empire  context  contracts  contrarianism  convexity-curvature  cooperate-defect  coordination  corporation  correlation  corruption  cost-benefit  cost-disease  counter-revolution  courage  course  cracker-econ  creative  crime  criminal-justice  criminology  critique  crooked  cs  cultural-dynamics  culture  culture-war  current-events  curvature  cycles  cynicism-idealism  dan-luu  dark-arts  darwinian  data  database  death  debate  debt  decentralized  decision-making  deep-materialism  definite-planning  degrees-of-freedom  democracy  demographics  density  descriptive  detail-architecture  developing-world  dimensionality  dirty-hands  discipline  discrimination  discussion  distribution  divergence  diversity  domestication  drama  drugs  duplication  early-modern  eastern-europe  econ-metrics  econ-productivity  econometrics  economics  econotariat  eden-heaven  education  EEA  efficiency  egalitarianism-hierarchy  einstein  elections  elite  empirical  ems  endo-exo  endogenous-exogenous  energy-resources  engineering  enhancement  enlightenment-renaissance-restoration-reformation  entrepreneurialism  environment  envy  epistemic  equilibrium  error  essay  essence-existence  estimate  ethics  EU  europe  events  evolution  examples  exit-voice  expert-experience  explanans  explanation  exploratory  externalities  extra-introversion  facebook  failure  faq  farmers-and-foragers  fashun  FDA  fertility  feudal  fiction  finance  flexibility  fluid  flux-stasis  focus  foreign-policy  free-riding  frequency  frontier  futurism  gallic  game-theory  games  garett-jones  gender  general-survey  genetics  genomics  geoengineering  geography  germanic  giants  gibbon  gilens-page  gnon  gnosis-logos  gnxp  god-man-beast-victim  google  government  gray-econ  group-level  growth-econ  GT-101  h2o  hanson  hard-tech  hari-seldon  harvard  hci  heavy-industry  heterodox  hidden-motives  high-variance  higher-ed  history  hmm  hn  homo-hetero  honor  housing  hsu  human-capital  human-ml  hypocrisy  identity-politics  ideology  impact  impetus  incentives  increase-decrease  india  individualism-collectivism  industrial-org  industrial-revolution  inequality  info-dynamics  info-foraging  infrastructure  innovation  input-output  insight  instinct  institutions  intel  interdisciplinary  interests  internet  intervention  interview  intricacy  invariance  investigative-journo  investing  iran  iron-age  islam  israel  iteration-recursion  janus  japan  journos-pundits  justice  knowledge  krugman  kumbaya-kult  labor  land  larry-summers  latin-america  law  leadership  learning  lecture-notes  left-wing  legacy  lens  lesswrong  let-me-see  letters  leviathan  limits  links  list  literature  lmao  local-global  long-short-run  longevity  longform  longitudinal  love-hate  machine-learning  macro  madisonian  magnitude  malaise  management  managerial-state  manifolds  map-territory  marginal  marginal-rev  market-failure  market-power  markets  math  math.CA  meaningness  measurement  media  medicine  medieval  mediterranean  memes(ew)  MENA  meta-analysis  metabuch  metameta  methodology  micro  microbiz  microfoundations  microsoft  migration  minimum-viable  miri-cfar  mobile  model-class  models  modernity  mokyr-allen-mccloskey  moments  monetary-fiscal  money  morality  mostly-modern  multi  multiplicative  musk  myth  n-factor  narrative  nascent-state  nationalism-globalism  natural-experiment  nature  neocons  network-structure  neuro  new-religion  news  nietzschean  nihil  nitty-gritty  nl-and-so-can-you  noahpinion  noble-lie  noblesse-oblige  nonlinearity  north-weingast-like  northeast  nuclear  null-result  nutrition  nyc  obama  occident  old-anglo  open-closed  opioids  optimate  optimism  order-disorder  org:anglo  org:biz  org:bv  org:data  org:davos  org:econlib  org:edu  org:fin  org:foreign  org:gov  org:lite  org:local  org:mag  org:med  org:nat  org:ngo  org:rec  org:sci  organizing  orient  orwellian  oscillation  outcome-risk  outliers  paradox  parallax  pareto  path-dependence  patho-altruism  patience  pdf  peace-violence  people  personality  pessimism  phalanges  pharma  philosophy  physics  piketty  pinker  piracy  planning  plots  poast  polanyi-marx  polarization  policy  polisci  political-econ  politics  poll  populism  postmortem  power  power-law  pre-ww2  prediction  prediction-markets  preprint  presentation  primitivism  princeton  privacy  pro-rata  probability  profile  programming  propaganda  properties  property-rights  proposal  protestant-catholic  pseudoE  psych-architecture  psychology  putnam-like  q-n-a  qra  quality  quantum  questions  quiz  quotes  race  random  randy-ayndy  ranking  rationality  ratty  realness  realpolitik  reason  recommendations  recruiting  reddit  redistribution  reference  reflection  regression-to-mean  regularizer  regulation  religion  rent-seeking  review  revolution  rhetoric  rhythm  right-wing  risk  ritual  robotics  roots  rot  russia  s:*  sampling-bias  sapiens  scale  science  scifi-fantasy  scitariat  search  securities  self-interest  sentiment  sex  sexuality  shakespeare  shift  signal-noise  signaling  signum  singularity  sinosphere  skeleton  skunkworks  sky  slippery-slope  social  social-capital  social-choice  social-norms  social-science  social-structure  society  sociology  socs-and-mops  software  space  spearhead  speculation  speed  speedometer  spock  spreading  ssc  stagnation  stanford  startups  state-of-art  statesmen  stats  status  stereotypes  stochastic-processes  stock-flow  store  stories  strategy  straussian  street-fighting  structure  study  studying  stylized-facts  subculture  success  summary  supply-demand  survey  sv  synchrony  synthesis  tactics  tails  taxes  tech  technocracy  technology  techtariat  telos-atelos  temperance  terrorism  the-bones  the-classics  the-devil  the-founding  the-great-west-whale  the-south  the-watchers  the-west  the-world-is-just-atoms  theory-of-mind  theos  thick-thin  thiel  things  thinking  time  time-preference  time-series  tools  top-n  track-record  trade  tradeoffs  tradition  transportation  trends  tribalism  trivia  trump  trust  truth  turchin  tv  twitter  unaffiliated  uncertainty  unintended-consequences  urban  urban-rural  us-them  usa  values  vampire-squid  variance-components  venture  video  virginia-DC  virtu  visual-understanding  visualization  vitality  volo-avolo  war  wealth  wealth-of-nations  welfare-state  westminster  white-paper  wiki  winner-take-all  wire-guided  wisdom  within-without  woah  wonkish  workflow  world  world-war  X-not-about-Y  yarvin  yc  zeitgeist  zero-positive-sum  zooming  🎩  🐸  🖥 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: