Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sunday night econlinks

  • Bilingualism and early child development: very interesting brand-new research in PNAS (institutional or individual subscription needed, else only abstract is free). And yes, bilingualism clearly pays off, if you were wondering.

  • Vienna and the largest Swiss cities top Mercer's quality of living index for '09, while Munich appears to be the winner if you account simultaneously for both quality of living (position 7) and infrastructure (position 2). "München mag Dich" indeed, as they say.

  • There are many problems with (some of) these suggestions concerning reforming the academe and pre-academe, but there should indeed be a continuous debate on these issues. Proposals 3,4 and 5 could be ok with me in the current format; the other three are presented in an unnecessary radical perspective, despite being debated many times before and shown not to be that simple as they seem at first sight. Via Gabi Istrate, on Ad Astra. An interesting corrolary here is the following: why not decentralize completely the process and leave it up to each university to organize itself as it fits it best (e.g. by offering tenure or not, by having "generalist" or "specialist" departments etc) ? In the long run the best academic/educational system would win (by attracting the best/most students, by generating the highest-earning/most succesful graduates etc.)? Of course, to some extent these differences exist even now, but more among "unusual" types of academic/research institutes and "typical" universities.

  • Going Dutch -- the article would like to give an "American perspective", but ends somewhere midway and misses much of what I would have expected. Oh, and 18 months... come on! After 18 months you know yet nothing about Amsterdam, not to mention the whole of Netherlands (even after long discussions with Geert Mak) ... I'd love to read his opinions after 80 months... As for 'Socialism gone Wild', the author could try his chance a bit more to the North of Europe :-).

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