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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
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Four days ago, I worried that the smaller force of the recent quake meant that we could not be sure that better building standards were the reason fewer buildings collapsed. There was some pushback in comments, noting that the epicenter... Continue reading
Posted 24 minutes ago at The Power and the Money
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Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico. The worst part is the power system: as of right now, all generation assets are offline. All of them. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) says it is going to resume normal functioning... Continue reading
Posted 57 minutes ago at The Power and the Money
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Mexico City seems to have come through this earthquake much better than it did in 1985. Earlier, I worried that the reason might be that the quake was far smaller on the Richter scale; Dwight Dyer, in comments, pointed out... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at The Power and the Money
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I am beginning to believe that PM Rajoy wants to push Catalonia into a unilateral declaration of independence. For he is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and it makes no sense. Around the time of my last post,... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at The Power and the Money
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I do not have much to say about the quake, save that it is horrifying, and that fortunately it seems (we hope) that no one we know has been hurt, although several have been terrified. There are some places where... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at The Power and the Money
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Have you ever watched television commercials from the 1950s? They seem crude and unpersuasive, even silly. Political propaganda from the 1930s even more so and don’t get me started on print adverts from the 19th century. They actually persuaded people?... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Power and the Money
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The title of this post is obvious; I am not a college administrator. But apparently I have very different views of the soft skills that universities should try to develop. (I have my own opinions about the harder skills as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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The impending mess in Spain would not be happening save the People’s Party’s decision to take the 2006 Statute of Autonomy to court and the resulting court decision. That is not to say that the current impasse was inevitable given... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Cataluña ... Catalunya ... is going to vote on independence on October 1st. The vote is sanctioned by the Catalonian regional government but is illegal under Spanish law. A Spanish court, therefore, just blocked the referendum. So far, fine. Spanish... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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So, Vox wrote a good review of the new HBO series, The Deuce. And it does sound like a good show. But then they reviewer blows up their credibility. With a caption reading “The series’ attention to detail is impressive,”... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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First, pray for Miami. I have a love-hate relationship with that city, even deeper than my love-hate with Texas. I would not want to live in that entire metro, not in Miami-Dade, not in Fort Lauderdale, not in Palm Beach.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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We called it. Robert Mueller has announced that he is teaming up with Eric Schneiderman, the NYS attorney general. Right now the cooperation is about Manafort but we expect future announcements. As we pointed out, President Trump can only pardon... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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I like Houston. I always have. It is a hideous city, way too car-dependent, and has a climate designed to get me to hate it. But I have friends there and I like Texans. I really like Texans. Which is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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My son had a bit of culture shock in Mexico City, where he learned that 4-to-6 year-olds there take fútbol seriously. None of this everybody-wins bullshit we have back here in D.C. Nope, kids in Mexico play fút the way... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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In recent years, Dutch politics has fragmented. In part, this is a function of the country’s extreme form of proportional representation, which allows very small parties into Parliament. In addition, ballot access is easy. All you need to do is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2017 at The Power and the Money
Hahahahahah! The above is written on a smartphone in the subway and reads like I wrote it in Romanian and translated. "Spanish" should be "French" in the second paragraph. And that "or more" should be "mostly."
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2017 on Code switching at The Power and the Money
50/50 or more. I'm familiar with people throwing Spanish words into an English sentence, or vice versa. In professional settings, it's very common to hear Spanish sentences with mostly English vocabulary. I'm also used to people switching out clauses from one language to another. I've even heard my five-year old use entirely Spanish-vocabulary sentences with proper verb congugation but a clearly English substate: for example, a sentence that suddenly clarifies when he ends it in "para." You can't do that in Spanish, even by mistake, but if you're speaking English with an entirely Spanish vocabulary. This didn't seem to be any of that. The French would just stop and be replaced with English to Spanish again. "Bla blah blah delays are getting out of blah blah blah subway isn't the way it used blah blah blah believe he won't go blah blah." I can't even imitate it. It was smooth. And the accents. Perfect. This wasn't that Miami or Southwestern accent that makes you sound foreign in both English and Spanish; this was beautiful French jumping right to television American.
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2017 on Code switching at The Power and the Money
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On the Red Line home there were three teenagers, two female, one male. I have never heard anyone switch so fluently between English and French. Multiple times per sentence. The English was from the DMV. The French was not from... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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Department of It’s a Little Better Than You Feared: Most research into intergenerational mobility in the United States looks at parents and children; a few look at grandparents. Well, what about great-grandparents? Turns out that is complicated, but there is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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... even if the New York Times tells you that you can’t. Picture the morning. Start by playing with the kids. Then pickup the newspaper to peruse the news. (The news is weird this morning.) End with this: Step into... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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We are back in D.C. Time to think about the time in Mexico City, which we intend to repeat every summer that we can. Crime has gotten worse in the statistics, but not in the feel. The center of the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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With four of us, we will be calling a carshare to take us to the airport. I know, right now “Uber” has become a generic word, the way “Fridgidaire,” “Hoover,” and “Xerox” used to be. Since I dislike the company... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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I may have a hypothesis. But that is for later. For now, consider this private report from June. Roughly 400 businesses in the three rural counties (Güémez, Padilla, and Hidalgo) right north of Ciudad Victoria, the state capital, went on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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In comments, NYCMT wrote the following: “You know what might survive a presidential pardon? A civil asset forfeiture claim.” I have now talked to him in depth about what this meant. The federal government has a lot of power to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2017 at The Power and the Money
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I heard the most terrifying thing from a friend of mine in Mexico City, a Mexican citizen and voter. He is an upper-middle-class homeowner, two wonderful daughters, owns an apartment with an amazing view on the far outskirts of Polanco.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2017 at The Power and the Money