Friday, 8 July 2011

Interesting blog bits

  1. Tim Worstall on Ban PowerPoint!
    Here’s the answer to the European economic woes: ban PowerPoint.

    Yes, really, that’s the suggestion from a Swiss political party. They’re collecting signatures to hold a referendum on the issue: under that country’s system they need 100,000 signatures to put a ban on PowerPoint and similar software to the nation in a national referendum. Such referenda are binding so it’s not an entirely idle threat.
  2. Kenneth Rogoff on Technology and Inequality
    There is no doubt that income inequality is the single biggest threat to social stability around the world, whether it is in the United States, the European periphery, or China. Yet it is easy to forget that market forces, if allowed to play out, might eventually exert a stabilizing role. Simply put, the greater the premium for highly skilled workers, the greater the incentive to find ways to economize on employing their talents.
  3. Kristian Niemietz on If the minimum wage cannot be scrapped, at least make it predictable
    If scrapping the minimum wage is not politically feasible at the moment, then at least it should be made predictable. One way of doing this is creating an automatic uprating formula which cannot easily be changed. The rate could be pegged to hourly wages at some lower percentile (the 10th, say) of the regional wage distribution, thus effectively regionalising it and removing it from political discretion.

    This would not solve the fundamental problem that some people are effectively banned from working. But for the borderline cases, it could still make a big difference.
  4. Eamonn Butler on Paying professors not to teach
    At Oxford Adam Smith was taught another lesson in economics – that if you pay people whether they work or not, they will invariably choose not to.
  5. Alberto Alesina, Paola Giuliano and Nathan Nunn on Women and the plough.
    Gender inequality is an old story. This column presents new evidence to suggest it may be as old as the horse and plough. It says there is a robust negative relationship between historical plough-use and unequal gender roles today. Traditional plough-use is positively correlated with attitudes reflecting gender inequality and negatively correlated with female labour force participation, female firm ownership, and female participation in politics.
  6. Berk Ozler on Working Papers are NOT Working.
    Working papers are the research equivalent of sweatshirts with pizza stains on them, but we wear them on our first date with our audience.
  7. Michael Giberson on Oil markets appear unfazed by announced release of oil from strategic reserves
    On June 23 the International Energy Agency announced the release of 60 million barrels of oil from strategic reserves held by member governments. Oil prices dipped for a day or two, then recovered more or less to pre-June 23 levels. Overall, it seems, the release merited a collective yawn from the markets.
  8. Art Carden on Time to Close the Security Theater
    The problem isn’t that the TSA is harassing the wrong people. The problem is that the TSA is harassing anyone. The TSA is encroaching on fundamental liberties and providing no discernable benefit.
  9. Lasse Lien on Productivity: The Mother of (Nearly) All Good Things
    The mother of all good (material) things is productivity growth. Competitive advantage, firm level growth and survival, profits, economy-wide economic growth, job creation, and destruction, etc. are all outcomes that depend critically on relative productivity and productivity changes. So if you understood productivity really well, you would understand a lot about (material) outcomes across firms, industries and countries, too.
  10. Tim Worstall asks Who Makes Money From Windmills?
    Well, for the UK, the answer to who makes money from windmills is quite easy: The Queen.

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