Saturday, December 25, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
- Harald Uhlig has an interesting recent paper entitled "Economics and Reality" (intentionally recalling Sims's 1980 ECMA, indeed) . While he discusses the relationship between Economics and Reality (yep, isn't that what you all hope to hear?) mainly in terms of Macroeconomics (you know, the black sheep of the family), I thought he does that in an informative and at the same time very concise way. Hence, highly recommended; I'll quote his end (optimistic, for once...) summary, to get you in the mood: "Reality, i.e. empirical evidence influences economic thinking and theory and vice versa -- but it does not do so in textbook fashion. Jolted by new empirical and theoretical insights and subjected to the fickleness of attention, the frontier of our sciences lurches forward to the unknown territory of ever more profound understanding. If it moves in circles, it hopefully does so on even higher levels. Practical economics and economic policy follows, with considerable distance. Perhaps, this is how it has to be."
- Colbert vs. Mankiw Part 1. Mankiw vs. Colbert Part 2. And here's how it all got started. Obviously we want serious blood, this is just teasing each other. We want more, we want war: we want the Colbert-Mankiw interview! It ain't gonna be easy, after all recall that his Harvard Econ colleague Freeman was a disaster on the Colbert Report (here is an updated link that seems to work)-- albeit his other Harvard colleague Fryer did eventually pretty well (3rd bullet point). But Mankiw is no nonsense, so this could be tough :-). Bets are open!
- Hopeless and hapless Romania: well, you do get what you wish for..., where "disappointing" is a euphemism.
- A must read (also for philosophers and 'other social scientists'): Avinash Dixit's " My Philosophy of Economics, Life, and Everything (Not!)", the sequel to his by now (in)famous "My System of Work (Not!)" . As smart and humorous as always.
- And finally. Off with you, Mr. Pitt: here cometh the Age of the Wimp!
Saturday, December 04, 2010
After this, what is left for us to write? I bow in front of the real talent.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
- a second perennial motto, see blog footer; David Hilbert's Optimismus in der Forschung (und in das Leben!) is joined by Giacomo Casanova's raison d'être.
- a wonderful, complex, complete musical masterpiece; Chicago right now feels almost as dim and rainy as Barron and Haden's flawless "Twilight" in NYC.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Update: Jean-Luc Naret on the Chicago Michelin stars. Some things above find an explanation (the ranking was finalized already in September; Avec has been closed for a great while; Laurent Gras might return?) but I am not satisfied.
Monday, November 15, 2010
- The Girl and The Goat (been there twice; see blurry photo capturing happy diners Seb, Veronica, Eva, and Rob, with chef Stephanie Izard in the centre)
- Riccardo Trattoria (twice)
- Hopleaf (several times)
- Mixteco Grill
- The Purple Pig
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
[...]heaven is where women and older people work like Swedes, the young work like the Dutch and the unemployed find jobs like the Danes. Hell is where workers get into unemployment like the Americans and out of it like the Italians.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Before I come up with my Econ Nobel forecast -- a week to go, stay tuned-- let us take a look to the 2010 Nobel Ig prizes related to Economics. The Economics Ig Nobel itself is perhaps not very unexpected this year--though not very creative either (I wonder whether Oliver Stone is behind this too; his latest movie gets pretty mediocre reviews-- IMDb, RottenTomatoes-- despite all the hype). The "Management" Nobel Ig reads much better (but I still need to check out that paper): "Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random. REFERENCE: “The Peter Principle Revisited: A Computational Study,” Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo, Physica A, vol. 389, no. 3, February 2010, pp. 467-72."
- Mankiw's excellent advice for all new college freshmen. Do learn some Economics, Statistics, and Finance, (ok, even Psychology, though this is second order) for your own sake... Couldn't have phrased it better.
What would happen if Lars von Trier were in charge with marketing Denmark. Not that the real (at least, intended, later withdrawn) ad was much smarter. (With thanks to Fred for the links). If you ask me, the Danes should hire these Norvegians for the perfect branding job. Anyhow, good or bad PR, I am heading that way (momentarily with a headache in Schiphol's Crown Lounge). Inter alia, training a bit for future chilly times in Chicago.
And finally, keeping it in Scandinavian context: Magnus beat the world. And he got a date with Liv Taylor: I'd say that's worth the effort. See also his interview on the Pauw and Witteman Dutch TV show, before the world match (partly in Dutch, but you'll manage).
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
- Terry Tao brief and informative on the 2010 Fields medalists (Le Monde est aussi très heureux et honoré pour Ngo et Villani, "deux facettes de l'école mathématique française"). Read also Tao's intro to the winners of the Nevanlinna, Gauss and Chern prizes.
- Interesting interview of Michael Nielsen with Cameron Neylon on practical steps towards open science (and, as it turns out, on useful advice beyond that)
- Landsburg on efficiency and honest goal stating in policy analysis (see also Reinhardt's NYT column that started Landsburg). And another critical instance/application of (in)efficiency, via Barro.
- Languages shaping the way we think (and why I would have no chances with geographic idioms like Guugu Yimithirr or truth-revealing languages like Matses)
Saturday, August 14, 2010
To top it all, I've seen "Up in the air" just the proper way, up in the air-- during my Chicago-Amsterdam trip yesterday. And, obviously, I write this post from Schiphol's KLM lounge, soon to be up in the air again, this time to Shanghai. "Bingo. Asians."
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
- John Kennes has put together quite an impressive resource on the 'economics of search and matching' (on which he's giving a full course this Fall, in Aarhus: if you are a master/PhD student active/interested in the area, you really don't want to miss that). I have to admit I see myself several of those internet-accessible search and/or matching (and beyond) materials (e.g., many YouTube lectures) for the first time. Great job, John: hope you'll keep developing that site!
- In a previous post I mentioned taking part in this year's Macro Perspectives Workshop at the NBER Summer Institute. Ex post, the workshop was indeed host to a number of interesting paper presentations and often lively discussions. In arbitrary order and obviously subject to my idiosyncrasies, I thought some of the finest contributions were: Farhi and Werning's "Insurance and Taxation over the Life Cycle", Kaas and Kircher's "Efficient Firm Dynamics in a Frictional Labour Market", and Cosar, Guner and Tybout's "Firm Dynamics, Job Turnover, and Wage Distributions in an Open Economy".
- I've now read (airtravel is a great means for reducing your pile of must-read research papers) Jean-Marc Robin's paper "On the Dynamics of Unemployment and Wage Distributions", of which I've seen a very stimulating presentation at the EALE/SOLE conference from mid June, in London. I think this is indeed an interesting (if still subject to further empirical validation) alternative, building up from micro- to macro- modelling, to-- this is not entirely correct, but I will try to fit a catch-all term-- 'direct wage stickiness' models advanced over the recent years (and largely embraced since). While wage rigidity remains essentially the main culprit in explaining wage inequality dynamics patterns (varying cyclicality at different cuts in the wage distribution), the underlying mechanism is different than hitherto considered, a combination of worker heterogeneity and aggregate shocks to match productivity delivering both unemployment volatility and different renegotiation process of extreme, as opposed to intermediate, wage levels. Moreover, as Jean-Marc emphasizes in the conclusion of the paper, his benchmark suggests some straightforward, pretty exciting avenues for further research.
- I'll let you figure out the link with the search & matching (or the Economics!): here's John Adams with sufficient reasons to read Gustave Flaubert's 'Madame Bovary' for a second(third,...nth?) time. And if you didn't know (or: know all too well) that Flaubert is for grande prose what Mahler is for grande musique-- think details, precision, Herculian labour-- read Adams's (channelling Vargas Llosa) "Perpetual Orgy" sequel, too.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Society for Economic Dynamics Annual Meeting 2010. The SED Annual Meeting is by far the best conference (NB: this does not include more specialized workshops) I have ever participated in (this being my second time, after the SED 2008 at MIT): the average quality of the papers presented is high, while, crucially, there is no extreme quality variance (as, unfortunately, some European conferences tend to exhibit over and over, though you'd think they've had enough feedback on that by now). Excellent invited talks, some quite inspiring, by Bob Hall, Susan Athey (no slides online, but she surely was-- seems to me she always is-- the best orator), and Ellen McGrattan. Moreover, the organizers did a terrific job, while at the same time keeping conference fees to decent levels (another problem of many European conferences). Last, but not least, if you're interested in my SED presentation, you can download the slides here (the paper is being revised at the moment, so older versions you might find online might be too old).
Briefly on Montréal: definitely a city I could live in (to the extent I've experienced it in my week there), though I still might, slightly, prefer London and Chicago over it (unconditional reasoning, obviously). In particular, the Mile End and Plateau neighborhoods are true gems, with Old Montreal my next favourite. Oh, and I've discovered I can actually manage quite well in Québécois, which is probably the most exciting Franglais around. On the minus side: it is as hot and unbearable in the summer as Chicago right now (and I understand it goes cold extreme in the winter, again just as Chicago).
To get to what I find truly amazing in Montreal (neah, despite some being surprised at this, it is not the fact that most hotels have great open-air swimming pools on their top...), that is its dining scene-- again comparable to the food scenes in Chicago or London, for instance, in both variety and quality. There wasn't a lot of time available, but I could not in any way miss Restaurant Toqué!, which for the connaisseurs I would relate to Spiaggia in Chicago (in terms of food class, locale ambiance, and service), except that it is about half as expensive (hold your horses, that is still very far from cheap; but again, in my opinion, worth every penny). In particular, the way they combined what you might think are elements that simply cannot go together, in my "Cavatelli, morceaux de foie gras et huile de truffe blanche" is something bordering on sublime (preceded by wonderfully fresh-- yes, in Montreal-- oysters). The wine list is also impressive, with plenty of choice for any taste. Wrap it all up with a classy vintage port and you will know you have to come back. Talking about wine however, my favourite place in Montreal has to be Bu; it is precisely the wine bar concept with small, high quality, dishes, to pair with great wines, which I think is missing from most other places, including all of Eastern Europe, all of Scandinavia, and so on and so forth, in fact I yet have to discover such a place in Chicago (the latest such place that amazed me was a nice wine bar with tasty "montaditos" and good Spanish wines on offer, in Sevilla, Spain, where I will have to return as soon as possible). In any case, as my Romanian friends living in Montreal, whom I had the pleasure to meet after many years in that evening at the Bu, will surely testify, a Pierre Gaillard Condrieu (2003 in this case; there are also vintages I like better) is not something you will drink every day (or, every month, year etc., depending on the person), but you will remember its taste for long thereafter; and probably it wouldn't really matter what you pair it with, though my "Ravioli frais de mozarella di bufala, pesto et tomates séchées" seemed a perfect choice. Finally, to keep the list manageable, well worth mentioning is what I'd label the best tapas place in Québec (prove me wrong!), Tapeo Bar à Tapas. While it took me some effort to organize this, we did eventually manage a great dinner for no less than 10 persons (true, starting no sooner than 10 PM, nothing unlike a Spanish tapas time...), and I had the feeling there was eventually nobody left unsatisfied. All dishes were superlative (with perfect service, accomodating extremely demanding foodies....), my weaknesses being the octopus salad (sorry, Paul), and the calamari fritti.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Indeed, the defence is crucial, as is violence on the midfield. For the first time in years Holland has a pair of complete bastards in the midfield (De Jong and Van Bommel). They will have to break down the Brazilian attack while Sneijder finds space behind the Brazilian wing backs to launch Robben and Van Persie. Doesn't sound very traditional Dutch, right? But it will be the game plan tomorrow. Believe it or not, some people here are actually calling for an old fashion German style approach, which is causing some distress among the total football purists. Lets hope for the best.
Oh yeah, and the reason I have not posted for so long is that (as you obviously imagined...) I am very busy-- inter alia, have very impatient co-authors (they do have a point, though, and I have always liked challenges, hence all for the best this far)--, and have recently returned to Chicago from very interesting conferences in London (EALE-SOLE 2010; great organization by the UCL team of Richard, Steve & co) and in Skagen (Danish Microeconometric Network; admirably organized by Lars and Marianne). Following soon is SED at Montreal, with the greatest expectations. If I find the time, you'll read detailed criticisms and praises at some point.
Monday, April 26, 2010
- Chicago's Alinea advances three positions, to an honourable world top 7: perfect synchronization with my arrival in town. You are allowed to wish me Bon Appetit already.
- Remaining in top thirty, at position 24, is the wonderful Les Créations de Narisawa; earlier I wrote in detail about my superlative Tokyo culinary experience.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
PS. 26 Celsius and no wind in the Windy City...
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
[...] We’ve been busy traveling around in the Nordic regions and we have been finding a number of simply phenomenal ingredients that we have flown into town for our use: Horse mussels, deep-sea crabs and langoustines from the Faeroe Islands, which are living right up until the moment they are served to our visitors. Halibut, wild salmon, cod and seaweed and curds from Iceland. Lamb, musk ox, berries and the purest drinking water from Greenland. In much the same fashion, we are constantly scanning for new sources of inspiration in Denmark, especially, as well as the other Nordic regions, for purposes of securing reliable sources of top-quality raw produce. This pertains both to very costly ingredients and also to ingredients of a more everyday character that we feel have come to be overlooked in the formulation of a salient Nordic approach to cooking: cereals, hulled grains and legumes, which you will come to experience here in the context of surprising preparations. [...]
The verdict on the top exponent of new Nordic culinary craft after the weekend.
Friday, March 12, 2010
The playful mantras of our adolescence have become a way of life for later generations. At least in the ’60s we knew, whatever we said, that sex was about…sex. All the same, what followed is our fault. We—the left, academics, teachers—have abandoned politics to those for whom actual power is far more interesting than its metaphorical implications. Political correctness, gender politics, and above all hypersensitivity to wounded sentiments (as though there were a right not to be offended): this will be our legacy.
Why should I not close my office door or take a student to a play? If I hesitate, have I not internalized the worst sort of communitarian self-censorship—anticipating my own guilt long before I am accused and setting a pusillanimous example for others? Yes: and if only for these reasons I see nothing wrong in my behavior. But were it not for the mandarin self-assurance of my Oxbridge years, I too might lack the courage of my convictions—though I readily concede that the volatile mix of intellectual arrogance and generational exceptionalism can ignite delusions of invulnerability.
Superb historical/biographical account by Tony Judt, in "Girls! Girls! Girls!". A must read for all us elitists without scruples (some things will always be the same)... and anybody else who dares.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Saturday, March 06, 2010
- Gelman writes a useful overview on causality and statistical learning (caveat lector: I have only read through Angrist and Pischke's book, among the three Gelman mentiones; that one is very well written, but aimed at junior graduate students at best: hence, the book's tag "an empiricist's companion" is overselling it; and that has nothing to do with Josh Angrist kindly "advising" me to change my PhD topic/focus, sometime in my beginning graduate years, because 'nobody serious would be interested in structural modelling' :-)). I guess I would position myself more within the “minority view” set, represented here by Heckman (I wouldn’t say that is really a "minority" within Economics alone, by the way), but the usefulness of these debates cannot be questionned. And an outsider's (to Economics) opinion, such as Gelman's, is always more than welcome. Related, the WSJ talks about statistical time travelling to answer interesting counterfactuals; I have a feeling I'll stick to my structural guns for now...
- An excellent article on the junior meritocracy and the perils of standardized testing at very young ages. I share most of the worries expressed therein and indeed agree that the marshmallow test would say at least as much, and probably more, than a standardized intelligence test, in the case of toddlers. My general take is that young humans have much more complex personalities than usually warranted, in ways that elude any catch-all type of tests: after all, some even fall in love at 3 years old.
- The ubiquitous problem with such academic et al rankings (which I brought over and over, including in earlier posts and articles, particularly concerning the academic ranking obsession in Romania, where they also-- still! -- have problems understanding that a publication 'anywhere in ISI' can be total nonsense) is that they try to rank overall, ie. over all disciplines, often over (too) long periods of time etc. The only meaningful hierarchies in science are those done on specific disciplines and, even better, subdisciplines, and over shorter periods of time, thus revealing top new places etc. Then, inter alia, one would not be able to claim that biological sciences are advantaged, since there would be a within-discipline focus. I haven’t heard a single serious (but plenty of marginal) scientist(s) stressing the relevance of the rank of her/his university/institution over that of her/his department/research group. Politicians and journalists should take note, too.
- The perfect chef? That is intriguing enough: I would certainly like to know whether one can trace his whereabouts anywhere around Chicago, in the near future. And the (allegedly) perfect place for the greatest wine-- Rekondo, San Sebastian-- for the far(ther) future.
- Gastronomic sacrilège: where have all the great cheeses gone-- roquefort, camembert, brie de Meaux, Saint-Félicien, gruyère, comté, münster, pont l’évêque, cantal, reblochon, tomme de Savoie, crottin de chavignol?! Worse, together with the cheese, soon gone might be oysters, and epsilon common sense... Quo vadis, France?
- Searching for the perfect chess player, human or machine... Put your money on AI; leave poker for humans.
- The most exciting scientific upshot I've heard about in a great while: explaining the tip-of-the-tongue moments. It comes finally clear (although at this stage I understand it is still just speculative/conjectural, and needs more testing) why polyglots (such as I like to consider myself...) have more of a problem in remembering specific words than people who use a single language: “ […] this kind of forgetfulness is due to infrequency of use; basically, the less often you use a word, the harder it is for your brain to access it." Good, I will feel much better when invoking 'lapsus memoriae' next time :-).
- The quest for the better, simpler, (American) living times: old, but superb Daily Show clip, via Tabarrok, on MR
- How very true, though my feeling is that the battle for the brightest junior (and not only) Economists is far from over. It is sadly not Europe overall that might offer an alternative for European economists (not a chance: for starters, Europe needs to cut that embarrasing red tape where academics depend on useless, worthless, ridiculous bureacrats, and to think of attractive real wages... ), but Canada and Australia, which look more and more like worthy competitors to the USA (top; the bulk is way worse than pretty much anywhere in western Europe) places (related, earlier).
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
- Sequence of very welcome interviews by John Cassidy with several members of the “Chicago School”, about the status of Economics in the context of the current crisis, the Chicago School nowadays, the Milton Friedman legacy etc: interview with Richard Posner; Eugene Fama; John Cochrane; Gary Becker; Jim Heckman; Kevin Murphy; Raghuram Rajan; and Richard Thaler (my favourite interviews here are the ones with Murphy, Heckman, and Rajan).
- Interesting interview with urban and environmental economist Matthew Kahn on green cities, environmental Kuznets curves, demographics in major cities, policies to attract and retain a skilled population base etc. Here’s one of the parts I like most: “I'm an honest man. I think it's important to know what you don't know. When you know that you don't know something, the answer is to experiment! “ Valid beyond this context.
- A chat with Greg Mankiw, Harvard professor, successful Economics blogger, former CEA head, and a total family guy.
- Interview with entrepreneur Peter Thiel, among other things cofounder of Paypal, and first investor in Facebook. Though confused about a few specific issues, his overall idea makes a lot of sense.
- Short interview with Yoram Bauman, the one and only stand-up Economist, on the need for humor and cartoon textbooks in Economics. We love this quote: “I put my left hand on the small of her back, I put my right hand on the curve of her hip, I put my invisible hand on her thigh”
- And finally, a very special simultaneous interview/debate (or, rather: rap) with John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August von Hayek, on recipes for dealing with the current, or any other, economic crisis. The lyrics, if you want to learn this by heart.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Briefly on Atlanta itself: ultimately not that appealing a city. In fact, probably the least interesting city I have visited in USA so far (caveat lector: I have deliberately avoided stuff a priori known to be dull), bar San Antonio, Texas (which might have changed since my trip there in '04, but I doubt it). It does have an attractive small city center though, and a couple of decent bars and restaurants. Oh, and not to forget, the Aquarium is definitely worth a visit (even if what they claim, ie. that they are the largest aquarium in the world, was true in 2005 at the time of their opening...), despite that the Beluga whales are/were? on holiday, and the whole place is a tad too commercial for my taste (much more so than the New York Aquarium, say, which is not that large or exciting, but looks definitely better organized, in particular lacking that nonsensical, pushy, overly-populistic, inside marketing). The "gentle giants", the whale sharks, are amazing, you could watch them for hours (did not have time for a dive with them, but that would have probably been the best thing to do in Atlanta) and so are a bunch of species I saw for the first time live, including the huge Japanese spider crabs etc. The one big regret: I did not have time to visit the CNN Center in Atlanta (on the other hand, I am glad I did not queue up for the Coca-Cola Museum).
Back to the Atlanta restaurant stage: the best experience by far was Top Flr, with amazingly low prices for that quality (e.g., an extremely tasty scallops dish, with citrus braised endive, ginger, lemon grass reduction, and horseradish celery salad, at 15 dollars; pair that with a nice Austrian Pinot Gris-- or, but they had run out of it at the time, a subtle French Viognier--, at less than 40 dollars per bottle), and a remarkable environment in general (note: the cab got lost on the way--allegedly, a max 7 min drive--, with Google Maps, and normal maps, and all technical devices in use; after about 30 minutes we realized the problem was very much the cab driver, not the location of Top Flr). Bacchanalia was also up there, quality-wise (the veal sweetbreads, with "braised local baby collard greens", was just out of this world), and service-wise (e.g., the sommelier had some super interesting tips to substitute wines we asked for, which they did not have; btw, what's up with that Viognier-- and nota bene, I did not say Condrieu-viognier; that is unfortunately missing anytime, anywhere-- absent from all Atlanta places that advertise to normally have it on the wine menu), but somehow below the expectations I had for such an exquisite place (I can only have extremely high expectations from a place supposed to be the best of its kind in Atlanta). Anyway, if you happen to be around, these two places are certainly worth checking out. Moreover, you might be able to find some top quality dishes in some absolutely unassuming places; that was a pleasant surprise.
Further highlights from the ASSA @ Atlanta:
- Hal Varian's, on computer-intermediated transactions, and the history of technical innovation and implications in general, was by far the best keynote (the 2010 Richard T. Ely lecture) of the whole AEA conference. Varian knows how to bridge the academic and the more general audience sides better than anybody else; he is natural when it comes to joking, without forcing himself whatsoever; and he has always something very interesting to say. To keep to some of the funny things he mentioned (unfortunately could not yet trace slides/ talk summary anywhere online), one of them was the fading importance and influence of HiPPOs (Highly Paid Person Opinions) in IT and beyond; he also thought he coined himself the label "micromultinational", before he googled it and found many precedents; and he shared with us the conviction that 'if you torture the data enough, it will eventually give up everything' (now you know what Google is up to).
- Robert Shiller gave this year's joint AEA/AFA talk: very provocative, and quite original, particularly his arguments for issuing GDP shares, or so-called "trills", which he had also written about a couple of days before, in the NYTimes (that idea is really not that crazy as it looks at first, trust me). The not so clear/bright? part: he also made repeated allusions to all previous and current "amateur economists", who have no clue about how the financial market works, although avoided being any more concrete; some macro/finance people in the large panel behind him were not smiling at all.
- The very much awaited session on "New Directions in the Economic Analysis of Human Capital" was not as exciting as it announced itself: Gary Becker, the one who was supposed to chair it, was missing, while some discussants were either not there or did not say anything (since they shared all their comments with the authors before the session?!): organization, what can I say... But there were at least two very good presentations, one by Gabriella Conti (paper joint with Heckman and Urzua) on "Education and Health", and the other one by William Hubbard (paper joint with Becker and Murphy) on "The Market for College Graduates and the Worldwide Boom in Higher Education of Women". Plus, I have a great picture of Josh Angrist and Jim Heckman sharing one podium. That is a most rare occasion, I can tell you :-).
- Finally, Avinash Dixit's talk at the Nobel Laureate Luncheon honoring Paul Krugman was very nice and as funny as one can imagine: there is probably nobody who could introduce and summarize better Krugman's work, including and emphasizing his pioneering (1978!) work on "The theory of Interstellar Trade"-- which Krugman later announced that it might finally be published in Economic Inquiry. Which is truly great news, since this would be then one of the two funniest papers ever published, in the entire history of Economics academe (the other one being the 1983 AER paper of Preston McAfee, "American Economic Growth and the Voyage of Columbus"-- download here a non-gated version; with thanks to Tor for the tip) . You should definitely read them both-- it will convince you that people do have a lot of fun, next to doing great research, in Economics. Since we're mentioning Krugman: here's a pretty well written, recent, bio article (cats included); and we couldn't do without his musical super fans, of course: e.g., listen to/see this or this.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
- The Tilburg Univ "Econ Schools Ranking". It is indeed using a rather decent pool of journals (for period 2004-2008) and moreover, you can construct your own top by choosing subsets of those journals (such as top 5 only, if you wish). Not a bad idea.
- A pity they decided to close before I managed to assess them... While I honestly hope Ferran Adrià will revisit this decision, I cannot help noticing that this simply paves the way for the would-be King of Restaurants: El Bulli is dead, long live Noma! I promise to tell you more about Noma in the first week of April.
- (A noteworthy) LEAP forward at Harvard (via Al Roth, at Market Design). The sort of interesting academic initiatives that European universities would be wise to imitate (hope dies last)...
- Art catastrophes happen everywhere, quite frequently.
- The sustainable, meat-eating, vegetarians. And, (in a funny way) related, a great "Hústorta" short movie, by a promising young director, Jakab-Benke Nándor (with thanks to Dan). By the way, this Toldi restaurant in Cluj Napoca, on Clinicilor 23, (tried for the first time with the occasion of my recent trip there) is indeed a place where they know how to prepare meat. In general. So if you want good meat, definitely a place to try. The problem is that there is not much else than meat there... Literally. And they could do so much more. The service and ambiance are pretty decent, though they could invest in more/better marketing (online included, for instance).
- Good: Jay McInerney apparently takes over the wine column at WSJ. Let us hope he's gonna be as entertaining as in Bacchus & me (first bullet point).
- Time to put all these culinary-links-Chicago in order and save for future reference, before I get there (blame the EU Commission if I am late): Chicago's great culinary middle ground. Assuming I will not go every second day to Avec (which I've tried twice by now) and above (looking very much forward to).
- And, finally for today, under the heading "Econ work is never over", this is a perfect advice for people like myself: "Submit the paper right now! Submit the paper right now!" Brilliant. Via Jeff Ely, at Cheaptalk.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Anyway, what I actually wanted to bore you with is that I have recently returned from home, i.e. Cluj, Transylvania, Vampire Empire, which nowadays happens to be part of Romania (more), a country where in order to get a new, biometric, passport, you have to wait no less than 20 (twenty! and they stress: week)days. In the Netherlands or Denmark (or any other sane country) you get the same, biometric, passport in 5 (five) days. And there they also do not (implicitly or explicitly) ask if you agree to be fingerprinted because (as in my country, the default assumption is that) you, as in you-citizen, might believe there is some connection of fingerprinting/digital photography/anything involving a biometric passport to a peculiar 666 number, or some-- whatever-- religion, or to both. Pathetic. And still (what a child, ain't it?), I insist: I want to have my Romanian (biometric or not) passport. I am by now 99% sure that Marcus Messner's so perfectly displayed indignation (hopefully they get back to their senses in that Nobel Literature committee and give the next prize to Roth, rather than persisting in rewarding mediocrity) is simply a most natural feeling, with or without Olivia (or Bertrand Russell) in the background.
Maybe it is better to talk/write about what we love. So here she is once again, Leila: this time together with Sarasate and his Zigeunerweisen (earlier). More about Pablo de Sarasate's masterpiece (including an incredible 1904 recording of Sarasate himself playing it!). More on Leila's Zigeunerweisen. Fabulous!
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Long Hwa wrote to me the following, after joining me and several colleagues to a dinner in a, as he called it, "burning-money restaurant", in Tallinn, Estonia, September last year:
He always knew better.
Thank you for the burning-money restaurant. That is not a bad idea, to burn some money when we are alive. I mean that it is better than getting money in the underworld, when we pass away.
I will greatly miss Long Hwa: the student, the teacher, the colleague, the Friend.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
A subset of my favourite A.E. Bizottság pieces: "Szerelem" (perfect; if you make an effort to understand the lyrics, you will fully agree); "Kamikaze"; "Már megint ez a depresszió "; "Konyhagyeplő" ; "Putty Putty"; "Egy lány kéne nékem" (oh well, I see this one comes with a striptease session in the youtube clip; depending on your tastes/orientation that might be a plus or a minus :-)); finally (update) listen to/see this if you want the total fun part. You will enjoy all of it!
PS. Check out some other excellent/interesting Hungarian music I mentioned earlier on this blog: here, here, here, here, or here. Blame YouTube if clips are not available any longer (though, tip: you can still find them, if you search carefully, under different links).
Friday, January 29, 2010
When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
- the high time for places from Europe (in particular, Denmark and The Netherlands need to make the good moves right now...) to (seriously) tempt some (serious) top candidates (from both US and European prestigious schools). They do have to outmaneuver Canada in that realm (and-- to some extent-- the far East, Australia included).
- temporary postdoctoral positions might become more fashionable... even among economists
- prestigious postdoctoral grant programs have started to be really in demand (e.g. witness the increase in the number of applications for the-- several types of-- Marie Curie independent grants within the EU Commission FP7 program, ECO panel). Which made it more challenging for yours truly, but doable :-).
- per ensemble, it is not all bad news, indeed: some of these implications move us closer to the jobs market of junior natural scientists, which I believe is one positive consequence of the drama