- Victor Duggan, Sjamsu Rahardja and Gonzalo Varela on Service-sector reforms enhance manufacturing productivity: Evidence from Indonesia
The ‘manufacturing matters’ movement has gained prominence on the policy agenda even as the nature of manufacturing continues to morph. This column discusses new research showing that opening service sectors to competition and foreign direct investment can be a powerful conduit for productivity gains in manufacturing. The gains depend on both the types of reforms and the specific services sectors in which these are implemented.
- Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson on The Economic Nature of the Resource Curse: Evidence
Is it true more generally that natural resource wealth, or perhaps more specifically oil wealth, has a negative effect on economic growth? If it does, via what mechanisms?
- Jon Danielsson on Iceland’s post-Crisis economy: A myth or a miracle?
Icelandic voters recently ejected its post-Crisis government – a government that successfully avoided economic collapse when the odds were stacked against it. The new government comprises the same parties that were originally responsible for the Crisis. What’s going on? This column argues that this switch is, in fact, logical given the outgoing government’s mishandling of the economy and their deference towards foreign creditors.
- Richard Posner on Security Surveillance Cameras
Many businesses (notably banks) and even homes have surveillance cameras nowadays. Usually they are pointed at the interior of the building though sometimes also or instead at the entrance to or the grounds of the building. These uses of surveillance cameeras are uncontroversial. But there is controversy over surveillance cameras that are owned by or form part of a network of surveillance cameras that is accessible to government, especially when, as is increasingly common, the surveillance cameras are technologically sophisticated and can for example enlarge the photographed images, take pictures at night, enable face recognition by matching facial features of a person photographed by the camera with a database of facial features, and even follow a vehicle or pedestrian as it or he goes out of the range of one camera and into the range of another.
- Gary Becker on The Internet, Surveillance Cameras, and Misuse of Big Data
Surveillance cameras, tax reporting, Internet-based data, emails, mobile phone records and their cameras are some of the more salient modern ways that provide information on individuals and organizations. Few object when banks and other organizations use surveillance cameras on their premises to deter theft and robbery. There is much greater concern when Internet companies like Google and Facebook use their vast stores of data to learn about the interests and other personal information, of the millions of individuals who use their services. Probably, however, the most serious threat is the misuse of “big data” by governments, including democratic governments.
- Kristian Niemietz on Poor people in rich countries – a new approach to measurement and policy
Relative poverty measures are deeply flawed, but that does make absolute measures any better. Poverty is not absolute. Perceptions of what is a ‘necessity’ and what is merely a convenience change over time. Our great-grandparents would not have considered a washing machine, a central heating or an indoor bathroom to be necessities. To us, they are necessities, and this is simply because we live in societies where virtually every household has these items.
- Chris Dillow On Terrorist Probabilities
Why aren't the Scots doing more to combat their culture of violence? Why aren't its community leaders doing more to rein in their violent minority? Don't we need tougher laws to protect us from the threat posed by men of Scottish appearance? You might think I've lost my mind. From a statistical point of view, though, I haven't.