Saturday, 23 August 2014

Interesting blog bits

  1. Carlos Vargas-Silva asks Are Migrants Good for the Economy?
    Two studies about the impact of migration on the UK economy have been published which – if media reports are to believed – appear to contradict one another. A closer reading of these reports, however, shows that in fact they come to very similar economic conclusions.
  2. Chris Dillow on Optimum Deaths
    What is the optimum number of migrant deaths? The answer is not zero.
  3. Tim Worstall points out What glories this capitalist free market thing hath wrought
    There’s nothing worse than being exploited by some running lackey pig dog of a capitalist, as Deirdre McCloskey reminds us.
  4. Joel Waldfogel on Piracy Undermining Content Creation: Loch Ness Monster or Black Swan?
    Theory and common sense dictate that piracy should threaten new product creation. If it costs money to bring new works to market, then a reduction in revenue – all else constant – should render some projects uneconomic. So compelling is this theory that the content industries share it with lawmakers at every opportunity. Robert Solow once quipped, “You see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” So it has been with piracy and content creation: one can see a negative impact of piracy everywhere except in the evidence about content creation. Maybe until now.
  5. Ed Dolan on Universal Basic Income and Work Incentives: What Can Economic Theory Tell Us?
    Everywhere you look, it seems, people are talking about a Universal Basic Income (UBI)—a monthly cash benefit paid to every citizen that would replace the existing means-tested welfare system.
  6. Tim Harford on Monopoly is a bureaucrat’s friend but a democrat’s foe
    “It takes a heap of Harberger triangles to fill an Okun gap,” wrote James Tobin in 1977, four years before winning the Nobel Prize in economics. He meant that the big issue in economics was not battling against monopolists but preventing recessions and promoting recovery.
  7. Andrea Prat asks How can we measure media power?
    The potential for political influence is what most people think of when they talk about the power of the media. A new media power index, proposed in this column, aggregates power across all platforms and focuses not on markets but on voters. It measures not actual media influence but rather its potential. Using the index, the author finds that the four most powerful media companies in the US are television-based and the absolute value of the index is high. This indicates that most American voters receive their news from a small number of news sources, which creates the potential for large political influence.
  8. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt, Stephen Redding, Daniel M. Sturm and Nikolaus Wolf on The economics of density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall
    Economic activity is highly unevenly distributed across space. Understanding what drives the agglomeration and dispersion is important for many economic and policy questions. This column describes a theoretical model of internal city structure incorporating agglomeration and dispersion and heterogeneity in local fundamentals. The authors use the division and reunification of Berlin as a natural experiment. Their findings show that both heterogeneity in locational fundamentals and agglomeration forces are important in shaping a city’s internal structure.
  9. Tim Worstall on Companies are the cells of the economy
    It’s often pointed out that companies are little sections of a command economy and thus, some leap to say, obviously it’s possible to have a command economy because we actually do.

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