Sunday, 19 May 2013

Interesting blog bits

  1. Sam Richardson asks Events capital = big returns, right?
    The New Zealand Herald today is reporting that Auckland is a more successful city than Sydney at attracting and hosting major events. Auckland Mayor Len Brown says: "Major sporting events are big business and bring substantial economic benefits to the host region, so there is fierce competition globally to secure events." There certainly is fierce competition all right - but not a whole lot in the way of compelling evidence that the economic impacts of events are as substantive as commonly thought.
  2. Matt Zwolinski asks Should You Buy a T-Shirt Made in Bangladesh?
    Recent events in Bangladesh have brought moral questions surrounding sweatshops into the spotlight again. And many consumers are wondering whether they might be doing something wrong by purchasing goods that are made in Bangladeshi textile firms.
  3. Mario Rizzo on Bangladeshi Garment Workers and the Perversion of Ethics
    This is another instance of the simplistic pseudo-morality of those who can only see what is right in front of them at the present moment. This attitude is closer to a sympathetic reflex than a reasoned moral judgment.
  4. George Hall and Thomas J. Sargent on Fiscal prioritisation: Lessons from three wars
    Can we learn from previous instances of fiscal prioritisation? This column surveys the US Treasury’s response to three wars – the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and the Civil War. Contemporary advocates of engaging in fiscal discrimination might ponder the actions of previous US Presidents Madison and Grant, who honoured all existing federal obligations despite challenging fiscal conditions.
  5. Chris Dillow on Adam Smith on Immigration
    UKIP claims that its tax policies are derived from Adam Smith. But what would the great man make of its anti-immigration policies? I suspect the answer is: not much.
  6. Klaus Desmet and Stephen L. Parente on Unleashing growth: The decline of innovation-blocking institutions
    Innovation is the beating heart of modern growth. This column argues that innovation-blocking institutions weaken when markets expand and competition intensifies. The rise and decline of medieval Italian crafts guilds offer valuable insights into this process. Policies that promote greater market integration and stronger competition are key steps in lowering the barriers to innovation.
  7. John Taylor on Why Title II of Dodd-Frank Has Not Reduced the Likelihood of Bailouts
    Today the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on whether the Orderly Liquidation Authority (OLA) in Title II of the Dodd Frank Act has reduced the likelihood of bailouts of large financial firms. I was one of the witnesses. Here is a summary of my 5 minute opening statement.
  8. William Kerr on Cuddly or not, the design of worker insurance is critically important
    Do economies’ social policies affect their innovative outcomes? This column uses the case of venture capital investors to argue that it may. Countries that protect workers rather than jobs – and thus avoid employment-protection laws – developed stronger venture-capital markets over 1999-2008, especially in highly volatile sectors like computers or energy.
  9. Gary Becker on The Rise in College Tuition and Student Loans
    Many commentators have criticized these large tuition increases. Colleges and universities are said to be too greedy and are charging what the traffic will bear, or colleges are claimed to conspire together to increase tuition. Although colleges do conspire on some financial issues, such as agreeing through the NCAA to prevent payments to college athletes, conspiracy is not likely to be important in determining tuition since over 4000 colleges and universities compete fiercely for students, faculty, and funding.
  10. Richard Posner on College Costs and Quality
    I graduated from Yale College in 1959. Tuition, room, and board at Yale in the late 1950s was $2000 a year; this year it is $60,000. Adjusted for inflation, this is a more than threefold increase. Average salary for a full professor at Yale went from $13,000 in 1959 to $186,000 this year (excluding medical school faculty), which after correction for inflation, an almost twofold increase. The rates of increase in these two variables varies from college to college, but I believe it is generally true that college costs have risen significantly faster than faculty costs. One thing that has depressed the increase in faculty costs is the increasing use of graduate students and other part-time faculty in lieu of tenure-track faculty. In addition, the administrative staffs of colleges have grown rapidly, in part because of increased legal regulation of education. Also, colleges have increased the quality of student housing and provided other amenities for students, in an effort to compete more effectively for rich kids. In addition, greatly reduced state subsidies for state colleges, in the wake of the economic depression that began in 2008, have forced state colleges to increase tuition.

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