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Frances Woolley
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RPLong "do the dishes like a man" - love it! There is some truth in this, too - the kind of Gordon Ramsey/Mark Bittman masculine approach to cuisine. Chris - thanks for your comments. Yes, endogeneity, absolutely. Also spurious correlation. In this data set, women reported higher sexual frequencies on average than men did. They also reported lower male shares for core household chores. This difference in reporting alone explains some of the sexual freuqency/household chores correlation. Sandwichman, just the idea of marital sex is traumatic enough for gentle readers. My students are always stunned/horrified by the above picture when I show it to them (to which my response is "why do you think people get married anyways?!?") Let's not go there! (or, at least, not here.)
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"The simple things you see are all complicated?"
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Nick, sorry if that sounded a bit snippy - you know that one of the reasons I agreed to be Associate Dean was that I just couldn't take students' messed up indifference curve/budget constraint diagrams any more, don't you? With you on compensating and equivalent variation - CV and EV are one of the few things in intermediate micro I have to have a cheat sheet for - I simply cannot remember which is which. The only thing that makes this different from a standard CV or EV calculation is that both curves are non-linear. So in a taxation world I would be able to have a concrete interpretation of the deadweight loss "this is the amount of extra revenue that could be raised by a lump sum tax that gave the consumer the *same* amount of well-being as the existing, distortionary tax". We want something like "this is the extra consumption that would be available to consumers - holding work effort constant - if we were able to move to this better equilibrium". But obviously it makes a difference at which point you hold work effort constant, because of the non-linearity of everything.
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Nick - a micro person wouldn't put something that looked like a supply-demand tax wedge on an indifference curve-production function diagram because they would know that people would calculate the size of the wedge and use it as a measure of dead weight loss and that would be wrong! Also with a wedge it's harder to see that these are two lines that are tangent to the indifference curve and production function respectively, and to shift the lines around. The way I'd show the loss associated with less-than-full employment is similar to way that you've done it in the second diagram, and very much like the standard way of showing income and substitution effects. Can you show, on your first diagram, a full-employment equilibrium? Can you measure the difference in well-being between the actual and the full-employment equilibrium as a horizontal or vertical distance - i.e. the amount of consumption or the amount of leisure that would be equivalent to moving to the full-employment equilibrium? It's tricky because it's not simply the distance between the two indifference curves; it's the distance between two particular points.
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Nick, have not read the post or done anything more than glance at the diagrams. But, Nick, it looks as if you've got a shaded area in a consumption/leisure picture. I've spent years yelling at students for shading in areas on budget constraint/indifference curve diagrams. The area is defined as 1/2*some consumption*some leisure. But multiplying consumption and leisure makes no sense (well, I guess it could, if one had an appropriately defined utility function, but...). That wedge isn't really a wedge in the way that economists often draw wedges, it's basically being created by two lines, one showing the slope of the indifference curve (consumer price ratio) and one showing the slope of the production function (producer price ratio), and there's a wedge there because the consumer price ratio isn't the same as the producer price ratio. So - like the picture, except for the hints of shading in the wedge. How, by the way, would this be different from an analysis of a tax on leisure or a tax on consumption?
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"spoken like an ex-associate dean, who has worked for four deans." Yup. Course the punishment for working hard, being loyal and yet still speaking truth to power is getting asked to serve on committees ;-)
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Stpehen: "The data are taken from tax files" Canadian citizens can declare residence of, say, Barbados for tax purposes, and still retain their Canadian citizenship. If you're not resident in Canada for tax purposes, you don't have to pay any Canadian ta at all. A lot of New Brunswick's Irving family, for example, are/were resident in Barbados, as is the guy who owns the Senators. That capital income doesn't appear in the tax statistics at all. That's not possible in the US - Mitt Romney would have to give up his US citizenship in order to *entirely* avoid US taxes on his capital income. Interesting post, b.t.w.
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Nick, Ralph Musgrave is stuck in spam.
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westslope - I hope that the post was clear: donor-built bridges can help, but are not enough. Borders are political creations - they're one of the key manifestations of the power and operation of the state. If the state is failing, border crossings are unlikely to work well - no matter how much donor cash is thrown at them. I think people have a better understanding of this now than they once did. B.t.w., it's not western aid these days. China is playing an increasingly important role in African econ development - something that's definitely worth studying. Chinese organizations are among those financing the Kazungula Bridge. Bob, thanks for the link. Yup - "the true ghastliness of third-world infrastructure". Though attempts to improve the infrastructure are often remarkably useless. E.g. the main road in Livingstone was just paved two or three years ago. Unfortunately the contractors - either to cut corners, or out of ignorance - used a form of tarmac that couldn't cope with heat. Consequently this nearly-new road has deep ruts in it already, and is in need of repair.
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Shangwen: "We underestimate our ability to to adjust expectations and find incidental enjoyments in life even as our situation changes." This is really important - but as we've discussed before, the big issue is dementia. There it's not clear that the ability to adjust expectations argument holds. Though it's not clear it doesn't, either. Peter Singer, another interesting moral philosopher who's a strong advocate of assisted dying, didn't help his mother along when she had Alzheimer's, on the grounds that her quality of life was actually o.k. Jacob - pensions are a big issue too.
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Stephen, will do. Via facebook I've just had another suggestion: William Thomson's book A Guide for the Young Economist: http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/guide-young-economist Apparently it has a chapter on how to write a paper.
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Chris J - Lovely, inspiring, motivating, spot on true, but not the best ever.
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Giovanni "there's tons of applied stuff done outside the universities that bears directly on critical Canadian policy issues" "How come Canadian academic economists don't conduct research on Canadian policy issues?" "We do. It's called consulting." B.t.w. on Canadian tax policy, take a look at the Canadian Tax Journal - Kevin Milligan is editing it now, and seems to be working hard on getting some interesting policy debates going there. Also the very excellent book on called something like Tax Policy in Canada put out by the Canadian Tax Foundation.
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genauer - sorry, only Nick or Stephen can rescue you. The comments are there, Nick will probably read this soon.
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Shangwen Thanks for the kind words on the post. "the effect of education on ranking does not necessarily imply that education disproportionately determines HDI; it's just the most weakly measured and hence volatile dimension" There are a couple of issues. One is the variance of the education ranking, that is, how spread out the countries are. The other is the volatility, that is, the amount that it changes over time. Hhe differences in the health index values in the very high human development countries are mostly are in the 0.02 to 0.04 range. The differences in the education index scores are more like 0.04 to 0.08. The fact that the education scores are more spread out means that it's hard to compensate for a low education score with a high life expectancy score. If the measure used was log of years of education all of the countries would be clustered up together, and education would make almost no difference to a country's HDI ranking. The volatility of the education numbers could be an artifact of measurement, but it could also be that the state of knowledge can be changed more easily than the state of health. If for some reason it was decided that every Canadian needed how to use a yo-yo, there could be publicly mandated yo-yo training, and Canadian yo-yo knowledge would rapidly increase. It's much harder to budge life expectancy numbers. Of course one could argue that knowledge is different from education, and like health is not easily changed. In this case, yes, the volatility does reflect measurement error.
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John B "I feel there can be some correlation between immigration and HDI." What would be the mechanism through which immigration might affect HDI? I can see that immigrants might raise or lower the average education level of the population, or cause per capita GNI to rise (if they're hard working and enterprising) or fall (more people means less income per person), or cause average life expectancy to rise (Japanese immigrants) or fall (some group with lower life expectancies). But I can't any reason to think that Canada's falling relative HDI score is due to immigration. It might be, but it might also be the case that Canada's HDI score would be even lower without an influx of immigrants. It's just really hard to know.
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Dave, what Nick said. The raw numbers for the 1990s aren't readily available on-line, so you're stuck with these graphs. Free pizza and all that. The more annoying thing about them is that the colour scheme is determined by the order in which the countries are chosen, and I could never manage to to choose the countries in the same order every time. Randy, this is an excellent question, and I really don't know the answer. A few observations. (a) In Quebec, secondary school ends in grade 11, at which point students move into a CEGEP. Especially in recent years, the proportion of students going onto CEGEP seems to be falling - there was some statscan data on this recently (b) In Ontario, secondary school used to end at grade 13, and now ends in grade 12 - the HDR #s are average years of schooling, which isn't exactly the same as % of people with post secondary degrees. (c) the average is the average of people who go to university and people who don't. I suspect what's dragging Canada down is the low educational attainment of the people who don't go to university - people up North and in rural areas of Canada, and especially our Aboriginal population, who drop out of school at a young age. (d) A lot of the people with university degrees are immigrants. Presumably the calculations about the projected educational attainment of young Canadians are based on the educational attainment of people who grew up in Canada, not people who came here as adults. But all of this is speculation. I'd have to dig deeper into the data to find out. Nick, doesn't Japan's university sector run on the old British model i.e. brutally hard to get into because there are so few places, but once you're there, fees are low, and you have three or four years to relax and recover from all of the efforts you put into getting there in the first place?
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Patrick, "there were never any female underlings..." I wondered if someone was going to call me on my lack of knowledge of how tech companies (or companies like Yahoo) actually work! Here's a scenario from my world. Fourth year student wants advice on grad school from a former professor. Comes to the department looking to see if any of his or her current or former professors (or any potential future grad school profs) are around. No one is, because everyone works at home. So instead of asking one of the male professors (econ departments in Canada are still around 70% male in terms of full-time tenure or tenure-track faculty) the student goes and asks the female undergrad or grad administrator. In this example, telecommuting increases professors' measured productivity, because productivity is measured in academic papers not student advising. But although the undergrad and grad administrators are excellent at advising students on our university's programs, calendar rules and regulations, etc., there are certain questions they can't answer. They don't have much knowledge of other programs, much knowledge of econ, and don't know how the reputation of various departments across the country compare. There must be a situation comparable to that the Yahoo world?
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Nick, will reply later.
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Thanks for all of the feedback, will reply in a few hours.
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Rescued.
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Frances Woolley is now following Stephen Gordon
Feb 3, 2013
Colin - no, there are important differences. In a situation where the employer is able to exploit monopsony power and lower wages to below-competitive-market levels, a union can provide a valuable counterweight. Unions also press for health and safety measures for their workers - given everything that we know from behavioural economics about people's tendency to think in the very short-term, unions which say "we're going to press for protection for workers from...". Also Apartheid was really truly nasty. What I didn't realize before coming here was the extent to which maintance of apartheid required strict controls on markets. For example, the government in the 1960s prevented private bus companies from servicing the black townships because it would have made it harder to maintain racial segregation (and cut in to the large profits generated by the government-owned railways).
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RebelEconomist "price it so that those who are most willing to put up with it do it." Two words: Adverse selection. Josh - or mechanism for transfering household resources from sofa-sitters to sofa-cleaners? Following on with marris's point about thinking about this in micro terms - wouldn't money eating sofas tend to decrease labour supply? This would be a consequence of expected inflation, too, but the impact is (too me) more obvious with sofas.
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Shangwen, fascinating. I notice that the article you reference talks about 0.5 mg doses of melatonin as compared to 3 mg doses. The OTC bottle I have by my bed is 5.0 mg, which is consistent with the idea that people overdose on natural medications. Or that people have no idea how much to use, and figure that more mg = better value + more effectiveness, so manufacturers up the dosage to increase sales. A friend is an anesthesiologist. She has been known to refer to the amount of the active ingredient in OTC formulations such as children's tylenol as "homeopathic". I've become much less cautious about popping tylenol (I was probably one of those underusing parents) as a result of her advice. I agree absolutely with your observation that it doesn't have to be all-or-nothing.
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