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Noel Maurer
Interests: My current research asks whether foreign governments or international institutions can improve economic governance. Is it possible to alter a country’s property rights system from the outside? This research has two prongs. The first is a historical work, tentatively entitled Imperial Experiments: Intervention, Economic Growth, and Property Rights, which tests various hypotheses about the success and failure of American attempts to improve economic governance outside the United States and protect the property rights of U.S. investors before World War II. The second is a series of contemporary case studies about attempts to alter nations’ internal economic governance from the outside: bilateral investment treaties, investor protection clauses in trade agreements, conditional loans, the “mortgaging” of export revenues, vulture funds, and military intervention. I also watch a lot of baseball, enjoy very bad music, and do a lot of travelling. The travel tends to be either in total luxury, or to places where I need to wear body armor and live in constant fear of, well, death.
Recent Activity
First, this is the weirdest thing that I have ever read. It’s a science fiction novel from 1889. It’s badly-written. (I mean, it’s badly-written for 1889. For comparison, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court was published around the same... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at The Power and the Money
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Yesterday, there was a speech. Seven quotes: “Many citizens in advanced economies are facing heightened uncertainty, lamenting a loss of control and losing trust in the system. To them, measures of aggregate progress bear little relation to their own experience.”... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Power and the Money
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First, neo-Nazis organized by the internet booked a bunch of tables at an Italian restaurant around the corner from my house. They gave each other Hitler salutes, including, bizarrely, Tila Tequila. This upset the neighborhood, as you might imagine. Then,... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Power and the Money
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I seem to lack Twitter-fu, because my questions to people on that platform go unanswered. And so, I pose the question here. Matt Kahn now claims that freeing up California housing markets would have caused Texas population to fall by... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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A few months ago, I complained about an article that asked what effect independence had on Ireland without addressing how the country would have done under continued Home Rule. Doug Muir stepped up to the plate with a simple counterfactual:... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Added clarification: This post argues that freeing up Californian housing markets after 1970 would not have caused the California population to grow enough to swing the 2016 election. This idea comes from Matthew Kahn at USC. In 2010, he published... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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See, science! OK, the study suffered from some flaws, not least that anyone who signed up already had quitting on their mental radar screen. It would have been better to get a group for an experiment, then spring it on... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Sometime it seems that every single election of my lifetime had been more important than the one before. But is that really true? What follows is a first take at that question: I hope it provokes a long and contentious... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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One thing to consider is that the U.S. election results just make it a lot more likely that Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) will be elected the 21st president of the United Mexican States under its current constitution. AMLO is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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We all know how Pennsylvania voted. But my wife and I, with our children, did not work to get out the vote across the entire state. We worked to get out the vote in one little suburban township bordering the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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I do not think that the coming years will be as bad as this link implies. But Hans-Joachim Voth is a sober economic historian. He does not rant. I am not even sure that he is a liberal, by the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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The title of this short post was designed for Twitter. Like many, I have been thinking a lot over the past five days. Unlike many, I have not been saying much. And now I realize why. Basically, 2016 appears to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Okay, “Calexit” is strange phrasing by itself. But that’s not what I’m talking about. The New York Times ran a story on a fringy California secession movement given newfound momentum by the election result. California secession, whatever, terrible stupid immoral... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Including our own. Good night and God save the United States. Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Back in 2004, I helped run a campaign office in southern Broward County. In 2008, I canvassed. (Well, in the primaries, at least.) In 2012, I limited myself to donating money. I suspect that the trend was not a coincidence/... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Happy Election Day? I wish. Anyway, D.C. has early voting. I voted with my son in tow on Halloween; my wife took my daughter to the polls a few days later. We voted for President, for city council members, and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at The Power and the Money
Back in 2011 (it feels like ten years ago, not five) my co-blogger, Doug Muir, published a list of old-fashioned personalized dictatorships. To be clear, these were not merely authoritarian governments: rather, they were non-monarchies where power was centralized in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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There is a growing but completely inconclusive literature about young children and screens. I have nothing to add to that debate. What I can say is that I honestly do not understand when people write things like this: “For those... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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I am not sure why the New Yorker thought it germane to satirize Vanilla Ice as a business consultant. Is he making some sort of comeback of which I am unaware? Still, the satire is funny. But as my friend... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2016 at The Power and the Money
Why? I don't know. I don't quite feel the dread of last time, but I'm not happy. 10:39: I am in shock that the Republican nominee refused to accept the results of the election. 10:36: Why 10:31: My wife: "Replace... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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My reaction to most new technological developments at the level of personal tech usually falls into one of two categories. (1) “Who gives a fuck?” Fitbit, any new phones since 2007, Google Glass. (2) “This is going to make life... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2016 at The Power and the Money
The Correa administration admitted to cutting Wikileaks’ internet access over the recent releases of strategically-timed hacks from Podesta’s account. Good for them! They claim that the decision is a high-minded refusal to intervene in the internal affairs of another state,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2016 at The Power and the Money
I have to admit that I do not understand the conventional wisdom that pins Brazil’s current recession on Dilma’s fiscal policies. I kind of understand that profligacy made the situation worse, by forcing the central bank to raise interest rates... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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Maybe. Last time I added some value (on VAT, or infrastructure costs) but this time I am just settling to watch something I don't want to watch. 10:33: Trump did not crash and burn. 10:29: No direct questions about climate... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2016 at The Power and the Money
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This post, unlike the previous one, is a backgrounder. Plebiscites in Colombia are governed by Title IV, Chapter 1 of the Constitution, aka Articles 103-106. Essentially, it allows the President to call a referendum with the approval of the Senate.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2016 at The Power and the Money