- Gavin Kennedy on The Expensive Way to Do Anything
Steve Forbes writes in Forbes (September) a punchy piece illustrating the benefits of “markets where possible, the state where necessary” (and not the other way round).
- Eric Crampton on Tobacco plain packaging, if we cared about evidence
The Science Media Centre provides an expert round-up of commentary on a new paper finding, unsurprisingly, that people like branded tobacco packs more than they like plain packs. What's more relevant for policy, and what we really have no clue about, is whether changing the branding on packages has effects on aggregate sales or whether it works instead to break brand loyalty and move consumers to lower-cost no-name packs.
- Matt Nolan on PTA’s, currency, and monetary policy
Yes, you really do need as many instruments as objectives.
- Russ Roberts on The Numbers Game
Here’s a pilot for a new project I’ve started–a chartcast–a visual discussion of charts and data. This first episode is a conversation with John Taylor on the economic recovery and how it compares to past recoveries.
- Simon Burgess, Carol Propper, Marisa Ratto, Emma Tominey and Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder ask Do cash incentives matter in the public sector?
This column looks at the use of incentive schemes, such as performance-related pay, in the British Labour government between 1997 and 2010. It finds that cash incentives do matter, but that their design is critical.
- Patrick A Messerlin and Sébastien Miroudot ask Public procurement markets: Where are we?
Public spending on large-scale projects is often a way of sneaking in protectionism through the back door and there are many cases of outright corruption. With the EU and US pushing hard for more open public procurement elsewhere in the world, this column asks just how open these markets are, particularly in the EU, which claims to have the most open market in the world.
- Winton Bates asks Is there a close relationship between subjective and objective indicators of environmental protection?
In broad terms, the relationship is positive, but not close.
- Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson ask Why the Jews Are so Educated
Botticini and Eckstein document that Jews were not more educated before 1st century A.D. and most probably before 7th century A.D. Rather, as Solo Baron’s classic A Social and Religious History of the Jews also argues, the change in Jewish educational practices and institutions came out of an internal conflict about the control of Jewish society between two groups, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
- Thomas Lumley warns us about the Attack of the killer frying pans
There’s a headline in the Herald: Heart disease linked to non-stick cookware: study. There seems to have been some loss in translation for both the article and the headline.