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Category Archive for 'incentives'

Math Help

Suppose a football team faces a third down and 5 yards to go situation. Suppose that the team REALLY needs to make a first down (and that they always punt on 4th down no matter what). Suppose their coaches love statistics. In deciding whether to execute a running play or passing play they look back […]

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On Sunday we asserted here that there has not been much innovation in “roads” over the past four decades or so. The post provoked some interesting responses so I thought it made sense to revisit the topic. The focus was on innovation on not generally on the history of road provision, the “publicness” of roads, […]

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Obese people have a hard time regulating their own behavior. If there is a bag of M&Ms lying around the house, rest assured they will take a handful each time they walk by. Obese people have low levels of energy. Though it is well known that regular exercise will improve health and energy levels, they […]

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I assume some will find this in bad taste in light of last week’s tragedies in Boston. But just in case anyone was paying attention, we’re closing in on a dozen years since the WTC was destroyed and it’s rebuild is still not complete yet, so I find it hard to read notes that New […]

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I usually hate infographics and here is another one just littered with reasons to go crazy. But focus only on the very bottom: The changes Brill suggests would allow the US to provide better care at lower costs without substituting the kind of government-provider system typical in comparison countries. Holy smokes. This is the previous […]

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What can the economics of altruism inform us about why we might hold particular political beliefs? Lots, I think. Let’s assume for simplicity that altruism is an act or emotion that provides no benefit to oneself and which redounds exclusively to someone else. Some may go so far as to suggest that true altruism must […]

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From tomorrow’s paper: The hunger for yield is driving investors to snap up securities backed by student loans, even as borrowers are falling behind on their payments at a faster clip. Sadly, I cannot figure out who these investors are. I don’t understand how we can publish a story on this and not discuss who […]

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How often do you encounter organizations that seem to have “no agenda” or claim to be “non-partisan.” If ever there was a time to do some mental substitution, this would be it. I worked for a “non-partisan economic research foundation” once. They were gold bugs and some strange blend of Marxist sympathising libertarians. I had […]

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A Taxing Thought

This is NOT a Question About Taxes, Normative, Positive or Otherwise A recent Washington Post article was discussing whether or not millionaires would move from one country to another because the taxes in the country increase. However, the author below concludes even if there are strong findings in Europe that rich people move in response […]

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My dear alma mater is a shining 21st century example of the Smallpox Blanket.  I’d argue that the dissemination of the smallpox is not directly intended, as history suggests was the intention of our dear Old Lord Jeffrey, but rather the 21st century blankets are the unintended consequences of the appeals to symbolism that rule […]

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