Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday econlinks

  • An interesting debate in the latest issue of Capitalism and Society on the current status of Economics and other Social Sciences, worth reading especially for the two comments to the leading article on the theme. Unfortunately, Jon Elster, in his "Excessive Ambitions", otherwise a welcome (and relatively informed) outsider's critique, does not manage to rise up to his declared ambitions of debunking the status quo / portraying "the persistence in the economic profession and elsewhere of these useless or harmful models", and eventually falls easy prey to his commenters: Pierre-André Chiappori (who, very elegantly, but unmistakenly, tackles most of the points raised by Elster in his criticism of economic theory and testing its predictions) and respectively, David Hendry (who virtually destroys Elster's line of reasoning and conclusions on empirical modelling in Economics). To add up to that, beyond the many (surprising!) fallacies that Elster commits in his scientific criticism (not even half of them acknowledged, e.g. his sole reliance on third-party sources in the discussion of the criticism to the empirics is somewhat revealed, however the very selected sample of those sources --strategy common also to his earlier sections-- does not seem at all problematic to the author), what strikes me throughout his text is his often bringing up the lack of "humility" of economists (e.g., "The competence of economists may not be in question, but their humility is"), although in reading his piece I was rather intrigued by Elster's own absence of humility whatsoever in his strongly opinionated, though insufficiently argued, assessment... I was really hoping for something more serious.
  • Solving the public-goods free rider problem using neuronal measures of economic value. Looks super interesting!
  • "[D]oes conspicuous consumption fall and efficiency increase in a society in which income is conspicuous?" or some of the potentially positive implications (research-wise only...) of Norway's recent crazy move to make public all tax records of its (tax-paying) residents...
  • Even Robert Parker can make a total mess of himself when it comes to wine blind tasting (via cheaptalk). And a short review of a new wine book by somebody who really doesn't like Parker (thanks to Fred for the link).
  • "Wellicht komt er ooit een nieuw paradigma dat voor de economische wetenschap net zo revolutionair zal zijn als kwantummechanica is geweest voor de natuurkunde. Tot die tijd is het beter om te blijven schipperen met de kapstokken die we hebben in plaats van alles jassen op één grote hoop te gooien." door Wouter den Haan, op MeJudice
  • An older interview with the foremost cafeteria Keynesian (Part 1, Part 2). I only agree with about 50% of what he's saying here... And I think some are just too fast in dismissing Milton Friedman, but... on verra.
  • Norman Manea on Herta Muller's Literature Nobel. Though ultimately there isn't much in there about her Nobel..., which might actually be the whole idea of that post.
  • Brinkmann, Ehrman and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Very interesting, all news to me.
  • Is shouting the new spanking? Hopefully not.
  • I generally agree, though, for instance, Econophysicists seem to have a hard time both on the Economics and on the Physics academic/ publishing market. Not that I wonder much why that is the case, but others may...

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