Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolution

High time to reach the top speed and to keep it there. Brace yourselves, this is going to be far more adrenaline-thirsty than racing a Bugatti Veyron at 407 km/h :-). A Very Exciting New Year, everybody!

Quote for week 23rd-29th of Dec '07

You're the last person I'm talking to, so you'll probably get the best interview, darling. I don't want to change the world. For me, happiness is the most important thing and if I'm happy, then it shows in my work. In the end, all the mistakes and all the excuses are down to me. I like to feel that I'm just being my honest self and as far as I'm concerned I just want to pack in as much of life and fun, having a good time as much as I can within in the years I have. Well there you are, you have it on tape. Use it. Well that's then nearest I've come to a lot of passion in terms of interviews. How much more have you got? Come on, I'm getting bored.

Freddie Mercury, in 'The Queen Phenomenon"

Raising smart kids

Here's a very well written article from the Scientific American, on raising smart kids (since I have quite many friends with young kids or expecting them: mothers and fathers (to be), pay great attention to this). You might also want to (re)read an older entry of mine on the same topic. Indeed, to sum up the article(s) above in my way, what one should induce to his/her children is the belief that nothing is impossible and that the key combination for achieving anything is ambition+ effort+ perseverance. Which is exhaustive. Really. In other words, you should get them to the stage where anything that looks difficult to start with, should be approached by "I so much love a challenge!"

Now, related in several ways to the above, as a (future) parent you should also realize that many things have been changing (which should be relevant unless you decide to isolate yourselves in a Blue Lagoon) and thus, for instance, that toddlers increasingly demand authenticity (this is via Tyler Cohen on MR, where you can also read some further interesting comments). And to conclude keeping on the psychological frequence, we still don't know enough about what drives adolescents to take so many risks, though certain myths are by now debunked and you should be well aware of that. Remember here the part about the challenges, one needs to keep them busy with the proper ones...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Unire intru fanatism...

... sau intru prostie, as completa eu. Costi Rogozanu scrie foarte bine pe blogul sau despre recentul protest al Patriarhiei Romane vizand traducerea in romana a "Versetelor Satanice" scrise de Salman Rushdie. Am zis 'foarte bine' mai sus; asta nu acopera insa si remarca lui Rogozanu referitoare la "stilul greoi emfatic al lui Rushdie", dar ma rog, sa o lasam la de gustibus (desi m-as fi asteptat la mai mult de la Rogozanu si ajung sa ma intreb cat a citit din Rushdie...).

Recenta incercare a Patriarhiei de a se opune libertatii expresiei in baza legii cultelor era desigur previzibila de multa vreme, vezi si o analiza rapida, pe text, a acestei fantastice probe de eruditie mioritica, numita 'lege a cultelor' la noi.

Intr-un fel sunt mirat ca nu am auzit (inca?) nimic vis-à-vis de eventuale proteste ale Patriarhiei (si ale Ambasadei Iraniene, partenerul ideal intru fanatism & co, evidemment) la recenta traducere a cartii lui Richard Dawkins, 'The God Delusion' , in limba romana. Sau dumnealor chiar nu mai citesc decat fictiune?

Mioritic achievements of bad renown. And their primary causes.

No one, it turns out, does Internet auction fraud like the Romanians. [...]
when it comes to online auctions, particularly for big-ticket items such as cars that can yield $5,000 a scam, Romanians own the game. Romanian police estimate that cyber-crime is now a multimillion-dollar national industry, as important to organized criminals here as drug smuggling or human trafficking. [...]
The Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, ranks Romania fifth in its table of naughty nations. But most experts agree that doesn't give Romanian criminals their due. Much of the cash being made on auction fraud reported as originating in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Spain or Italy is actually being picked up in those countries by Romanian money mules. An EBay fraud ring busted last year in Chicago, for example, has been traced to Pitesti, Romania. [...]
EBay, which doesn't even operate a site in Romania, won't talk dollar figures but acknowledges that the country is the No. 1 source of "professional fraud." On a November 2006 visit to the Romanian capital, Bucharest, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the vast majority of Internet fraud committed on "one prominent U.S. online auction website is connected to Romania or Romanians."

Read more here.

All well said, except this part that simply doesn't fit at all the story or the point or anything, though it raises a far more important issue. Here's the nonsense: "The respect for math is inside every family, even simple families, who are very proud to say their children are good at mathematics," said Radu Gologan, a senior research scientist at the Institute of Mathematics in downtown Bucharest." This is a myth that some Romanians still believe in (including, surprinsingly, the 'insider' interviewed above). Unfortunately, recent data reveals the very sad, but expected, truth (link in Romanian)... It is primarily the LACK of mathematics, logic, of good education/good job opportunities/ good preparation for (economic & social) life in general etc., in Romania, that determines such criminal behaviour as mentioned above, and not their (overwhelming- LOL!) presence (or respect for them and all the rest of the blahblah). But some still need to wake up. Including (or better: especially) those that are part of the Romanian education system.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Econlinks for 27-12-'07

  • "Morality matters for economic performance": A very interesting summary of recent research plus the agenda for further research in the context, by Guido Tabellini, on Tabellini already presented (part of) this in the 2007 EEA-ESEM conference from Budapest (more precisely, as the EEA Presidential Address, from the 30th of August), for those of you who have also been attending.

  • Markets in everything, one more exotic episode from Tyler Cowen's book, "Discover your inner economist" (read here the previous one). Today about the 'business of renting wedding guests':

A report from India tells of a firm that rents out wedding guests, so that the wedding and the party do not look empty. The "guests" will wear either traditional Indian dress or Western clothes, depending on what the customer dictates. They are told to dance and make small talk, and show a knowledge of the marrying couple,without letting on that they are hired. The firm's owner, a Mr. Syed, told one newspaper: "The breaking up of joint families and lack of affection among relatives also creates a demand for paid guests". The Best Guests Centre, at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, is looking to expand. To each his own: I would pay some people to stay away from my wedding.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Song of the day, month, year: "Wild is the wind", by David Bowie

This is one of my favourite songs ever, by one of my favourite artists ever (I said that elsewhere, as well). And I don't have to write much more (here's a wiki entry nonetheless, to refresh your memory on e.g. the proud fathers of this song, Tiomkin and Washington etc.), since we're talking about an absolute masterpiece here (in the sense that one can only remain awe-stricken Salieri-like, when listening to it...). Perhaps only that it reminds me that I loved all the women I slept with plus a very few I did not sleep with :-). Enjoy "Wild is the wind", in David Bowie's version.

Quote for week 16th to 22nd of Dec '07

No one believes me, but comedy is better than muscles, money or looks. If you can make a girl laugh out loud, you're in there. It's almost like the pressure of the laugh makes her panties fall off.

Econlinks for 21-12-'07

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Song of the day: "Enjoy the silence", by Depeche Mode

A perfect song for the day; fast and without many further comments since Depeche Mode certainly does not need 'em... In a way, this is an answer to an exchange of comments between me and Dan, a great while ago, on what is my favourite piece from Depeche. Dan, now you've got your answer :-). I was not and am not really a "fan" (what's that unconditional, eternal, support anyway?!) of this band (& talking about that, remember where I stand, in terms of musical tastes-- what's got value, it's got value, no matter the genre; I am a priori open to anything and looking forward to be impressed), but certain songs in their repertoire are simply immortal. And most of all, "Enjoy the Silence" (in fact: I used to be crazy about this song, many winters ago...). More on this masterpiece, on wikipedia. Enjoy, indeed!

Best phrase I've read today

As a protest vote, Ron Paul seems fine, but hearing him or reading about him just makes me depressed. A good rule of thumb is not to get too excited about any candidate whose actual election would make the Dow lose thousands of points.

For the whole context, see Tyler Cowen's excellent recent post. I would have actually phrased it more bluntly: Ron Paul is a lunatic with several very good ideas. Cowen's post on MR also contains a link to an "alternative" view of Alina Stefanescu, post which, otherwise interesting, is at best very naive. I do mention this because, for some reason, somebody in the roblosphere seems to have associated me (my blog), at some point, in a totally different context, with her (her blog). Now that I've actually read one of her posts, I confess that I find the comparison above utterly uninspired, to say the least...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Academia patetica... ad infinitum

Din pacate, din ceea ce a reprezentat odata Academia Romana, eticheta academica a ramas doar in nume; daca institutia s-a remarcat prin ceva in ultimii ani, e vorba de a). cvasi-invizibilitate pe scena academica/educationala/sociala etc. (speram ca lucrurile sa se schimbe o data cu Ionel Haiduc, un om de stiinta in adevaratul sens al cuvantului, ajuns presedinte; asteptarile nu s-au materializat...) si b). perpetuare, sub diferite forme, a status quo-ului din perioada comunista si cea, din multe puncte de vedere similara, care i-a urmat ('perioada de confuzie' ar zice unii, eufemistic; confuzie doar pentru analisti, nu si pentru actorii din context, le-as raspunde...). Limitat de spatiu si timp, voi aminti aici doar doua din cele mai recente dovezi ale 'verticalitatii' acestei institutii: 'replica' lipsita de orice urma de decenta a unui (fost... at last!) reprezentant din setul "membrilor de onoare" ai Academiei sau neinspirata 'onorare' a altora cu activitati paralele academe-ului. Epsilon intre exemplele care pot fi discutate.

Probabil doar timpul va schimba ceea ce trebuie schimbat-- si e nevoie de cateva generatii bune pentru aceasta. E trist mai ales pentru cei care intr-adevar isi merita locul si care cred intr-o Academie (pentru un proxy al proportiei acestor adevarati academicieni, intre membrii institutiei, comparati voturile pro si cons date fostului rege si respectiv actualului patriarh, de mai sus). Daca acestia vor totusi sa faca o diferenta (sa contribuie la ceea ce va constitui "diferenta"), ar fi nevoie sa-si dea demisia acum si sa (re)infiinteze Academia Romana, cea pe care ne-o dorim-- si cea pe care in cele din urma o vom avea. Pentru ei insa, din nefericire, timp prea mult nu mai este...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Since Xmas is approaching...

...surely we don't want to wait to hear our adorable President and Prime Minister (talking about Romanians here; warning for all other nations, get your own fools, these are ours!) wishing us all the blahblah, so, ahead of time, here they are. Most of the time they fight, but you gotta admit they worked perfectly in a team this time.

Taught them everything about the elf dance,

PS. Feel free to elf yourselves, all of you. Many thanks to Neto for the tip! :-).

Miorita si consumatorul-rege

Unul din cele mai bune articole citite recent in presa autohtona: Catalin Sturza cu "persoana a doua plural" (in paranteza fie spus, Catalin Sturza e unul dintre foarte putinii insideri mass media de la noi care scrie bine de obicei, deci va recomand sa-l urmariti).

Relatia client-furnizor de servicii (sau: de orice alte produse) e o intr-adevar o dimensiune unde piata (poate) decide in proportie de 100%, un exemplu excelent unde nu e nevoie de interventii/ reglementari externe, pentru ca agentii care nu se conformeaza vor fi implicit sanctionati de clienti (e.g. pierd din profit, aka bacsis etc, pierd din reputatie-- ceea ce e un proxy in intretinerea interactiunilor repetate si prin implicatie in mentinerea profitabilitatii s.a.m.d.). Chiar daca in Romania nu am atins inca echilibrul in contextul de fata (citeste: unele lucruri care in alte parti se cunosc de la Adam Smith incoace, la noi inca se invata), pe termen lung nu putem ajunge altundeva: Le roi est mort, vive le consommateur!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Romania and the world of film

...Nouvelle Vague, Dogma, The Berlin School, The December Children. Not bad, not bad at all. Once you are part of that set, you are somebody. Finally.

PS. And maybe somebody I know was very right when choosing the 'film studies' direction. Just maybe.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Quote of the week 9th-15th of Dec '07

I start my class every year by saying, “These are models. And the reason we call them models is that they’re not 100 percent true. If they were, we would call them reality, not models. They’re simplifications.” But the acid test is, how good are the simplifications for your purposes? And for almost all purposes, market efficiency is a very good approximation.

Eugene Fama (in a Nov '07 interview)

What is good mathematics?

Read the answer by one of the most qualified persons to give an answer: Terence Tao.

Also: Tao's blog is for quite a while in my blogring, I hope you noticed that :-). Quite an interesting and welcome new idea there is that he'll be posting soon his notes on the graduate course "topics in ergodic theory".

Friday, December 14, 2007

It is time for the current Minister of Education to go...

... and I'll come back to the theme of the title soon (there are many reasons for the title, beyond what this short post will touch on), with an alternative, you've always got to have an alternative when you criticise... But meanwhile, if The Diplomat is right in this article (via Gabi Istrate, on Ad Astra), the MEdC signed itself up (in an apparent total ignorance, which is a proxy to a far more serious sin-- and this is a real sin!--incompetence) to a new beginning of the Dark Ages... Hopefully we'll only get to watch the first episode of that, though.

Update, some minutes later: almost forgot, you can also read some other posts of mine related, to various extents, to the worrying developments underlined in the article linked above, e.g. here, here or here (all in Romanian).

Salivating over economics in public

Definitely the morning pill today. Couldn't have phrased this better. From a self-defined "Ec10 slut" and necessarily via Greg Mankiw :-). The conclusion of this short article is useful to keep in mind as future reference, for everybody-- both outsiders and insiders to economics:

When we use the tools that economics give us, we need to be sure that the complexity of the models we use match the complexity of the real world situations. Economics embodies a different and valuable approach to public policy, one that strives to apply rigorous scientific standards to what can often seem like fuzzy questions. And when economics solutions fall short of the ideal, it is a signal that the specific methods employed are flawed, not that economic science as a whole needs to be scrapped.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Today's song: Semilla Negra (in Marlango's version)

The musical masterpiece for today is "Semilla Negra", in Marlango's rendition. Probably you know that the song was first introduced by the popular pop-rock Spanish band of the 80's, "Radio Futura". I managed to trace on YouTube their version. Here's a nice description of Radio Futura's "Semilla Negra" and what this song brought novel:

"Semilla Negra introduced the first hints of what would soon become their signature contribution: latin rock based on a highly intellectualized basis (frontman Santiago Auserón holds a degree in Philosophy and is known for lenghty answers in flourishing vocabulary) but, notwithstanding, aimed at the streets and addressed to the general populace[...]."

And indeed, as you will surely agree, the lyrics of the song more than justify its characterization above. Another famous rendition of the same song is by the Peruvian rock band "La Liga del Sueño". You can also listen to their version on YouTube. While both Radio Futura's and Liga del Sueño's versions are very good, the one I personally prefer, at the same time the one most different compared to the others, is Marlango's superlative "Semilla Negra". Here you can listen to a pure audio clip of it on YouTube, while this one (but lower audio quality) is a clip from a live performance (Semilla Negra starts about 1:30 min in the clip). Since I talked already quite extensively (and will mention them again in the future) about Marlango, and since you might have guessed that I am totally crazy about Leonorcita by now (I confess: so far, I've been playing hard-to-get with her; that is, I haven't contacted or given her much attention, which I certainly hope will lead her to contact me very soon), I'll just end by wishing you: Enjoy!

Econlinks for 13-12-'07

  • Here's a very interesting post of Andrew Gelman (based on this co-authored article of his) on whether the Democrats should move, as an electoral strategy, more to the left on the economic policy axis. His answer says that no, au contraire, they could gain if they moved moved a bit to the right (indeed, how on earth could the Democrats move more to the left than where they are already, economic-wise?!) , but certainly keeping to the left of the Republicans. The analysis is quite insightful, but I think it ignores other dimensions that would/will play a big role in the electoral strategies; i.e, the left and right discussed herein are purely the economic ones, while probably the Democrats can win much more from positioning strategically on the political axis, where most Republicans are not what they should/could/ought be (beats me why...), libertarians that is... (e.g. think for instance of the 2-dimension political compass I've talked about a while ago). Also, linked to left-right economics opinions in the USA (and, in fact, in general), see a concise analysis from Greg Mankiw: he tackles the divergences in this context among the experts, so to speak...

  • Meet the Isaac Newton of biology (so says Esquire, but read on: they might well be onto something here), also known as Dr. Franziska Michor. Blonde, 25 years old, very good looking (that is already my opinion, not Esquire's). That she's got an impressive number of top publications, a PhD on the 'evolutionary dynamics of cancer' from Harvard at 22, or that she was a theoretical biologist at the Institute for Advanced Studies at 19, is certainly meritorious :-). But what's really killing is that she's also got a licence to drive 18-wheelers (part of a family-induced education that included two other essential chapters: cake baking and ballroom dancing): we love it, we love it!

Taphephobia (or "taphophobia", depending which spelling convention you follow) is the fear of being buried alive. A Chilean cemetery will build an alarm into a coffin for only $462. In 1995 entrepreneurs marketed a $5000 Italian casket with an emergency signal beeper and a two-way microphone/speaker to the outside world. The accompanying survival kit includes a torch, an oxygen tank, and a heart stimulator; don't ask who will administer the latter.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


You'll be glad to know that the acronym in the title does not actually stand for "Complete Fucking Rubbish" :-) . And there I ultimately agree with Andy :-), though, as can be read from his extremely funny (though I guess he was not laughing while on the described trip...) report, things can (should! must!) improve a lot. In fact, Andy's recent post reminds me so much of opinions (including my own, very elaborated ones...) that I gathered for an article called "Cu trenul prin Romania", for an online portal where I used to be quite active some years ago (when I had so much more spare time...), "Romania, Libera in Viitor" (RLIV). Unfortunately for people like Andy, those texts are in Romanian. But in many ways they describe similar experiences to Andy's (e.g. inter alia, I also pointed out the often experienced 'overheating', a problem I dedicated quite some space to, in my own 'opinions' part). Now, for those of you who do read Romanian, the texts I was mentioning can be consulted here (in PDF): part 1 and part 2, respectively. Or, in .html format, directly on the RLIV site: part 1 and respectively part 2. "Lectura placuta!", as we say it in Romanian.

Quote of the week 2nd to 8th of Dec '07

m-am îndrăgostit de un argument

era blond, livid şi psihologic
în prag de seară primăvara
cînd sentimentele
se repetă

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Today's musical piece: "Varjú", by Másfél

The musical (re)treat for today is "Varjú" ("Crow") by one of my favourite funk & acid jazz & psychedelic rock & drum n bass bands, the Hungarian group Másfél (wiki in Hungarian, official site). This piece is from their 2003 album, "Ballast". See also a shorter version of the live performance clip from above, as a funny (& very well done!) cartoon videoclip. On their official site you can listen to (very few) other excellent Másfél pieces. YouTube also does not have, unfortunately, most of them-- e.g. entire albums are missing (see here their entire discography)--, but you can also find some pieces, particularly more recent ones, there. From those, I particularly recommend: Piezzo (album Ballast, 2003), Lengyel (En Garde!, 2005), Angyaltojás (Angyaltojás, 2000).

Credits go to my good old friend Daniel :-), for introducing me to Másfél (as, after all, to other excellent Hungarian bands, some of which I've praised before on this blog, e.g. here or here).

Econlinks for 06-12-'07

  • from the 'exotic entreneurship' stories cycle, another example mentioned in Tyler Cowen's very well written book, Discover Your Inner Economist (see also my previous example from there). Today: "the crying bar" (since I have some relatives that own a bar in Romania, this might be particularly of interest as business strategy for them; it's high time we copied the Chinese:-)):

" The truly regretful in the Chinese city of Nanjing can visit a "crying bar". There's a sofa, some tables, and a great deal of tissue paper. For about $6 an hour, customers can sit and cry. The owner, one Luo Jun, claimed he hit upon the idea from customers of a previous bar. They wanted to cry, but they had no venue for this desire. The crying bar solves their problem by making the show of maudlin emotion socially respectable and indeed socially expected. I hope I don't see you there"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Funniest thing I've read today about a "conversation with a slightly-lingual-in-two-languages toddler". Via Andy's blog. Enjoy (and try to stop laughing) :-).

Song of the day: "Kala", by Yann Tiersen

THE perfect song for today is "Kala", one of the pieces from the latest album of Yann Tiersen, Les Retrouvailles. About Tiersen, one of my very favourite musicians ever, I've written a lot on this blog already, e.g. here or here or here. Kala is also featuring Elizabeth Fraser, from the former "Cocteau Twins" group (wiki, official, pieces from them on YouTube). Enjoy!

Quote for week Nov 25th- Dec 1st '07

To be reconciled to the social world, one must be able to see it as both reasonable and rational.

John Rawls, The Law of Peoples

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Probability of being a serial killer: the case of Lucia de Berk

Here's a post on an extremely interesting story at the intersection of law, statistics and professional ethics in several disciplines. Inter alia, the issue has been covered in some of the best scientific journals. See for instance a). a report in the Science edition of the 16th of November (you need a subscription to access the PDF); b). a very good report on this case in Nature, January this year; you can read here that PDF (subscription free).

What is this about? One of the most interesting legal cases ever, involving multiple homicide, is now under review by the Supreme Court in the Netherlands. The case deals with the former trial of Lucia de Berk, a Dutch nurse, accused and sentenced to life imprisonment in spring 2003, for the alleged murder of seven hospital patients and the attempted murder on three others, in places where she had worked between 1999-2001. The issue is that there was never direct evidence to implicate De Berk (and she has always denied all accusations): she was condemned solely based on the fact that she happened to be always around when these patients died; basically the courts (an appeal court also upheld the initial verdict) decided that it was very unlikely, essentially only one chance in 342 million, according to the expert statistician who testified at the trial, that so many deaths could have occured accidentally while she was nearby.

What happens now is that the 2003 sentence is being challenged by several scientists who signed a petition to re-open the case (this is what the Supreme Court needs to decide on, after last months a justice department panel indeed recommended that the case be reopened). Richard Gill, a Leiden University mathematician and organizer of the petition, states that the previous conclusion, leading to the condemnation of De Berk, is based on "every statistical mistake in the book". Gill and others concluded that the previous statistical testimony was based on an incorrect analysis and that in fact the probability estimated earlier, of 1 in 342 million, is in fact as low as 1 in 48 or even 1 in 5, which are very unlikely to meet the criterion of "beyond reasonable doubt" needed for a criminal conviction. Here's the website of Gill dedicated to this case (with his detailed discussion of the statistical aspects in this case here and Gill's synopsis/reconstruction of the case + other interesting details here). There is even a whole book criticizing De Berk's conviction on scientific procedure, by Ton Derksen , a philosopher of science from the University of Nijmegen. Mark Buchanan, who wrote about the case in Nature (see the link above) summarizes the legal essence of the argument this way: "The court needs to weigh up two different explanations: murder or coincidence. The argument that the deaths were unlikely to have occurred by chance (whether 1 in 48 or 1 in 342 million) is not that meaningful on its own - for instance, the probability that ten murders would occur in the same hospital might be even more unlikely. What matters is the relative likelihood of the two explanations. However, the court was given an estimate for only the first scenario."

This is certainly not an easy case, despite the fact that it is not the first one that might involve wrong statistical evidence in a criminal sentence (the Nature report linked above also mentions another high profile case involving misuse of statistics, the case of Sally Clark, from 1999, in Britain). My opinions are the following. Firstly, I strongly believe that the Dutch Supreme Court has more than sufficient basis to re-open De Berk's case and carefully re-analyse all the previous evidence (I've obviously signed the petition as well). Further, one can only hope that a wrong verdict is overturned swiftly in De Berk's case, should the petitioners be right (and then I wouldn't want to be in the place of the 'expert statistician' who testified to start with, although it is true, as can be read on Gill's discussion, that this expert "always insisted that his analysis only showed that the observed coincidence could not be due to pure chance, not that Lucia caused the the deaths"; moreover, this expert himself wants the case to be reopen; but the scientific flaws would still be there, if the petitioners are right.). More generally, one can only hope that science will be used with the greatest care in any legal processes, especially criminal ones, given the extreme emotions and stakes typically involved (but not only: science has to be done properly, anytime, anywhere, anyway...).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

O initiativa de laudat: Orizonturi Deschise

Gabriel Istrate posteaza pe Ad Astra despre noul program de burse pentru masterate si doctorate, in afara, Orizonturi Deschise, al Fundatiei Dinu Patriciu. Dincolo de faptul ca multi il suspecteaza pe Dinu Patriciu de fel de fel de nereguli si foul play-- unde raman neutru, in lipsa oricaror date empirice care sa sustina conjecturile si speculatiile, dar aceasta discutie e in afara scopului acestui post-- asemenea initiative sunt mai mult decat binevenite si de apreciat (si evident au de-a face si cu strategii de imagine si chiar strategii business 100%-- daca realizam ca asemenea sponsorizari se pot deduce din taxe). Ideal, as vedea o competitie in top 100 cei mai bogati romani in asemenea initiative. And then you show that you care...

Daca e ceva in care merita si trebuie investit, in Romania, din toate punctele de vedere, aceasta e educatia si posibilitatea educarii valorilor in centre de (reala) valoare din intreaga lume. Ar mai fi si cercetarea, deci e scop amplu de intreprinderi similare si acolo. In genere, investitii in educatie si cercetare ar fi de fapt de asteptat din partea oricarui antreprenor de succes, la noi. Nu pe baza morala sau de caritate, ci pur si simplu pe baza de strategie pe termen lung.

Evident cele de mai sus sunt scrise presupunand o functionalitate perfecta a mecanismului acordarii de burse, incepand de la selectia strict pe baza de merit (de preferat selectia facuta de comisii specializate, complet neutre) si pana la primirea sumei in timp util (ceea ce nu se intampla de exemplu, ori rareori in timp rezonabil si fara probleme, in cazul burselor oferite de universitatile noastre pentru vizite scurte ale studentilor/masteranzilor/doctoranzilor romani la universitati din afara: lucruri care se stiu foarte bine la noi). Ar mai fi poate de discutat si cuantumul identic al burselor- ar trebui diferentiat in functie de regiunea/universitatea unde candidatul ar fi admis (altfel, sa dau doar un cons, ai avea motivatii sa cauti doar locuri unde cuantumul de 15000 USD pe an ar fi suficient, ori asta ar putea fi suficient in unele tari europene, dar in nici un caz la universitati celebre din state, dar chiar si la cele din Londra, de exemplu); acelasi lucru vis-à-vis de numarul fix de 100 de burse, asta ar trebui variat in functie de numarul candidatilor cu adevarat meritorii, deci intr-un an ai putea avea 50 si in altul 200 etc. In ceea ce priveste conditia de intoarcere in Romania si, in caz ca nu, restituirea integrala a bursei, mi se pare fireasca, dar ar fi minunat ca Fundatia sa faca si un lobby acerb pentru acesti candidati, potential elite la intoarcere, pe piata muncii de la noi: ce nu vrem sa se intample e sa avem someri in Romania (ceea ce e echivalent cu a fi angajat intr-un job cu mult sub potentialul tau) cu, e.g. MBA-uri de la Wharton sau INSEAD. Deci motivatia trebuie urmarita si asigurata pana la capat. Dar, ceteris paribus, o initiativa de toata lauda. Ad majora!

And Nicole says...(plus the song of the day)

Ok Seb, okok! I've got to admit it. You've earned it deserve it u'r da man, I owe you this one! :) [...] Nico, at your service...
(of course I only took the relevant parts from Nicole's corresponding comment to this previous post of mine)

She might not be Paulina Porizkova (and after all I am not Steven Colbert :-)), but I promise you: you would not be ashamed with her :-). This is Nicole (turning into Ms. Turner, above :-)). And I swear I did not even have sex with that woman (unfortunately...yet... allright, allright, I stop right here, you did not read my last phrase), to echo somebody whom we all know.

Oh, wait, let me paste that once more (Colbert forever!) :-). For future reference :-)

Ok Seb, okok! I've got to admit it. You've earned it deserve it u'r da man, I owe you this one! :) [...] Nico, at your service...

Nicole, muchas gracias, I really feel flattered! (should stop though, it starts getting too much to my head already...). And looking forward to reading the first posts on your blog!

PS. And why not, let's make Tina's (and Nicole's) song of the day for today. "Simply the best", once again...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Econlinks for 27-11-'07

  • Becker and respectively Posner, on tax evasion. Why is tax compliance higher than one would expect (with a reservation here: it also follows from Posner's argument than in fact tax evasion isn't necessarily lower than rationally expected...) and is that mainly due to the rational fear of punishment or to the taxpayers' feeling of moral duty/ fairness etc? For me Posner wins this argument (they do oppose each other on the essence herein, which after all rarely happens on the Becker-Posner blog...): it is much more the deterrence effect of the fear of punishment plus the costs associated with getting to know how to evade the taxes 'properly', than a feeling of moral duty or fairness, particularly when no other individual is directly involved; after all Posner's got the comparative advantage in this area and it is very very difficult to beat that...

  • From now on (until I'll exhaust all notable examples), I'll present within the 'econlinks' posts my favourite examples of 'markets in everything' from Tyler Cowen's recent book, "Discover Your Inner Economist"-- one of my best reads this year (that does not mean that its chapters cannot be ranked: there are very good and also not so good, parts). Check for instance some quotes from it previously taken over for my quote-of-the-week rubrique, here or here. For today about the drinking-and-dialing-problem and equally exotic market solutions to prevent it (and from a more personal perspective, I think there is scope for a drinking-and-emailing-problem resolution as well :-)).

We have all known people who make phone calls when they shouldn't, especially when they are drunk. A survey of 409 people by Virgin Mobile found that 95 percent had made drunk calls, mostly to ex-partners (30 percent), 19 percent to current partners, and 36 percent to others, including their bosses. Fifty-five percent of those people looked at their phones the next morning to see whom they had called-- similarly, someone is waking up in the world this minute and checking to see who it is he or she is sleeping with.
To alleviate the drinking-and-dialing problem, a phone company in Australia started offering customers blocked "blacklist" numbers, which they select before going out to drink. In Japan they sell a mobile phone with a breathanalyzer, to see if you are really fit to drive home, or for that matter to make a phone call. If a bus driver fails the test, his location is sent immediately to his boss by GPS.

  • And finally, I will be a millionaire (albeit in DK Kroner, but after all one has to start somewhere) for the next two years. I have been awarded (mange tak!) a prestigious (and generous, academe-wise) independent postdoctoral research grant of The Danish Social Science Research Council (Forskningsrådet for Samfund og Erhverv) for my project "Wages, Productivity and Firm Sizes in Imperfectly Competitive Markets", submitted for the grant applications' contest last August. So yes, you can congratulate me :-). And no, they won't let me buy Belgian beers for all that money. Though I guess that some top wine for research inspiration is allowed :-). Cheers!

Best phrase I've read today

"no one cares about inequality. People care about injustice, unfairness, poverty, sexual predators, family values, gay marriage, terrorism, and many other problems of everyday life. People don't care about Gini distributions."

This is by Herbert Gintis, via Greg Mankiw.

I would add that even when one thinks/is convinced s/he cares about inequality (I know some people that claim that loudly...), that is not direct, it is not unconditional, it is always a cover for something else, e.g. something likely to be on Gintis's list above...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

One hour conversation with Richard Freeman (on YouTube)

Shortly after having posted a link to an IZA clip about Richard Freeman among a recent 'econlinks' post, I discovered, via Greg Mankiw, this other link to a very recent (October 31st) whole one hour interview with Freeman on YouTube, within the "Conversations with History" series, having Harry Kreisler as host. Richard Freeman talks, inter alia, about his own career path and decision to become a labour economist, about globalization and its implications, about the 'feminization' of the labour market, about the relationship institutions-market and the role for governmental policies etc. Very clear talk, aimed to a general audience, hence if you want to learn more about all these topics (although the discussion is mostly within a US context, it is generally applicable everywhere), the easiest thing you can do is take some time and watch this video (tip: watch it in more sessions, as I did, that way you don't have to allocate a full hour in one shot...).

Now, inasmuch as my opinion is concerned, I agree 95% with the views of Prof. Freeman expressed in this interview and I think he is one of the current best labour economists able to explain them clearly also to a non-specialist audience. The disagreement arises in some of the details (precisely where a general audience- including his otherwise witty and sympathetic host- would in all likelihood feel lost): namely, a. with respect to Freeman's (seemingly uncritical) support for a raise in the federal minimum wage (see here a sequence of posts I had on that debate), though he stated previously that he strongly favours the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)- well, so do I, and I see that that as the best alternative to the raise-the-national-minimum-wage policy- and b. regarding the possible implication of his saying that there is a lot of scope for governmental intervention in 'leaning against the wind' inasmuch (potentially 'heavy') corporate regulation is concerned (suffice to say that US has one of the highest corporate taxes in the world: I am not sure whether Freeman hinted to anything in this regard, but I can hardly see how you can eventually make that even higher or enact similar measures...). With respect to this latter point, maybe we should all remember- and once again give the last word to the one and only Milton Friedman- that "corporation conscience" is not possible (and neither desired...). Come on, join the Milton Friedman choir: "Freedom to choose, says Friedman, or you will lose, says Friedman, freedom is freedom, says Friedman..." :-).

Quote for the week 18th to 24th of Nov '07

During America's experiment with Prohibition, it was common to see the following label on grape juice: Caution: May Ferment into Alcohol. The harvesting of grapes rose dramatically.

Tyler Cowen, "Discover your inner economist"

Friday, November 23, 2007

Econlinks for 23-11-'07

  • Remember my post about names in Denmark? At that time I could not find which were really the most frequently used first names. But Denmark Statistics even has those available. So "Jens" (male) and "Anne" (female) are the most common first names in Denmark, to date. In terms of recents trends, the most popular names given to newborn children in 2006 were "Lucas" and "Sofie", respectively. PS: read also some relevant comments to an older post of Dan, with several interesting links concerning (though some of that is about futuristic trends:-)) names elsewhere in the world.

  • WineSpectator's top 100 wines for 2007 is now also available (PDF). See also my previous post about the winner and top 10 of this year. I am happy to say that, at a first glance (did not go thoroughly through the list yet) I have tried at least 7 wines in top 50 (but none in top 10). Among those, number 26, "Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi, Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo, Ripe al Convento Riserva 2001" is the one I prefer (2001 is by far the best year for that wine). Try it out. And if you really want the sublime experience, do this while indulging in an Italian classic dish: "lepre in salmì".

  • Yes, Bloomberg goes ahead with the "cheap talk for better grades" plan (see my previous post on this) in New York, which is partly due to the initiative of Harvard's Roland Fryer. Excellent, let's see if incentives of this kind elicit better students' outcomes. Ex ante it is not clear how this will work, hence the more interest around these types of studies ( for instance, in a different but related context, recent research by Edwin Leuven, Hessel Oosterbeek and Bas van der Klaauw at SCHOLAR, University of Amsterdam & Tinbergen Institute, suggests that financial incentives do not work as intended (at least not for everybody), ie. extrinsic rewards might be detrimental for intrinsic motivation).

Monday, November 19, 2007

Replication in Economics

Here's my most interesting read in the last weekend, a recent article by Dan Hamermesh, published in the Canadian Journal of Economics, on "replication in economics". It is also downloadable as PDF from Hamermesh's site (Dan Hamermesh's website contains much more information, potentially useful for any economist, albeit junior or senior-- that as a remark for those of you who did not know about this excellent online resource...). But going back to Hamermesh's viewpoint in this context: the short article linked above is extremely interesting and informative. And it contains also a proposal ("modest proposal" in the text), which I also support as very welcome: the only way to see more replication studies done is to have them commissioned (to senior researchers, with tenure...) by journal editors.

While I'd advise any empirical economist (or better: any economist that is currently/ plans in the future to also do some empirical work) to read the paper, I'll put forward below some possible omissions in Prof. Hamermesh's article, which would have been particularly interesting for me:

a. What to do about registered (say, matched employer-employee) datasets that cannot be made publicly available due to confidentiality agreements (though clear steps for accessing them can be always provided as information; in practice, some of these might take too long etc. for the replication to be worth undertaking); the use of such datasets is increasing day by day, particularly within applied microeconometrics, hence I'd say they would merit some separate discussion. Caveat lector: although their case is somehow similar to that of any proprietary database, these administrative datasets do have one common characteristic, namely that usually they are provided by the official statistics bureaus of individual countries. This might suggest possible (ad-hoc) agreements between journals and such bureaus to allow replication of studies under the same very strict confidentiality rules as those the initial author had been subjected to.

b. There is no discussion in Hamermesh's paper about structural approaches: in those cases replication, as commonly understood (particularly "scientific replication" in Hamermesh's terminology), is typically not an issue (subject to correct coding and analysis, to start with). In fact, one way to avoid frequent requests for replication using other datasets and other time periods etc, would be to have a structural framework to start with...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quote for week 11th-17th of Nov '07

How can my muse want subject to invent,
While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse
Thine own sweet argument, too excellent
For every vulgar paper to rehearse?
O! give thy self the thanks, if aught in me
Worthy perusal stand against thy sight;
For who's so dumb that cannot write to thee,
When thou thy self dost give invention light?
Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worth
Than those old nine which rhymers invocate;
And he that calls on thee, let him bring forth
Eternal numbers to outlive long date.
If my slight muse do please these curious days,
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet XXXVIII

Econlinks for 18-10-'07

  • Car preferences of faculty at Harvard. They could not detect the owners of the Porsches, but the BMWs belonged mostly to the Econ faculty (also: "Of 18 respondents in the economics department, eight said they owned luxury cars—one of the highest percentages")... Now compare that with the Subarus owned by most faculty at other departments and tell me which Dep there has taste:-). Via Greg Mankiw.

  • Some (Japanese) econometricians have time to combine their haiku and econometrics knowledge :-). Here's one superlative result of that endeavour: "Econometrics Haiku" by Keisuke Hirano.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Wine of the Year: Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005

Wine Spectator's best wine of 2007: Clos des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005. Apparently an easy choice, almost unanimous decision among the senior editors of Wine Spectator for the best wine of Vincent Avril's domain. One should also say that number 3 is from another Châteauneuf-du-Pape domain and also from 2005. Hence, Vive la France! And: Dan knows now what he should bring from France when he comes back to Romania this winter :-).

You can also see the videos for all top 10 here. Unfortunately I have to confess that I have not tried any of this year's top 10...yet! For the full top 100 for 2007 you have to wait until Monday next week :-).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Song of the day: "Call me" (in Eliane Elias's version)

Nicole, your turn :-). The song of the day (tonight dedicated to Nicole, if she can handle it...) is "Call me"... and not just any version of this superlative piece, but indeed my very favourite one: Eliane Elias's "Call me" (I'd almost consider the artist's intro here as part of the piece). Enjoy!

Assuming you all know (alternatively, you will immediately inform yourselves...) who Eliane Elias is, I'll just say that some months ago, with the occasion of the yearly International Jazz Festival from Aarhus, Elias and her band (in my opinion the very highlight of 2007's edition) softened the Vikings' (and not only) hearts; for an evening the entire city was under her spell... But more about other Eliane Elias's top musical pieces with another occasion.

Here's more info on Tony Hatch's masterpiece. And here's the song in other, equally famous, renditions (unfortunately Petula Clark's was removed from YouTube shortly after I had found it and I was not able to trace Shirley Bassey's at all) : Astrud Gilberto's (be patient and wait a bit until it starts, in the clip...), Sinatra's, Blue Velvet's, even a version in Polish... Pick your favourite.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Most promising photoblog in the ROblosphere

True talent is true talent and you can't pass by without noticing it. So I decided not to. In my (always subjective, of course) opinion Cristina Grosan's photoblog is the very best (young) photoblog I had the chance to fall upon, within the Romanian blogosphere. Who is Cristina Grosan? I do not have more direct information about her than the bits from this short (and very smart) interview with her (in Romanian). However, neither is more background necessary; from the photos and accompanying texts (all superlative) on her blog, I already know her enough: I am honoured to add her blog among my bloglinks. And I think I am right to keep my expectations very high inasmuch as she is concerned. Ad majora, Cristina!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quote for week 4th- 10th of October '07

And who are the peple who like just about everything, from Chinese pipa music to Bach to Algerian Rai to Stockhausen to bebop to 1920s blues? They are either musical professionals or nerdy upper-middle-class professionals, usually with some experience living abroad. That's me. Sadly I am no less predictable than the Grand Rapids stoner.

Tyler Cowen, "Discover Your Inner Economist"

Read previous quote of the week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Econlinks for 07-11-'07

  • Surprinsingly, by the slimmest of margins, I am not a quant... (thanks to Greg Mankiw for the pointer)

  • Heel goed, Wendy (interview on YouTube, in Dutch)! My friend and former Tinbergen Institute colleague Wendy Janssens is very briefly describing the research undertaken in her PhD thesis (with focus here on the importance of social capital in a development program from India). The latest prize her thesis won is the "Societal Impact Award" for 2007 (this after she won already the Amsterdam Institute for International Development/World Bank dissertation award) . Gefeliceteerd en ad majora!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Econlinks for 01-11-'07

  • The RePEc blog appeared recently. Looks interesting at first sight, though some ideas in very recent posts do not appear so sensible (such as this one).

  • Spinning ballerina: the KO (via Freakonomics). Blogged about that also here and here.

  • "After nearly 15 minutes of soul searching" he "heard the call" and decided to enter the Presidential election for the USA: "Nation, I will seek the office of the president of the United States. I am doing it!". So, Americans, vote for Steve Colbert!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quotes for week 21st to 27th of Oct '07

Bărbata nu pentru o bere obişnuită se duce la Irish [Pub].

La patru dimineaţa zâmbetul chelnerului e un cadou.

Read the quote of the previous week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Does knowledge of economics make you happier?

The read of the week. The author of Bluematter is "[a]n occasionally tactless economist [who] opines on economics, politics and everything else. " And who choses to remain anonymous on the following grounds: "This blog reflects my personal views and is in no way representative of those of my employer or my mum. To make sure no misunderstanding arises and their lives stay stress-free, I will remain anonymous." Brilliant, concise and simply brilliant!

But here's the gist of his answer to the question we are all interested in (I couldn't have phrased this better and for the moment I can't think of anything to add to it):

"...the answer is yes. Here's why:

1. I cherish my consumer surplus. I value most of the stuff I buy way more than what I have to pay for them; vanilla ice cream makes me happy beyond belief, and the same is true for the music of Dream Theater and the (soon to be purchased) Apple iphone. And what am I asked to pay for them? Peanuts.

2. I cherish my producer surplus. I am getting paid way, way more than the salary that would make me indifferent between supplying labour and staying at home.

3. I never have regrets: I did the best I could given the information available to me at the time. Judging I could have done better using information I acquired at a later date makes as much sense as regretting the existence of gravity. On a related topic, I understand the irrelevance of sunk costs.

4. While I do care for my welfare in relative terms, my welfare in absolute terms looms large in my utility function - and, boy, look how its value has been growing.

5. The selfishness of my fellow human beings does not make me anxious or depressed. Adam Smith (or was it Mandeville?) taught me that humans, selfish as they are, can make happy societies. And perhaps more to the point, they can make me happy.

Found about the above via Tyler Cowen, on MR. And we have to give Tyler the credit for his equally brilliant conclusion: "Only the fixed point theorem prevents him from reaching pure bliss." :-)

Zoitica, esti barbata!

Descoperirea saptamanii: de departe, cel mai promitator nou blog din ClujBlogRoll. Ingrediente majore in posturile de pana acum: stil, acel epsilon necesar de imprevizibilitate si, mai ales, elementul "exposure". Un debut de exceptie (perfectibil, dar reusit) a carui implicatie nu poate fi decat "I'll be returning soon, hungry for more" (yep, Anton Ego becoming my alter ego...).

PS. Sa nu ma dezmint :-), totusi: putin mai multa atentie la forma nu ar strica (da, am inteles ca romana e pentru tine a doua limba; in cazul tau, insa, cu foarte putin efort in plus, cred ca ai putea sa scrii textele fara greseala-- si da, practica te va ajuta enorm aici) . Sugestia e evident de prioritate secundara; cata vreme continutul ramane superlativ, you rock!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The spinning dancer and the actual evidence

Steven Levitt questions (quite convincingly, despite the small sample size and possible selection issues) the main "predictions" associated with the direction people see this ballerina spin. Levitt (who also sees the dancer turn only clockwise, as I do) shows that probably all associations in the article were reversed and the left column should have been the right column (next to that, it also appears that it isn't even true that most people see the dancer turn anti-clockwise)... I thought so, since I deemed most of them speculations, to start with. Well, too bad for the risk taking behaviour, that one I did not mind :-).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quote/movie scene for week 14th- 20th of October '07

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so [...]

Anton Ego, character in the movie "Ratatouille"

Listen to Ego's full review on YouTube -- my selected movie scene of the week-- with the food critic superlatively dubbed by Peter O'Toole throughout the movie. I should also say that Ratatouille (IMDb, RottenTomatoes) just made it to my top 25 movies.

Econlinks for 21 Oct '07

  • Preston McAfee brings a second noteworthy innovation to Economic Inquiry (I also blogged about the first one since he came as editor to that journal): "We now have a miscellany section. Miscellany operates like the JPE section of the same name, publishing humor and curiosities. Humor is purely a taste determination and being funny for an academic is like being tall for a dwarf. Submissions for the miscellany should indicate so on the manuscript. A good idea is to title the paper "Miscellany: The Simple Economics of Complexity." " The quote was from the the page on the policies of the Economic Inquiry. See more on this from the new editor of the Economic Inquiry humor section (with hints of how humorous that would be).

  • The Right vs. Left Brain test (via Tyler Cowen on MR). I have to confess that I only see the ballerina spin clockwise, no matter how hard I try to spot also the reverse spinning (apparently most people can only see the anti-clockwise spinning: that is very curious for me). Right hemisphere use and risk taking behaviour it is, then (the rest of the characteristics associated with one or the other type are pure speculation, I'd say).

  • The economics of gold digging, via Steven Levitt. The most interesting part is Levitt's discussion of the initial female Craiglist post and the succesive male answer. In particular the following Levitt quote should be saved for future reference; it suggests there is still hope in this profession, despite the initial odds :-)

"I wouldn’t expect male economists to marry very well. Firstly, they tend to think like the guy who wrote this letter. Secondly, they tend to be nerds. Thirdly, they make very little money when they are young because they get so much education, even though their lifetime income is quite high. Yet I think it is fair to say that the economists I know have married stunningly well (myself included). We’ve all been puzzling over this fact for the fifteen years I have been in the profession. As of yet, no one has come up with a good explanation. I doubt it could be perfect foresight on the part of the women we marry."

Monday, October 15, 2007

And the Econ winners for 2007 are...

.... Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson, for "having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory". See more about this on Totally deserved, albeit they were not among the ones with the highest odds this year (so don't bet next time...). My (wrong) forecast can be a choice for one of the future years, though perhaps not for the next one or two.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My prediction for the Economics prize tomorrow

All right, here we go, as promised:

Let's see how good of a forecast this is; in any case I am 100% sure that I will be able to refer back to this prediction for any future year, sooner or later they'll get the Nobel :-).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quote for week 7th-13th of October '07

In order to cure most ills of human life, I require not that man should have the wings of the eagle, the swiftness of the stag, the force of the ox, the arms of the lion, the scales of the crocodile or rhinoceros; much less do I demand the sagacity of an angel or cherubim. I am contented to take an increase in one single power or faculty of his soul. Let him be endowed with a greater propensity to industry and labour; a more vigurous spring and activity of mind; a more constant bent to business and application.

David Hume

Nobel Econ odds

The most important Nobel prize will be announced on Monday. Now, if you did not already bet in the "Harvard pool" (at the very end of the day I didn't bet there for a most silly reason: I could not find in the whole of DK a 1$ bill to mail with my proposal :-)), here you can see other betting pools and the predictions of Thomson ISI. And as I previously said, tomorrow I'll announce my own, winning, forecast :-)

It looks like Elhanan Helpman & Gene Grossman have the best odds overall; indeed international trade seems to be a/the hype lately (and indeed Helpman and Grossman deserve the Nobel, sooner or later). Though my personal wish is that Dale Mortensen wins it this year (he will for sure win it in one the coming years, most likely joint with Peter Diamond and Chris Pissarides, for developing the search models; but why not just now?), especially since he just gave me excellent comments & critique at this (ex post very good!) "Labour Market Dynamics Growth" conference in Sandbjerg from where I returned yesterday-- and that despite the fact that I made a mess out of my presentation :-). Dale for Nobel!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Quote for week 30th of Sep- 6th of Oct '07

A paper in Economics which is not rejected should not be published

Ariel Rubinstein

Bet 1$ for your choice as this year's Economics Nobelist

This seems a serious thing- all funds go to charity and the winners of the pool select the precise charity destination. And there are only a few more days to go, so hurry up! This is via Greg Mankiw who also offers tips of favourite choices from last year... I'll place my forecast --which will obviously be the correct one :-)-- on my blog on October 14th, so that I do not influence others who might want to bet.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Econlinks for 04 Oct '07

  • Rules vs. discretion: Posner continues Becker's entry on rules versus discretion in the context of central banks' decisions, but by doing so he also provides an excellent general discussion on the law and economics of the subject. I don't think anybody can beat Posner in that area.

  • Vote (ex post I wouldn't bother...) for the free market hall of fame. Could have been done much better, the way they did this is a shame, really. And some of the results so far reinforce that...