Economist Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics
, has long posited
a controversial thesis that legalized abortion help reduced crime, by reducing unwanted children, prone to crime. However, a new paper argues
that Levitt (& Donohue) made serious errors in their research. Properly analysed, abortion has no significant effect on crime. Levitt disagrees
, of course.
posted by daksya
on Dec 4, 2005 -
The Million Dollar Homepage.
Sure, you could buy gigabytes of online storage for a year with $100, but wouldn't you much rather have 10x10 pixels here? Is it stupid? Yes, but havn't you always wanted to make hundreds of thousands of dolars without doing anything?
posted by delmoi
on Oct 1, 2005 -
The Utopian Nightmare
: "What is utopianism? It is promising more than you can deliver. It is seeing an easy and sudden answer to long-standing, complex problems. It is trying to solve everything at once through an administrative apparatus headed by “world leaders.” It places too much faith in altruistic cooperation and underestimates self-seeking behavior and conflict. It is expecting great things from schemes designed at the top, but doing nothing to solve the bigger problems at the bottom."
Also, be sure to check out the the 16 ideas, values and institutions that may not be with us 35 years from now written by a variety of interesting people and compiled as part of Foreign Policy's 35th anniversary (although not all are free or available without registration).
posted by loquax
on Aug 31, 2005 -
What if we can't afford to save the world?
An interesting debate between Sierra Club’s Carl Pope and the outspoken Bjørn Lomborg. (The “saving the world” bit might seem like hyperbole, but the really interesting question this debate sparks for me is this: Hypothetically, if it really came down to it, would anyone be willing to save the world for free? And if not, what does that imply about our values system and personal priorities? What does it say about the practical utility and limitations of monetary-based economic systems?
posted by all-seeing eye dog
on Jul 28, 2005 -
How Powerful Is Productivity?
TCS interviews Former Carter Staffer (and Democrat) William Lewis, who makes some interesting remarks about worker productivity: There were many disparaging comments made in the US and maybe even stronger abroad, (and especially in Japan) about how the US labor force was getting what it deserved because it was lazy, uneducated and maybe even dumb. And of course, the Japanese then showed -- the really capable, competent Japanese manufacturing companies -- showed that was wrong by coming here, building their own factories, managing American labor and taking a lot of other local inputs and coming within five percent of reproducing their home country productivity.
posted by Kwantsar
on Jun 20, 2005 -
The "ransom" model. "It works like this: They described the basic gist of the game on their web site, and set a ransom of $600 for it. If they received $600 in donations by September 2005, they would finish creating the game -- and then release it on their site, for anyone to download for free. (If they didn't get the full $600 in time, they would donate whatever money they'd received to a homeless shelter.)"
And it worked! Here's some additional links described in the comments: The Street Performer Protocol
posted by gsb
on Jun 7, 2005 -
Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)
posted by raaka
on Jun 5, 2005 -
After an American car company recreates
its legendary 1960's Ferrari-beating race car
, the first $150,000 2005 production car sells at a charity event for $400,000 over sticker price
, (to a Microsoft-enriched individual
, of course) and many months later, dealers are still asking up to $200,000 over sticker
, or at least $150,000 over sticker
. The "experts" at Edmunds say the car is selling for about $100,000 over sticker
(seeing their "True Market Value" requires a few clicks from this page), and the widespread belief is that these admittedly amazing cars
are virtually impossible to find and all selling for at least $100,000 over sticker.
But using publicly available data, including completed eBay auctions and public documents
, this non-commercial site
shows the truth to be very different than the hype.
posted by escorter
on May 13, 2005 -
Remedial economics for the WSJ editorial board
An April 26 Wall Street Journal editorial argued that "the overall tax burden grew more progressive" in the last 25 years because upper income taxpayers pay a larger share of total taxes than they did in 1979. But the Journal failed to explain why upper income taxpayers pay a larger share today: The wealthiest Americans earn a much larger share of total income than they did in 1979.
[see, too: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_04/006194.php]
posted by Postroad
on Apr 27, 2005 -
Economics and Race:
"Twenty-seven-year-old Harvard economist Roland Fryer grew up poor and black, in a family that was falling apart. His mother abandoned him. His father drank heavily and beat him. Fryer sold drugs and carried a gun. Then, at age 15, after he got pulled over by the police and then let go, he decided he wanted something different."
posted by yoga
on Apr 1, 2005 -
"Eventually it could help economists design incentives that gently guide people toward making decisions that are in their long-term best interests
in everything from labor negotiations to diets to 401(k) plans." Note the ambiguous use of the pronoun "their"--are we talking about the long-term interests of people in general or of economists?
posted by all-seeing eye dog
on Mar 22, 2005 -
that you could get the crap kicked out of you for posting kottke.org to MeFi. Three and a quarter years later, what's changed? Jason's decided to make a living off this blog ... but without running advertising. Good luck, says I.
posted by sylloge
on Feb 22, 2005 -
With all the talk about the emergence of Europe as an economic rival to the US, is there a more likely rival
emerging? A real strategic partnership between Russia
could be exactly the combination of nuclear power, boots on the ground, and economic momentum to truly create a new bipolarity. Apparently, there has been serious collaboration in military philosophy
between the two powers at least since the USSR broke up, and flash gamers
have known about it for at least a couple years, but now it is becoming very real
. Conventional wisdom says that there are longstanding disputes over trade and territory, but things generally seem to be warming up
. You want to know what the world will look like in 20 years? Look to Siberia.
posted by milkman
on Jan 20, 2005 -
(both pdf) The burgeoning field of happiness studies is unearthing all sorts of interesting findings, many of them summarized in these two articles by University of British Columbia economist & "Professor of Happiness" John Helliwell. Rich countries are not happier than poor countries; people tend to revert to the mean after a happy event; money has only a modest effect on happiness; and, hey, good news! you get happier as you get older.
posted by mono blanco
on Jan 10, 2005 -
How much money do first-time novelists make?
Author and upcoming first-time novelist Justine Larbalestier
is constantly asked by aspiring writers what first-time novelists should expect in advance payment for their beloved texts. So she asked some of her author friends what they got for their first novels. The responses ranged in time from 1962 to 2004. What didn't change in all that time was the basic amount: Not much. Quoth Larbalestier: "The life of a novelist is, financially speaking, a mug's game. Enter at your own peril."
posted by jscalzi
on Dec 24, 2004 -