Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Reading Feed (August 2019)


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Estimating US Consumer Gains from Chinese Imports — "A simple benchmarking exercise suggests that Chinese imports led to a 0.19 percentage point annual reduction in the price index for consumer tradables." and "I would have expected a somewhat higher magnitude, and perhaps this in part explains why the trade war has been proceeding."

Blog: Marginal Revolution | No man can be judge in his own case — "The practice in New Orleans, however, of funding court and judicial benefits with a tax on bail is obnoxious. In recent years, the tax on bail has funded 20-25% of the Judicial Expense Fund which is used to pay staff and office supplies, travel and other costs. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal was right to affirm that this tax violates a defendant’s due process rights because it gives judges an incentive to require bail for their own benefit rather than to incentivize the defendant’s court appearance..."

Blog: Marginal Revolution | 10% Less Democracy — Tyler is having a little too much fun in this tiny review, though I'm remembering an older MR post about how 10% more Chinese democracy would almost certainly bring social conservatism to Beijing. "Check your mood affiliation at the door" is the appropriate MR-ism...


Blog: JeffTK | Dressing Outside

Blog: Shtetl-Optimized | A nerdocratic oath


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Marty Weitzman’s Noah’s Ark Problem — "His work is marked by high-theory applied to practical problems. The theory is always worked out in great generality and is difficult even for most economists. Weitzman wanted to be understood by more than a handful of theorists, however, and so he also went to great lengths to look for special cases or revealing metaphors. Thus, the typical Weitzman paper has a dense middle section of math but an introduction and conclusion of sparkling prose that can be understood and appreciated by anyone for its insights."


Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | Yes, the Fed Could Still Stop a Recession — "The world’s central banks have a lot of power. What's changed is their willingness to use it."

Blog: Bloomberg Businessweek | Making New Elements Doesn’t Pay — h/t Tyler Cowen.


Blog: Gates Notes | Here’s a question you should ask about every climate change plan

Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Dual Wielding


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Good Economics for Hard Times


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy is a Sign of Success

Blog: The Grumpy Economist | Why stop at 100? The case for perpetuities


Blog: The Grumpy Economist | Summers tweet stream on secular stagnation


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Starbucks monetary policy

Blog: Schneier on Security | License Plate "NULL"


Blog: The Grumpy Economist | Inflation, and history

Blog: Marginal Revolution | What I’ve been reading

Blog: The Grumpy Economist | Inflation, and history — "Where it does make a big difference is when you cumulate inflation over a long period of time. We do that in the politically charged question, is the average American better off now than his or her parents were in 1975, and if so how much? Now whether 1% per year times 44 years is more inflation or better stuff matters a lot..."

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Would a payroll tax cut help avoid a recession? — "Right now, probably not..."


Blog: Market Design | More chaos in the medical resident interviewing process


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tuesday assorted links

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Alexey Guzey on progress in the life sciences

Blog: Marginal Revolution | An email I sent on negative nominal interest rates


Blog: Marginal Revolution | The culture that is San Francisco

Blog: Bits and Pieces | But for

Comic: xkcd | Conference Question


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Eva Vivalt on Give Later

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Supply of Housing Has Become LESS Elastic


Interview: Conversations with Tyler @ Medium | Masha Gessen on the Ins and Outs of Russia — "Cowen: [I]f you were advising a hedge fund as to what they could learn from training of talent in the world of Soviet mathematics, what would you tell them?" / "I would actually tell them that maybe it’s better to have not quite such amazingly trained talent, but to live in a freer society." and "I met Putin about six months after publishing an unauthorized biography of him that came out in about 20 languages and became a best seller in many of them. And he didn’t know about the book. That was really interesting because it’s obvious why he didn’t know about the book. In order for him to know about the book, someone would have to tell him about the book..."

Blog: The Grumpy Economist | The Reader's Guide to Optimal Monetary Policy


Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Jeff Bezos approach to charity

Blog: Schneier on Security | More on Backdooring (or Not) WhatsApp

Blog: Market Design | Contracts can be more than salaries: Hassidim, Romm, and Shorrer in EL

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Lesson of the Spoons — "In a story beloved by economists it’s said that Milton Friedman was once visiting China when he was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, thousands of workers were toiling away building a canal with shovels. He asked his host, a government bureaucrat, why more machines weren’t being used. The bureaucrat replied, 'You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.' To which Milton responded, 'Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, you should give these workers spoons, not shovels!'"

Blog: Schneier on Security | Exploiting GDPR to Get Private Information — "A researcher abused the GDPR to get information on his fiancee..."


Blog: Overcoming Bias | Paternalism Is About Status

Blog: Market Design | Cadet branch matching satisfies traditional assumptions: Ravi Jagadeesan in AEJ: Micro


Blog: Marginal Revolution | More from Less

Blog: Overcoming Bias | Against Irony — "Language is like religion, art, and many other customs in this way, helping to bond locals via barriers to wider interaction and understanding. If you think of yourself instead as a world cosmopolitan, preferring to promote world peace and integration via a global culture that avoids hostile isolationist ties to local ethnicities and cultures, then not only should you like world-wide travel, music, literature, emigration, and intermarriage, you should also dislike irony. Irony is the creation of arbitrary language barriers with the sole purpose of preventing wider cultural integration." Faults used to be subtitled "one's ponens is another's tolens"...

Blog: Overcoming Bias | A Model of Paternalism


Blog: Marginal Revolution | How honest again is big business?

Blog: Marginal Revolution | How much would German stimulus raise the steady-state return on private capital?


Blog: Marginal Revolution | Canadian jubilee

Blog: Schneier on Security | AT&T Employees Took Bribes to Unlock Smartphones

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Has anyone said this yet? — "Who is today the most influential conservative intellectual with other conservative and libertarian intellectuals?"


Blog: Slate Star Codex | Highlights From The Comments On Billionaire Philanthropy


Blog: Open Philanthropy | Questions We Ask Ourselves Before Making a Grant

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Entire German Yield Curve is Trading Below Zero

Blog: Marginal Revolution | The rise of niche consumption

Blog: The Cut | Elizabeth Warren’s Classroom Strategy — h/t Leah Libresco.


Blog: Slate Star Codex | Links 8/19

Interview: 80,000 Hours Podcast | Paul Christiano on messaging the future, increasing compute, & how CO2 impacts your brain

Blog: Marginal Revolution | How carbon-unfriendly is the act of flying?

Blog: Palladium | The Real Problem At Yale Is Not Free Speech — "In terms of income at Yale, I was in the bottom 2%. And the people to whom I extended my generosity did not need it, whatsoever. This is mildly entertaining, but not the point. This is not a story about me, or about Marcus, or about our amusing adventures at Yale. This is a story about an institution and an elite that have lost themselves." and "'Why do you care so much about what happens to the university?' My answer surprised him, which in turn surprised me, because it was one of the few truths that I know is truly incontestable. I told him, 'Yale was the most important thing that happened to me. I didn’t have anything before. And now I have everything.'"


Blog: Marginal Revolution | How I choose fiction


Blog: A.Critch | Effective funerals: buy biographies instead of expensive burials, and maybe cemeteries can become libraries.

Blog: Marginal Revolution | America, in two charts, social average is over


Blog: Popehat | Hate Speech and Billboards: A Discussion At Above The Law

Blog: Otium | Asking Permission

Blog: Market Design | How Market Design Emerged from Game Theory, by Roth and Wilson in the JEP

Blog: Marginal Revolution | Paul Krugman’s Most Evil Idea

Comic: xkcd | Unpopular Opinions

Blog: Schneier on Security | How Privacy Laws Hurt Defendants


Blog: Don't Worry About the Vase | Mistake Versus Conflict Theory of Against Billionaire Philanthropy