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25 мая, 01:58

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**Comment of the Day: Tracy Lightcap**: _A Note on Coursera CEO Rick Levin's Clark Kerr Lecture..._: "I think Thoma's course is indicative of the kinds of courses that succeed on-line... >...There appear to be two varieties: required courses and puzzle courses. If an on-line course is required, then students will keep with it in hopes of fulfilling the requirement. Since most of theses courses are entry-level, they are mainly concentrated on delivering facts and fitting them into descriptions. This is admirably suited to on-line work. >The second kind of course is one that is concentrated on puzzles. Most introductory math and computer science courses are like that. Students are introduced to a variety of techniques that can be used to solve puzzles that arise in a particular field. There's good evidence that this works well. >What doesn't work very well are courses that teach how to apply the techniques found in puzzles to analytical reasoning. This is one reason why you don't hear much about success in even basic lab science courses on-line. Face-to-face courses work much better for such advanced work. Such courses can work with a "hybrid" model too: two days looking at vids and on-line material +...

25 мая, 01:47

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**Must-Read: Martin Wolf**: _Conservatism Buries Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher_: "Trump... has ended up with “pluto-populism”—policies that benefit plutocrats, justified by populist rhetoric... >...slash taxes on the rich, at the expense of the poor.... Confidence in the benefits of free markets, free trade and free movement of people has been lost... more tribal, less global. The devastation caused by the financial crisis of 2007-09 is one explanation. Hostility to immigration is another.... The US and UK have moved into a period marked by suspicion of foreigners and doubts about free markets.... It seems highly likely that this shift will last beyond the personalities now involved. The result is likely to be a different ideological centre of gravity for policy.... [Will]the policies being promoted will assuage the anxiety of those who brought Mr Trump and Mrs May to power[?].... The opposite is far more likely.... Trump’s... slashing... is likely to be highly damaging to the welfare of many of his supporters. Meanwhile, nothing he does will bring back lost manufacturing and mining jobs. This failure seems sure to make the base angrier.... >It would be a good thing if the British and Americans recognised that they do not possess all (perhaps...

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25 мая, 01:39

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**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage**: So did he write his book-signing message—and then did some aide hit the roof and beg him to add "and will never forget"? **Betty Cracker**: _Trump signs Yad Veshem’s yearbook…_: "Trump visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial today. National embarrassment ensued: I apologize to everyone for the insane electoral college system that has a 10% error rate, and which meant that our getting 3 million extra votes was not enough to stop this atrocious CTF...

23 мая, 19:54

Welcome Back to History, America!

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Matthew Yglesias tweeted: **Matthew Yglesias**: _On Twitter: "It seems profoundly dysfunctional_ that the whole imperial court has to travel, lest some particular faction bend the king's ear. " All I can say is: Matthew, I welcome you and I welcome the United States back to history. [The _Economist_][] compares Donald Trump to Henry VIII—not just once, but [again][], [and again][]. It's not meant to be a compliment. However, English governance under King Henry VIII Tudor functioned better than under his son Edward VI Tudor and his daughter Mary I Tudor. The reigns of Henry VIII and his father Henry VII were bookended by periods of turmoil and chaos, beginning and ending with the murdered child monarchs Lady Jane Grey and Edward V York. And, recall, Henry VIII and his father were breaths of stability and calm compared to what had happened before: The wheels really came off under Henry VI Lancaster. Whatever normalcy was restored under Edward IV York, while the Wydville-Gloucester feud burbled under the surface, collapsed when the wheels came off again under Richard III York. Henry VIII seems a worse-than-average king when he stands in the shadow of his daughter Elizabeth I Tudor and his great-great uncle...

23 мая, 19:17

A Few Notes on the CUNY "After Piketty" Panel...

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_After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality_ Themes worth noting from the _After Piketty_ CUNY launch event—that I missed, being on the wrong coast. But having been on the wrong coast, I can now add, in a _l'esprit d'escalier_ sense, what I would have said if I had been there, had been thinking very quickly, and had the last word: **(1) "Capital" vs. "Wealth" in PIketty's _Capital in the 21st Century_** >**Branko Milanovic**: Not a confusion, but the use of "capital" for wealth was criticized because for economists "capital" is productive capital: the input into the production function in the theory of growth, and so on. But "wealth", for people who work on income distribution like myself, includes all other things, including real estate, and other things which are even not necessarily immediately marketable. Although, obviously, real estate is. So there is a little bit of a difference between the two. In the book... the two are really conflated... >**Paul Krugman**: The place where I think is closest to him being—wrong is not quite the right word—where there is a really serious critique from the economists' point of view—I defer the historical social issues to other people–he makes a...

23 мая, 18:10

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**Should-Read: Branko Milanovic**: _Liberation from the Shackles of Space_: "A couple of things are worth noticing regarding the second unbundling... >...First, huge importance of institutions.... When the production is delocalized, the quality of institutions, infrastructure or politics in the recipient country matters enormously to the center. If designs are stolen, produced goods impounded, travel of people between the center and the offshore location made difficult, the entire production structure of the company collapses. For the center, the quality of institutions in the offshore location becomes almost as important as the quality of institutions locally. >Second... while in the past developing countries were trying to induce foreign investors to share their know-how, now the center (mother company) has all incentives to make sure the best technology is used because the offshore location has become an integral part of the center’s production chain. This is an enormous change: rather than begging or incentivizing the rich country’s company to transfer technology, now the owner of that technology is herself keen to transfer to the offshore location as much of it as possible. >The great convergence from which the book takes its title, that is the remarkably fast growth of Asia, can thus be...

23 мая, 17:55

Are Commenters on the Tulipmania Rational?: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Weblogging: Hoisted from the Archives

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**Hoisted from the Archives**: _Are Commenters on the Tulipmania Rational?: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Weblogging_ : Every once in a while someone is impelled to try to claim that one or the other of the more notorious bubbles in history was in fact not a bubble--that the market was in fact functioning efficiently, that asset prices were equal to fundamentals, that traders were behaving rationally given the information they had, and behaving rationally in their decisions to spend resources acquiring information, so that buyers and sellers were making investments that were good and appropriate from a rational _ex ante_ perspective. There is a big problem with this deluded enterprise. Efficient markets are those in which prices move far and fast only when fundamentals change a lot. And fundamentals change a lot only when a lot of information--information that changes rational assessments of fundamentals--arrives in a very short time. With respect to the seventeenth-century rare tulip market, the fundamentals are the patterns made by the tobacco mosaic virus on infected tulips, human aesthetic preferences, and the biology of tulip reproduction. Those are not fundamentals about which much information can arrive quickly. Without any such information arrival, attempts...

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23 мая, 16:31

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**Must-Read**: Actually, Kevin Hassett made the same large error (one of many, many very large errors) in his _Dow 36000_: counting both retained earnings as if they were profits distributed to shareholders and then also counting the extra future growth in dividends that not paying them to shareholders now—retaining and reinvesting these earnings—made possible. This does not come as a surprise to me: **Larry Summers**: _A warning on Trump’s budget_: "You cannot use the growth benefits of tax cuts once to justify an optimistic baseline and then again to claim that the tax cuts do not cost revenue... >...This... is akin to buying a company assuming that you can make investments that will raise profits, but then, in calculating the increased profits, counting the higher revenues while failing to account for the fact that the investments would actually cost some money to make.... The investment has a cost that must be included in the accounting. This is a mistake no serious business person would make. It appears to be the most egregious accounting error in a presidential budget in the nearly 40 years I have been tracking them... Even non-serious people don't make this mistake, Larry. This is a grift...

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23 мая, 16:18

Why You Should Never Use the Hodrick-Prescott Filter

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**Should-Read**: Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that neither Robert Hodrick nor Ed Prescott ever came up with any arguments for why the filter was something you ought to use. Never. Not one: **James D. Hamilton**: _Why You Should Never Use the Hodrick-Prescott Filter_: "Here's why. (1) The HP filter produces series with spurious dynamic relations that have no basis in the underlying data-generating process... >...(2) Filtered values at the end of the sample are very different from those in the middle, and are also characterized by spurious dynamics. (3) A statistical formalization of the problem typically produces values for the smoothing parameter vastly at odds with common practice, e.g., a value for λ far below 1600 for quarterly data. (4) There's a better alternative. A regression of the variable at date t+h on the four most recent values as of date t offers a robust approach to detrending that achieves all the objectives sought by users of the HP filter with none of its drawbacks...

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23 мая, 14:59

Will Anybody's Reputation Survive Working for Trump?

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Steve Mnuchin has said that he is going to balance the budget with Trump's tax cut for the rich with a growth number starting with a "3". Steve Mnuchin has not looked at an honest spreadsheet...

22 мая, 23:22

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**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Jonathan Chait**: _Trump’s Russia Scandal Is Becoming a Corruption Scandal_: "The firing of Comey, Kushner reportedly advocated for it... >...easier to understand if you think of him as a figure sitting near the heart of a financial scandal, who harbors a strong interest in suppressing the investigation. Another thing that has changed over the last week is the centrality of Michael Flynn... [who] turns out to have been both far more corrupt and far closer to Trump than previously understood...

22 мая, 23:05

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**Should-Read**: Yes. The invariable rule is that results George Borjas reports on immigration should be handled with tongs and asbestos mitts. Why do you ask? **Michael Clemens**: _What the Mariel Boatlift of Cuban Refugees Can Teach Us about the Economics of Immigration: An Explainer and a Revelation_: "The Borjas study had a critical flaw that makes the finding spurious... >...That flaw is explained in a new research paper that I co-authored with Jennifer Hunt, who is the James G. Cullen Professor of economics at Rutgers University. In this blogpost, I explain the flaw and why it reinforces earlier findings that the Mariel Boatlift influx of Cuban immigrants did not reduce wages of Miami workers.... The study focuses on a small group within that larger sample, a group where the sample shifted to include a lot more black male workers with relatively low wages—simultaneously with the Boatlift. This has the effect of sharply reducing the average wage of people in the sample, but this had nothing to do with the Cuban influx...