Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Art of Statistical Scamming in Experiments

John Bohannon writes, Here’s a dirty little science secret: If you measure a large number of things about a small number of people, you are almost guaranteed to get a “statistically significant” result. Our study included 18 different measurements—weight, cholesterol, … Continue reading

Posted in statistical methods | 2 Comments

John Cochrane vs. Financial Intermediation

He writes, just why is it so vital to save a financial system soaked in run-prone overnight debt? Even if borrowers might have to pay 50 basis points more (which I doubt), is that worth a continual series of crises, … Continue reading

Posted in Financial Crises, financial markets | 4 Comments

The New Matchmaking

A reader suggests, probably correctly, that this story belongs under Four Forces Watch. The company has come up with a secret algorithm that invites select users to access the app based primarily on LinkedIn résumés and friend networks. Ambition, Bradford … Continue reading

Posted in business economics, Four Forces Watch | 4 Comments

Government Debt, Off Balance Sheet

John Cochrane writes, Guaranteeing more than half of financial sector liabilities is impressive. But most of us don’t know how large financial sector liabilities are. GDP is about $17 Trillion. $43 Trillion is a lot. This is only financial system … Continue reading

Posted in government debt crisis | 12 Comments

Paul Romer Issues a Clarification

He writes, I wrote that the economists I criticize for using mathiness are engaged in a campaign of ACADEMIC politics, not one of national politics. Whatever was true in the past, the now fight is over ACADEMIC group identity. Pointer … Continue reading

Posted in Economic education and methods, Mark Thoma is Indispensable | Tagged , | 6 Comments

The Hopeless Argument over Productivity Stagnation

Scott Sumner writes, Do I believe these numbers? Not really, as I don’t believe the government’s price level numbers. Lots of this “growth” occurred in the 1990s and is just Moore’s Law in computers, not the US actually producing more … Continue reading

Posted in Growth Causes and Consequences, Scott Sumner is Coherent | 12 Comments

The EITC in Practice

Timothy Taylor writes, The EITC adds a lot of complexity to the tax forms of the working poor, who are often not well-positioned to cope with that complexity, nor to hire someone else to cope with it. About 20% of … Continue reading

Posted in Setting Economic Priorities, Timothy Taylor is my Favorite Blogger | 5 Comments

Social Science, Dogma, and Steven Pinker

Why am I re-reading The Blank Slate? First, because on first reading I marked it as one of the all-time great non-fiction books. Second, because I am thinking about possible parallels between the psychology of B.F. Skinner and the economics … Continue reading

Posted in books and book reviews, Specialization and Trade Economics Intro | 11 Comments

Steven Pinker on Money as a Consensual Hallucination

He writes, Life in complex societies is built on social realities, the most obvious examples being money and the rule of law. But a social fact depends entirely on the willingness of people to treat it as a fact. It … Continue reading

Posted in books and book reviews, government debt crisis, Monetary Economics | 3 Comments

Michael Tanner on a Guaranteed National Income

He writes, As strong as the argument in favor of a guaranteed income may be, there are simply too many unanswered questions to rush forward with any such plan. Opponents of the welfare state have long criticized its supporters for … Continue reading

Posted in Setting Economic Priorities | 9 Comments