Thursday, September 30, 2010
Cycling and drug scandals are a fantastic example of diminishing returns-- at this point, believe the marginal impact to cycling from additional positive rider are as close to zero as possible.
2. I get the sense that the number of people in a dining party is a function of the quality of the restaurant. I think this because every time I run down to the McDonald's near the office, it's generally pretty busy, but the single diners outnumber the groups by a healthy margin (even comparing the total number of people dining in each). When I go to a restaurant, I rarely see people dining alone. If dependent variable is simply the average/expected group size as a function of restaurant quality, I'd expect it to rise to a point then fall-- you generally don't take consistently larger groups to particularly high quality resturants. (Perhaps I'm mistaken.) If the dependent variable is simply the number of groups vs. the number of single diners, maybe that's increasing over the entire range. I'm not perusing the highest quality eateries, I'll spare you my likely incorrect assumptions.
Maybe it's because there aren't many places to sit that would accomidate a larger party? Possibly, but larger parties could still exists within the current framework at most fast food eateries.
I'm not certain if Tyler Cowen's said anything about this, but this seems right in his wheelhouse.
3. I just made it through Exile on Main Street; I'm still a bit baffled as to the critical acclaim this album continually gets. (I do understand part of that may have been drumming up interest for the recent re-release.) I think part of the reason is that the Rolling Stones is a fantastic band that wasn't particularly adept at making good albums, and people can't seem to handle that disconnect. They have to choose something as a flagship effort, and Exile seems to be it.
When one thinks Los Angeles, one thinks (among many things) traffic. I wonder what traffic rates have to do with crime in the Los Angeles area.
Spatial folks, get after it!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Addendum: Here's the discipline-by-discipline data.
Lowest ranked BCS team: Purdue (110)
High ranked non-BCS team: TCU (5)
Thursday, September 23, 2010
And bringing up the rear...Ed Lopez' North Texas Mean Green.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The article covers research on introducing race and political leanings of the participants, with many fascinating findings. The conclusion (at least suggested by the article here) is that people adopt their moral reasoning ex-post, rather than employ it ex-ante:
So we’ll tell a child on one day, as Pizarro’s parents told him, that ends should never justify means, then explain the next day that while it was horrible to bomb Hiroshima, it was morally acceptable because it shortened the war. We act — and then cite whichever moral system fits best, the relative or the absolute.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
- No team has two points, which is the same as last year. I think this is a fairly strong piece of evidence that teams don't want to maximize the quality of opponents early in the season, independent of what coaches or athletic directors may say. Yes, there is a factor out of your control in getting to 2 points through Week 2, but you'd expect that to wash out over multiple teams sitting at 2-0. You'd think someone would get there if enough teams tried to.
-Three teams-- Arizona State, Ball State and Indiana (Hi Justin!)-- have yet to play a FBS opponent.
- Gus has slated Eastern Michigan and UAB as the worst teams through only two weeks of games.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore.Wow. I used this video in class recently. The saddest thing: the average Cuban could not utter that same phrase without fear of state action.
Boettke links to other communist admissions.
Friday, September 10, 2010
It is historically inaccurate (and, to the extent one knows otherwise, intellectually dishonest) to claim the rational expectations assumption was discovered in the 1960s with Muth. The theoretical power behind the assumption of full and complete expectations had in fact been known for some time. Among others, Hicks (1936, p. 241) had expressed the basic idea in admitting it “unrealistic to assume that an important change in data—say the introduction or extension of a public works policy—will leave expectations unchanged, even immediately.” Rational expectations was not discovered, but rather rediscovered in the 1960s because earlier theorists had explicitly rejected the assumption. In the case of Hicks, it was assumed that “there is a psychological unknown, affecting the magnitude of the impact effect” and, as such, “[w]e must not expect the most elaborate economic analysis to enable us to see very far ahead” (p. 241). Earlier economists were aware of rational expectations and, as Meacci (2009, p. 1) describes, saw the assumption primarily as “a device […] to conceal the link between the disappointment of expectations and the theory of fluctuations.” It was not a lack of knowledge that had left the assumption largely unemployed, but the feeling that it was wholly inappropriate to use in addressing a topic so intimately linked to the process of time.The comments are open. I'd love to hear what you think.
The amount of data available is impressive, with geographic information on subsidized housing, air quality, communicable diseases, birth defects, etc. You can find a complete listing here.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
In making decisions, individuals rely on certain heuristics or cognitive biases. One of these is salience, which generally refers to visibility or prominence. Individuals are likely to focus on items or information that are prominent or salient and ignore those that are less visible. This paper develops an argument for exploiting this cognitive bias in designing or changing taxes. Most commentary assumes that the intentional use of low-salience taxes by the government is undesirable and that increased salience is always required; to do otherwise is to take advantage of the cognitive bias that causes individuals to ignore taxes that are not prominent or salient. Although increasing salience is often desirable, there is a political economy argument for intentionally exploiting this bias by incorporating low-salience provisions into tax design. In developing the argument that utilizing this bias may be an appropriate fiscal tool, the paper begins by setting out the differences between transparency, complexity, and salience, which are often confused in the literature. The paper then makes a normative case that it is appropriate for legislators to design a tax by intentionally exploiting the cognitive bias that causes individuals to ignore information that is not prominent. The paper differs in two ways from past literature discussing salience. First it considers salience with respect to federal income taxes. Most commentators have explored salience in connection with consumption or commodity taxes. Second it considers the salience of discrete provisions, rather than merely the salience of the tax itself. It concludes with a case study where the use of low-salience tax provisions are justified and effective, i.e. where Congress finds it necessary to minimize the prominence of the tax because politically it cannot increase marginal tax rates.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Recent financial scandals in some of America's largest corporations have prompted popular speculation that a similar crisis may occur within the public sector and, therefore, that government and nonprofit organizations should be required to adopt financial oversight practices similar to those that are mandated of publicly-traded corporations in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. One of those mandated practices—the use of financial-oversight committees—is already a common practice in public organizations, though little is known about its effectiveness. This study uses a national sample of local governments to examine whether financial-oversight committees improve financial control and strengthen stakeholder confidence in financial reporting. The findings provide preliminary support for the use of financial-oversight committees as an effective tool to improve financial accountability in local government.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
I wanted to drop a quick note and let everyone know that, as the college football season gets underway tonight, the Gus Rankings will be in full force again this year! For the uninitiated, the Gus Rankings are TPS's simple method of ranking college football teams-- nothing more than counting wins and losses. Here's the original post that outlines the methodology, and here's everything Gus related on this blog.
Remember, Gus can't generate a ranking until teams play at least two games, so expect to see the first rankings after the weekend of Saturday, September 11. Don't expect to see a large degree of variation in the rankings until 5 or 6 weeks in--then again, it's always fun to see who rises to the top early in the season. (Like Washington at #1 in Week 3 last year.)
This paper provides supportive evidence to the notion that the division of labour is limited by the extent of the (local) market. We first propose a theoretical model. Its main prediction is that scarce specialists occupations are over-represented in large cities. Using census data for French cities, we find strong empirical support for this prediction.Haven't read it, but it is on the "when I have the time" pile of papers.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
4. Treating everyone the same. It has long been standard operating procedure at many companies to treat all employees the same, for a host of reasons. Foremost among those reasons is that many companies find it hard to make distinctions among rank-and-file employees or senior executives.
However, current trends and regulatory reforms are forcing companies to distinguish some employees from others. Companies are now required to expense stock option awards, meaning that making option awards available to all is simply not financially feasible. Not everyone can be treated the same; not everyone can get big option or restricted stock grants.
Government mandated accounting standards and disclosure requirements are not the only reason to differentiate among employees. There are the important questions of incentives and retention: A company must provide a reward structure to motivate its employees to perform and to stay with the company. Each company must ask and answer why it cares about retaining a given person and how it plans to do so. Inevitably, employees are clearly going to be treated differently. Companies will have to learn how to manage the process of creating and calibrating an incentive structure.