Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Papers #3

Sundays are for lazing about, imbibing tea (or coffee - if you're a heretic), and reading the entire internet. If that's too much internet for you, here are some select links...

  • Greg Mankiw started the equivalent of an internet hissy fit (I refuse to use the term blogocane) with this NY Times editorial piece about taxes and incentives. Good follow up on the piece comes from Mankiw himself on his blog, the always stellar folks at Marginal Revolution, and Andrew Gelman (in two posts). Matthew Yglesias's thoughts on the matter are also fairly well formed... I don't have much to add other than to say that as someone who is not an economics PhD, it is incredibly difficult to parse fact from fiction when it comes to discussions about the incentive effect. Overall, I see a lot of anecdotes and theorycrafting on both sides, and very little in the way of empirical studies.
  •  The effect of the minimum wage on employment used to be a big area for theorycraft as well, which is why it was nice to see an empirical study...
  • Also, while we're in the process of crushing anecdotal evidence, Aaron Carroll has two excellent posts(here and here) on Canadian vs American healthcare.
  • NYC is doing stuff to improve the schools and it seems to be working. What's cool about this study is that the researchers found a case that doesn't involve selection bias. I can't tell you how many times I've read or heard that "private school/charter school produces better students!" So often the people making that claim complete ignoring the extent to which this is just the effect of selection bias.
  • People are using the internet to do cool statistical studies! Yay! We're going to see more of this in the future and it's a great thing. Google is constructing a CPI and OKCupid (a dating site) makes some interesting observations about gay vs straight sex demographics.
  • Police brutality in Belgium. Pretty appalling. Hopefully heads will roll for this...
  • And wow, this edition of Sunday Papers has been *ahem* very serious so far. Let's change that. Remember those Russian spies? Remember that one of them enjoyed posting sultry (such a good word...) photos of herself online? Well, she's been hired (as a spokesperson?) by a Russian bank. Hurray for capitalism!
  • One of my favorite Philip Dick novels is being made into a BBC miniseries. Double hurray for capitalism!
  • I have no idea whether you really learn much about a person from what's inside their refigerator, but these pictures of 18 unique individual's fridges are still very cool.
  • I, for one, welcome our future (shogi playing) robotic overlords. Frankly, I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner...

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