Intergenerational mobility with race and measurement error

A large body of evidence finds that relative mobility in the US has declined over the past 150 years. However, long-run mobility estimates are usually based on white samples and therefore do not account for the limited opportunities available for non-white families. Moreover, historical data measure the father’s status with error, which biases estimates toward […]

More on Ireland during World War II

A few more points: 1. Since both Germany and Britain maintained embassies in Dublin, Ireland became renowned during the war as “one of the whispering-galleries of Europe and a natural centre of for intrigue and spying of every kind.” 2. Fuel was so scarce that private motoring virtually ceased by 1943, and even public transport […]

From the comments, on boosters and Covid policy

My first reaction upon hearing that boosters were rejected was to ask the same thing: would these same “experts” say that, because the vaccines are still effective without boosters, vaccinated persons don’t need to wear masks and can resume normal life? Of course not. They use the criterion “prevents hospitalization” for evaluating boosters (2a) but […]

Learning to live with Woke

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, or maybe try this link, note it is 3x the usual length and not easily excerpted.  Nonetheless here is one bit: Note that it is not necessary to approve of all U.S. cultural exports to view the spread of wokeism as a net positive for the […]

More on US vs. UK television shows

From Alex Griffiths: In a recent article you wrote about the historic difference between British and American panel shows and I wanted to share my theory. I think that there are two factors at play in the difference between British and American panel shows. 1. Market size, 2. Culture. 3. What is funny in US […]

U.S.A. fact of the day solve for the equilibrium

Utah’s population grew faster than that of any other state between 2010 and 2020. Salt Lake City has the lowest jobless rate among all big cities, at 2.8%, compared with a national rate of 5.2%. That the state has rebounded so well from the downturn caused by the covid-19 pandemic is thanks to the Wasatch […]

Emergent Ventures India, new winners, third Indian cohort

Angad Daryani / Praan Angad Daryani is 22-year-old social entrepreneur and inventor from Mumbai, and his goal is to find solutions for clean air at a low cost, accessible to all. He received his EV grant to build ultra-low cost, filter-less outdoor air purification systems for deployment in open areas through his startup Praan. Angad’s […]

Our world will stay weird

Aurea Smigrodzki was born in the USA last summer. She is the latest baby at the forefront of science. She is the first baby in history to be conceived with the help of polygenic testing. The test is fully named “preimplantation genetic testing for polygenic disorders”, or PGT-P for short. Here is further information, the […]

Maybe the last sentence here is wrong?

“Barbarism” is perhaps best understood as a recurring syndrome among peripheral societies in response to the threats and opportunities presented by more developed neighbors. This article develops a mathematical model of barbarigenesis—the formation of “barbarian” societies adjacent to more complex societies—and its consequences, and applies the model to the case of Europe in the first millennium […]

Ireland during World War II

The Republic of Ireland of course was neutral.  I had not known these facts: 1. Irish were allowed to emigrate to Britain to work, but with assurances they would not be conscripted. 2. Ireland engaged in heavy censorship during the War, mostly to stop people from getting the impression that the War was a moral […]

My podcast with Auren Hoffman

A bit on time management, a bit on talent, a bit on organizational capital, and indeed a bit on almost everything! Auren is a very good interviewer, here is the link, 43 minutes.

What should I ask David Rubinstein?

I will be doing a Conversation with him.  From Wikipedia: David Mark Rubenstein (born August 11, 1949) is an American billionaire businessman. A former government official and lawyer, he is a co-founder and co-executive chairman of the private equity firm The Carlyle Group,[ a global private equity investment company based in Washington, D.C. He is […]

What I’ve been reading on Ireland

1. Susan McKay, Northern Protestants on Shifting Ground, and also Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People.  These two books straddle a journalistic and anthropological approach to what the titles indicate.  As one Protestant in the text remarked, Irish reunification would work just fine, it is the ten years getting there that everyone is afraid of.  It […]

Covid markets in everything

A pastor is encouraging people to donate to his Tulsa church so they can become an online member and get his signature on a religious exemption from coronavirus vaccine mandates. The pastor, Jackson Lahmeyer, is a 29-year-old small-business owner running in the Republican primary challenge to Sen. James Lankford in 2022. Lahmeyer, who leads Sheridan […]

My January 2020 Bloomberg column on Covid

I thought this one worthy of a redux, here are a few segments: First, most emergency rooms are not equipped to handle a very high volume of cases, especially infectious diseases…The general economic problem is that emergency rooms typically are not equipped with full surge capacity, nor are there enough emergency room add-ons or substitutes […]

Covid and intertemporal substitution

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one bit: Before the vaccines came along, it made great sense to enforce masking norms. If infections could be shifted into the future, an eventually vaccinated citizenry would be much better protected. There is a less obvious corollary: Those same mask norms make less […]

Understanding the onset of hot streaks in careers

By Lu Liu, et.al., in Nature: Across a range of creative domains, individual careers are characterized by hot streaks, which are bursts of high-impact works clustered together in close succession. Yet it remains unclear if there are any regularities underlying the beginning of hot streaks. Here, we analyze career histories of artists, film directors, and […]

Derry notes, Northern Ireland’s second largest city

People in Derry are still talking about the 1680s…it is bad to be a “Lundy,” namely a traitor to your cause but the bar here has become a high one.  You are either with them or against them. The 17th century city wall seems fully intact, the buildings are splendid, and the green, wet, and […]

Why I am reluctant to endorse preschool

A few of you asked for follow-ups, given my discussion with Ezra Klein.  Here is one paper that makes me skeptical: Exploiting admission thresholds in a Regression Discontinuity Design, we study the causal effects of daycare at age 0–2 on cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes at age 8–14. One additional month in daycare reduces IQ by […]

Immigration to the U.S. is correlated with quite high life expectancy

We find that immigration increases US life expectancy by 1.5 years for men and 1.4 years for women. Over half of these contributions occur at the prime working ages of 25–64. The difference between foreign-born and US-born mortality has grown substantially since 1990, with the ratio of US-born to foreign-born mortality rates nearly doubling by […]

Yet another underreported medical scandal — the overmedicated elderly

“Add Dx of schizophrenia for use of Haldol,” read the doctor’s order, using the medical shorthand for “diagnosis.” But there was no evidence that Mr. Blakeney actually had schizophrenia. Antipsychotic drugs — which for decades have faced criticism as “chemical straitjackets” — are dangerous for older people with dementia, nearly doubling their chance of death from heart problems, […]

Why are American talk shows so much worse than British ones?

Sam Enright emails me: My girlfriend is American, and she’s been struck by how the UK panel shows – QI, Would I Lie to You, 8 Out of 10 Cats – are so much better than the American ones, and play to the lowest common denominator less. There don’t seem to be a lot of panel shows […]

*Beautiful World, Where Are You?* — the new Sally Rooney novel

It is really good, and more subtle than one might have expected.  Imagine Ireland’s #1 left-wing writer imbibing the brew of Ross Douthat over the last few years and putting it all into fictional form, and convincingly at that.  I don’t just mean the Mass scene and the pornography discussion, it is the consistent theme […]

My appearance on the Ezra Klein Show

Talking with Ezra is always both fun and enlightening for me, here is his partial summary of the episode: So we begin this conversation by discussing the case for and against economic growth, but we also get into lots of other things: why Cowen thinks the great stagnation in technology is coming to an end; […]

Secret Danish markets in everything

Denmark has paid the UK an undisclosed sum to accept 23 Afghan refugees who worked as interpreters for the Danish state for eight years. According to a report by Swedish broadsheet Svenska Dagbladet, the interpreters were granted a residence permit in the UK after twelve of them had their visa applications to Denmark rejected and eleven wanted to […]

A new hurdle for vaccine development

Unless countries that have purchased vaccine doses and companies that have already brought vaccines into use agree to find ways to resolve the problem, manufacturers that trail the first wave of producers may not be able to prove that their vaccines work. Not only will that slow efforts to vaccinate the planet, it will block […]

The “multiplier,” circa 2021

A recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey found that 88 percent of commercial construction contractors reported moderate-to-high levels of difficulty finding skilled workers, and more than a third had to turn down work because of labor deficiencies. The industry could face a shortage of at least two million workers through 2025, according to an estimate from Construction […]

Emergent Ventures winners, sixteenth cohort

Phoebe Yao, founder and CEO of Pareto, “a human API delivering the business functions startups desperately need.”  She was born in China, formerly of Stanford, and a former classical violist.  (By my mistake I left her off of a previous cohort list, apologies!) BeyondAging, a new group to support longevity research. Sam Enright, for writing, […]

Mexico won’t pay for this one

Analysts said that the fact that Pakistan had nearly completed construction of a metal fence running along its once unregulated 2,600km border with Afghanistan reflected tensions in Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban. Here is more from the FT, about growing tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

My Conversation with Ed Glaeser

I did David Cutler and Ed sequentially, based on their new co-authored book, here is the joint episode but there is also a separate link concerning Cutler.  Here is one excerpt from the general summary: They joined Tyler for a special joint episode to discuss why healthcare outcomes are so correlated with education, whether the […]

My Conversation with David Cutler

I did Cutler and Ed Glaeser sequentially, based on their new co-authored book, here is the joint episode but I will create another link concerning Glazer.  Here is one excerpt from the general summary: They joined Tyler for a special joint episode to discuss why healthcare outcomes are so correlated with education, whether the health […]

Britney freed?

Britney Spears’s father, James P. Spears, who agreed earlier this summer to eventually step down from his own role in the conservatorship that has overseen her finances and controlled much of her life since 2008, filed a petition on Tuesday asking the court to “now seriously consider whether this conservatorship is no longer required.” The […]

U.S.A. facts of the day

At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and […]

Why the defenses of Australia do not persuade me

Alex laid out some complaints about Covid policy down under, I have been receiving emails and tweets arguing the following: 1. Australia is choosing a perfectly acceptable point on the liberty vs. safety frontier. 2. The Australian decision to do extreme lockdowns is democratic, and most Australians support it. And sometimes I see a third […]

Are machine guns on the side of the civilized?

From Priya Satia’s recent and interesting Time’s Monster: History, Conscience and Britain’s Empire: Evolutionary history likewise advised tolerance in the face of the mass death enabled by the new machine guns, which ended the long technological parity between Europeans and others, making it possible for Europeans to conquer Africa at least.  Robert Routledge’s popular 1876 […]

The robot culture that is Singapore

The robot scans its surroundings also for offenses like Illegal hawking, improperly parked bicycles, assembly of more than five people in line with prevailing Covid-19 safety management measures and e-scooters and motorcycles driving on footpaths. In case a suspicion arises, the robot takes video footage and sends it to a command and control center which […]

Gaming is coming to get us

That is the theme of my latest Bloomberg column, the first part concerns culture, but here is the section on government regulation: The self-contained nature of games also means they will be breaking down government regulation. Plenty of trading already takes place in games — involving currencies, markets, prices and contracts. Game creators and players set and […]

Is there a value of application thoroughness?

Ultimately, hiring outsiders is always going to be fraught. But I think Katsenelson was on to something with a ploy he used a few years ago to recruit an analyst. Determined to find someone who really cared about investment research, not just money, he devised a tediously time-consuming job advert. It asked candidates to list […]

“Conspicuous corruption”

People can exhibit their status by the consumption of particular goods or experiential purchases; this is known as “conspicuous consumption”; the practice is widespread and explains the market characteristics of a whole class of goods, Veblen goods, demand for which increase in tandem with their price. The value of such positional goods lies in their […]

Those new service sector jobs China markets in everything

At 40 years old, Zheng says she’s tired of searching for the perfect man. So she’s decided to hire one instead. Whenever she feels like some male company, the divorcée heads to a café in central Shanghai named The Promised Land. There, she spends hours being pampered by a handsome young server, who fetches her […]

Two brutal tests — can you pass them?

We all give people “tests” when we meet them, whether we are consciously aware of it or not.  Here are two of mine: 1. The chess test.  When I played chess in my youth, I would commonly analyze games with other players.  You would then rapidly learn just how much and how quickly the other […]

Our anti-science science advisors, yet again

Top federal health officials have told the White House to scale back a plan to offer coronavirus booster shots to the general public later this month, saying that regulators need more time to collect and review all the necessary data, according to people familiar with the discussion. Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the […]

USA fact of the day retail theft and resale is rising

The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, a trade association, which Mr. Dugan heads, estimates that organized retail theft accounts for around $45 billion in annual losses for retailers these days, up from $30 billion a decade ago. At CVS, reported thefts have ballooned 30% since the pandemic began… “The digital world has become a […]

China campaign of the day

The Chinese government has ordered a boycott of “sissy pants” celebrities as it escalates a fight against what it sees as a cultural import that threatens China’s national strength. In a directive issued on Thursday, China’s TV watchdog said entertainment programs should firmly reject the “deformed aesthetics” of niangpao, a derogatory term that refers to […]

Ezra Klein making the case for Gavin Newsom

“If Gavin were recalled, that’d be disastrous for housing policy in this state,” Brian Hanlon, the president of California YIMBY, a pro-housing group, told me. “The Legislature, I believe, could override Larry Elder’s vetoes on key bills. But all of these hard-fought housing bills that we are not passing with a supermajority cannot survive an […]

My dialogue with Lipton Matthews

I appeared on his podcast, and we discussed trust, Jamaica and Trinidad, what you can learn from visiting funerals for five years, what I want for my non-funeral and why, social media and outreach, neurodiversity and autism, the importance of Kant and Hegel, and more. Here is Lipton’s broader podcast series, many good guests.  Here […]

A simple illustration of the benefits of feminization

Fox’s Tucker Carlson, the most important nationalist voice in America, seemed to sympathize with the gender politics of Taliban-supporting Afghans. “They don’t hate their own masculinity,” he said shortly after the fall of Kabul. “They don’t think it’s toxic. They like the patriarchy. Some of their women like it too. So now they’re getting it […]