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Eric Rasmusen
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I believe in early circulation, but of course anything you post is fair game for fair use quotation. It is nonetheless good to tell the reader that the paper is preliminary and you might change everything later or repudiate the paper entirely--- which is also fine to do, and your duty if you did make a mistake. On one of my papers, I have the notice: "Note: Do not trust any results reported in this draft. We are not yet confident that we have the dataset created properly. This draft is presented only as an illustration of what we am working on, to elicit comments on how we should proceed and to stimulate discussion on methodology--- not to report results."
I haven't read the paper, so I'm not sure if it is showing that consultants can't pick winner or that consultants aren't worth their fees. Those are different, though. A naive pension fund's first instinct will be to choose the actively managed fund with the best track record. A consultant can save them from that by explaining why you can't beat the market and by recommending an index fund instead. I'm serious--- that advice is worth millions of dollars. Remember, too, that consultants are useful for nuts-and-bolts stuff like advising on tax consequences, liquidity, timing the withdrawal of funds to match pension expenditures, etc. Of course, the post's basic idea is correct: markets are efficient, at least as far as investing in public corporations.
It seems that Jews, like Asians and Polish-Americans, have risen to "WASP" status, i.e., are fair game for lefties.
In economics, something I look for in job candidates is an interest in economics. That isn't universal. Some people do excellent research while being knowledgeable only in their own small area, and perhaps not even interested in that--- just driven by job requirements to do excellent research. It's also possible to be totally uninterested in economics, and just like statistics--- and still do good research. I think teaching suffers in both cases inevitably. It looks to me as if the same is true in law, in spades. I think a lot of people want to be law professors who find ordinary case law dreadfully boring. Academic law is actually a way to escape law, if you've started on the law track and can't stand the thought of jumping off to something entirely different. That escape can be an escape from the subject of law, or an escape from the long hours of a prestigious law firm.
Perhaps what this says is that philosophers in other areas should look to aesthetics for interesting topics that aren't being addressed.
Any comments from Florida? This would be an appropriate situation for anonymous comments. If the faculty did reject him because of his politics, is that unlawful?If it was, then that would be good reason for the University President to now bypass the faculty and do a search himself. Indeed, that would be the safest thing to do to avoid legal liability in the next search. Of course, even if the faculty acted unlawfully, there's no good way to remedy the act. Professor Acosta can't effectively run the law school after a direct rejection of this sort. If a candidate were not voted on at all by the faculty, similar political antipathy would not be a problem.
Here's what may be a novel argument for ending the embargo: the targeted country has adjusted. In the short run, trade sanctions are quite disruptive, so they can be a potent tool. In the long run, the target adjusts, selling its goods in other markets, finding ways to evade the sanctions, and reallocating resources so it doesn't export or import as much. So in general if sanctions don't work soon, they might as well be ended. The other argument for that, which I think is well known, is that if sanctions don't work, they're pointless, since the punishing country is hurt as well as the punished one. It's like sending your soldiers to be killed in a war, but not sending enough to win the war.
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It is good that Colorado has legalized marijuana. We will in a few years have more evidence as to whether legalization helps or hurts.
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The first question to be answered is: Would you rather live in a society with marijuana, or without? That is, would you be happy if a disease suddenly made marijuana go extinct? I would guess that most people who read blogs, or perhaps even who read, would indeed like that. (The discussion would be interesting, though.) A second question is: Would a society with marijuana be a better one? Note that even someone who personally likes using marijuana might answer "Yes", just as a burglar might prefer a society without burglary. Only then can we go on to the question of whether making marijuana illegal is a good idea, given that it limits freedom and that law enforcement is costly but that also its illegality channels criminals into that endeavor rather than, say, extortion.
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The mandate cases have something relevant and unusual going on: the religious motivations, it can be argued, increase profits (and maybe they really do). After all, what the companies want to do is not provide some insurance coverage. That saves money. So the directors can simultaneously say: (1) we are doing this from religious motives, and (2) this increases profits. The funny thing is, many corporations would be more profitable if they were Christian Science companies, opposed to all health insurance on religious principle. Thus, soul-selling shareholders would want the corporation to adopt Christian Science as the company religion. The government should reject that designation, but it's interesting to think why. Don't have time now!
There's no claim in the mandate cases that the directors are acting on their own religious beliefs rather than the shareholders, and the directors aren't even parties, so I wouldn't worry that a ruling in the company's favor would be by implication a ruling that directors qua directors have religious rights. That's an interesting question, though. If 2 directors vote to have the company do something blasphemous in order to force the third to resign, is that unlawful? (they'd have to believe they were acting in the best interests of the company in pressuring him out, of course)
I wish they'd called it a Nanookasaurus. The name needs the a to sound right, and I'm sick of weird language q's infesting English spelling.
My comment at Fershee's blog: Discrimination arguments ought to have been made in Hobby Lobby, and perhaps will at a future stage in the case. It sure seems to me that the Adminsitration's energy and expense in fighting even the temprorary waivers and preliminary injunctions sought by the religious companies is motivated by anti-religious animus. Otherwise, why not grant them at least the delayed enforcement of the Mandate given to a zillion companies and individuals for reasons of convenience? There's enough to that argument to permit discovery, and I bet there'd be some juicy Justice Dept. emails about sticking it to those fundamentalists.
I quarrel with the "and only if", which is italicized in the decision. I suspect the court is using those words for rhetorical effect and not thinking about their meaning, which is a reason why law students should have studied math as undergraduates (or maybe why Euclidan geometry or basic programming should be a required law school course, in place of "experiential learning"). In one place the court says: "We hold that business judgment is the standard of review that should govern mergers between a controlling stockholder and its corporate subsidiary, where the merger is conditioned ab initio upon both the approval of an independent, adequately-empowered Special Committee that fulfills its duty of care; and the uncoerced, informed vote of a majority of the minority stockholders." but their careful "money quote" is, as indicated int he blog post, "To summarize our holding, in controller buyouts, the business judgment standard of review will be applied *if and only if:* (i) the controller conditions the procession of the transaction on the approval of both a Special Committee and a majority of the minority stockholders; (ii) the Special Committee is independent; (iii) the Special Committee is empowered to freely select its own advisors and to say no definitively; (iv) the Special Committee meets its duty of care in negotiating a fair price; (v) the vote of the minority is informed; and (vi) there is no coercion of the minority." The "and only if" is dictum, almost by definition since the conditions are satisfied in the present case and so its decision need not be based on what would happen if the key facts were different. Suppose (i) is violated because the controller didn't condition the deal on having the double protection, but the deal had the double protection anyway. Why insist on a heightened standard of fairness review then? Or suppose there is no Special Committee at all, but every single minority shareholder was allowed complete access to company internal info and was informed and uncoerced and agreed to the sale? I suspect that in general saying "and only if" is a bad idea in common law decisions, which ought to be more adaptable to unforeseen conditions than statutes are. Unless,that is, it is just a safe harbor that is being created.
Notably, in the context of a plaintiff asserting a claim under Title VI, the Second Circuit observed that it is "hard to believe that the Supreme Court would deny standing to the corporation because it “has no racial identity and cannot be the direct target” of the discrimination, while at the same time it would be obliged to deny standing to the stockholders on the sound ground that the injury was suffered by the corporation and not by them." Well, that's exactly what happened in Conestoga in the 6th Circuit, with "racial identity" replaced by "religious exercise". If a corporate person can have a race, I should think a corporate person can exercise religion!
It's also relevant that an employer who uses an IQ test in hiring will probably be sued for racial discrimination, but an employer who requires a college degree--- entrance to which requires an IQ test (the SAT or ACT) will not. We are using college as a super-expensive IQ test. (How is it that colleges get away with using an IQ test for admissions despite disparate impact but for-profit corporations do not? Ask the Harvard and Yale Law School alumni.)
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I have the same question as Judge Posner. The high school graduate of 1960 might become a well-paid worker at General Motors. Such opportunities are less available now, with free trade, high immigration of unskilled competitors, and the decline of unions. One new well-paid job is that of computer programmer. This requires high IQ (by which I mean, say, top 1/3 of the population) and training, which college provides (tho one could learn on one's own, and some people do). So the wages of college grads rise. But suppose you advised someone in the bottom 1/3 of the IQ distribution to go to college to get a good job. That person would flunk all his programming classes, and switch to something like sociology. He would not end up with a well-paying job, because college does not complement his talents.
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This might be a good way to measure the comparative competence of different courts regarding business law. Does the 8th Circuit do better than the 9th Circuit? Also, as the comment above asks, do older judges do worse than younger ones? This just has to be a common enough mistake. I suspect, however, that the problem might not be old judges, per se, but young clerks.
I see there's a veil piercing post not far below, with reference to good journalism explanations of it. I just thought of a good question: if Mr. Green, as shareholder, told the Hobby Lobby directors to inflict an intentional tort, e.g. to sell poison food in its stores, would he be personally liable? If so, it's hard to see why we wouldn't reverse veil pierce and say that if the corporation follows his intent on contraceptives it's his rights at stake. Maybe that's in the Bainbridge Green Bag article--- I forget.
Even better, take a look at the concept of veil piercing. Do the signers want to eliminate the idea that if a corporation is essentially one shareholder, who incorporates just to get limited liability for his nefarious deeds, that he can't be sued no matter what?
You've got biases even if the article isn't your own, so use your best judgement. Even if that results all 565 articles tying, with one vote each.
You'd better start writing amicus briefs for Delaware to get in shape.
I'd explain the difference between the US and Europe as that the US is more meritocratic, and hence more unequal. Suppose we start from a situation in which connections count for 100% and ability counts for 0%. Inequality will be the same the next generation. If we move to a situation with connections and ability each counting for 50%, many low-ability people will start with connections and do well, but many high-ability people will start without connections and do well, so inequality will decrease. Now move to a situation with 0% effect of connections and 100% effect of ability. The low-ability now have no chance. After one generation, there are no low-ability people with high income. After that, the degree of inequality, already high, freezes. Ability is the only factor, and if high-ability parent have high-ability children on average (and inheritance of wealth is a minor factor), inequality is high. If inheritance counts for a lot, because of low inheritance taxes, that will maintain income equality for while--- there will be stupid trust-fund children who will nonetheless be rich. But if we have high estate taxes, even this advantage of the low-ability people will vanish. Is this result of high inequality due to merit being rewarded good? It depends on your point of view. If equality is good in itself, it is a bad result. You don't want to reward merit: you want as much randomness as possible.
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Oct 2, 2013