Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Econlinks today

  • Here's the most ridiculous thing I've heard so far, within the academic publishing business: deliberately slowing things down by sitting a whole month on each submission before doing anything with it. Via Andrew Gelman. Something like this might well be practiced by more journals and in many fields ( and surely I am thinking mostly about my own field here...) than currently known: could explain a substantial part of (complementing the fact that referees are not easy to find and they might be slow themselves, see also here) the often exaggerated times before one gets back referee reports etc. I think it just shows the incapacity of those editors to function as editors, if that is the case. And obviously excessive crowding/queueing can be solved in this context, similar to many other contexts involving congestion, by raising submission fees (despite the apparent objection of some people, which Gelman also mentions, that people don't have the money for it-- give me a break, I'd say: if you are indeed such an underpaid academic, probably you can't produce the quality required for that top journal anyway; and for universities in places that really run low on budgets and remuneration in general, like Africa, Eastern Europe etc., some reduction or waiver could be in place).

  • "Econometrics: qu'est-ce que c'est?" or econometrics as taught at University of Michigan (where also other Econ professors seem to be very talented inasmuch as music is concerned) :-). I think many economics/ econometrics professors elsewhere could learn something from this-- it isn't for nothing that most students consider econometrics courses the most boring courses they (have to) take... Here's the academic website of the excellent performer above, in case anyone wants to contact him for advice in teaching.

  • Discussion on the merits of (further/ re-) regulating financial markets: Becker and respectively, Posner. I believe Posner is for some reason becoming too skeptical of the powers of the free market, so I'll strongly recommend only Becker's analysis this time :-).

  • Collected advice for young economists (via Tyler Cowen on MR), from senior economists. I have read all of these pieces before (though, unfortunately, haven't always followed the advice in there...), but it is excellent to have them in one place.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wanted in Romania: Engineers

Romania's finally got a field where it is an uncontested world leader: the shortage of talent on the labour market. Engineers, skilled manual trades and executives are the top missing ones. This is according to the latest survey of Manpower Inc. on talent shortages worldwide. Read also a brief Euroactiv summary on Romania's position in this hierarchy. It would be interesting to know (beyond speculation) where have all these skilled people gone, that is, the distribution by receiving country (obviously we're talking primarily brain drain here), but I am not aware of any study having investigated that (comment away if you have any relevant info here).

(in Romanian on Ad Astra, via Alex Cabuz and Razvan Florian)

PS. A while ago I posted on the Scandinavians complaining about the shortage of skilled workforce (1st bullet point). They seem to be doing rather well compared to Romania, however...

Governance and Growth 4 short essays that sum up the knowns and the unknows. Among other top researchers in the field, these essays contain the opinions of Daron Acemoglu, Francis Fukuyama and Douglas North.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Econlinks today

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rubik's solved in max 25 moves

...from any initial configuration, that is.

The above was on theory and impressive computing power. See also a former post of mine on the latest Rubik's cube pratical world championship, with winning results here. To retain: the least number of moves to solve the standard Rubik was 35; in the speed competition the standard Rubik was solved in 11'50''. Don't start crying now :-).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Despre timpul liber...

... in editia de maine a Cotidianului. Doar daca gasiti putin timp liber sa cititi, bineinteles :-).

PS. Spatiul de 5000 de semne alocat nu a permis un tratament mai amplu, dar sunt bineinteles deschis comentariilor/ completarilor/ intrebarilor etc. (la care voi raspunde insa doar in timpul meu liber...)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Digital Darwin

And here's for instance the first edition of the Origin of Species (links to a PDF of about 90 MB; you can also listen to the audio version of the book in 21 .mp3 files ). If you want/need to start by reading more info on the Origin of Species, go here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Econlinks for the weekend

  • An article in the Economist on the Nordic Labour market and the Vikings' desperate plea for skilled labour. Here's my two cents: reform your bloody tax system and highly qualified people will flood you.

  • Cowen on the erotics of investing. I think lots of this is nonsense, but I have to say I like the non-neutral (gender-wise) stapler image :-).

  • On the Wiki and Digg oligarchies. There's recently been more on this theme in other magazines as well, but this one Slate article was the first I read on the topic.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Populist "economics" at its best

I've heard a lot of economics nonsense coming from Hillary Clinton's camp in the current US presidential campaign, but this might well qualify as the apogee so far (how much nonsense can you utter in a few given minutes...). You might also (finally?) realize why Jay Leno has got a bachelor's degree in speech therapy, not in Economics...

Via Greg Mankiw (read also Russel Robert's analysis on Cafe Hayek, that Mankiw links to; Robert is debunking here but one of the too many obvious flaws in that interview).

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Econlinks today

  • "Insead, for example, has set up a virtual campus on Second Life, to complement its physical campuses in Fontainebleau, France, and in Singapore. Classes attended entirely by Second Life avatars have been held on the virtual campus." More on this FT article on recent trends in business education.

  • The first Romanian Economics journal indexed ISI. While this in itself is not bad, in Romania they still live under the impression that ISI-indexed, per se (alternatively, publishing in any ISI-indexed journals) is divine: a journal can be indexed ISI and be total crap, as de facto many Economics ISI-journals are. If Professor Klein had only known (did they tell him?) what he did when accepting to be in this editorial board, next to such world famous Romanian economists, with publications in all the very top Econ journals... I guess he might indeed be getting old (though nothing short of extremely sharp, scientific-wise, last I saw him debating was in a conference to celebrate 100 years since the birth of Jan Tinbergen in Rotterdam, April '03). But I honestly wish them success: they could start by burning their previous editions (read some of articles in the already published numbers-- & neah, don't worry, for several of them you won't need any prerequisite to see where they're headed) and perform a radical change-- that if they want to ever move from the bottom of the (ISI...) quality distribution, which they've just joined. Via Razvan Florian, on Ad Astra (in Romanian).