Monday, February 18, 2008

Econlinks for 18-02-'08

  • An excellent (& extensive) interview with Susan Athey, the most recent winner of the John Bates Clark medal. Here's one of the best parts:

    Finding the applications that resonate with the students or the population in general and then showing them how a little bit of structured thinking can substantially improve their understanding — I think that’s where you get the power of economics. I’m still amazed that in the business world how having a coherent and structured way of approaching problems can allow someone like me to walk into an industry meeting and talk to people who are brilliant people managing large companies and still have unique insights for them. That’s because I have these really powerful tools at my disposal. Economics allows you to think several layers deeper. Without that structure, you just get lost in a muddle.

  • Here's Steven Levitt answering (some of) the criticism of John DiNardo. I've mentioned DiNardo's criticism here (1st bullet point). DiNardo might have been bored indeed :-), but Levitt carefully selects which points to tackle in his reply; he eventually addresses (true, very well) some of the relatively minor ones and leaves the gist of the critique unanswered...
  • This IS NOT my reason for not using Facebook and declining every invitation to do so (don't even bother). I think the author of this text in The Guardian has little comprehension of economics, freedom to choose and the like, not to mention that at times he borders on paranoia. As long as users are perfectly informed of their rights and obligations, there is nothing to do with, e.g., invasion of privacy, to choose randomly from the 'sin list' of the article linked above. My rationale is much simpler: my opportunity costs would outweigh any eventual benefits from being active on Facebook or related 'social networking' sites. I however see them perfectly justified and a great business idea.

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