Category Archives: From the Frontiers

Don't worry about my driving, the car has airbags

My friend Macgregor Duncan draws my attention to a WaPo piece by Shankar Vedantamon how people undermine government intervention by changing their behaviour.

Posted in From the Frontiers | 6 Comments

Giving economics a sporting chance

My AFR oped today is on sports economics. Full text over the fold.

Posted in From the Frontiers, Sport | 1 Comment

Randomised trials… in education

My friend and coauthor Joshua Gans has two blogs. When he’s not blogging about new innovations in economics on Core Econ, he’s offering new insights on parenting at Game Theorist (which has led to a book, Parentonomics, forthcoming in August 2008). One of … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, From the Frontiers

Ayres on Air

Supercrunchers author Ian Ayres was on the BBC program “The Interview” today. For anyone who’s interested in how statistics can change the world, the podcast is here.

Posted in From the Frontiers | 2 Comments

The Market for Street Prostitution

I’m presently at the American Economics Association’s annual meetings in New Orleans, enjoying listening to research on peer effects, teacher labour markets, the economics of the media, and field experiments. But the most entertaining is Steven Levitt’s latest paper, which … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Law | 7 Comments

Napoleon as Natural Experiment

Here’s a snippet from the paper “From Ancien Régime to Capitalism: The French Revolution as a Natural Experiment“, by Daron Acemoglu, Davide Cantoni, Simon Johnson & James Robinson: In investigating the relationship between the collapse of the ancien régime and … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Trade & Development | 2 Comments

He used to rob old ladies, but now he just plays video games all day

I blogged a few months ago about empirical evidence suggesting that pornography might reduce sexual assault (not increase it, as most media and political commentators seem to assume). In a similar vein, a new study on video games seems to … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Law | 4 Comments

Studying is good, drugs are bad, and the Surge isn't working

Economics is very concerned with causal inference. Here’s three recent examples of papers whose identification strategies are more interesting than their (unsurprising) results. This is not to say that we shouldn’t keep honing the methodological toolkit – good evidence for … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 4 Comments

What happens to junior when mum or dad loses their job?

What happens to kids’ school performance if their parent becomes unemployed? According to a new study from Norway, the answer depends on whether it’s mum or dad. They use plant closings rather than all job losses, since economists generally think that … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of the Family, From the Frontiers | 7 Comments

Gong for Gans

My frequent coauthor Joshua Gans has received an award for the best young economist in Australia. Last December, Joshua noted that he had just published his 100th paper. Given that the Economic Society award only goes to those aged under 40, … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Universities | 2 Comments

Economics & Psychology

For anyone researching or teaching in the field of behavioural economics, Stefano DellaVigna has written the nicest summary paper of the literature that I’ve yet seen.

Posted in From the Frontiers | 3 Comments

Killer Economics Ideas

In the theme of economic imperialism, David Uren alerts me to this new paper from boundary-pushing Swiss economist Bruno Frey. The current draft is a bit terse (it probably needs to be 2-3 times as long to make its points fully), … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 2 Comments

The Impact of Finding God Early

Chris Hitchens and Richard Dawkins may not like it, but the findings from a new paper on the impact of a religious childhood sound pretty reasonable to me.   The Role of Religious and Social Organizations in the Lives of Disadvantaged … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 18 Comments

Who's Trading Illegal Arms?

Knowing which companies are doing dodgy deals has always been the stuff of thriller movies. Now, Stefano DellaVigna and Eliana La Ferrara think they’ve come up with an economists’ trick – if you want to know who’s selling weapons to … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 4 Comments

Does money make you happy?

For over a generation, social scientists have discussed the ‘Easterlin Paradox’. One version of this is the commonly-held notion that above a certain threshold, GDP is uncorrelated with happiness. This turns out to be wrong. Income, Aging, Health and Wellbeing Around the World: … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 7 Comments

Academic's reputation now back in the black

A feisty US-Canada dispute initiated by our very own Joshua Gans now seems to have been resolved. For those who haven’t been following it, here’s the history. Gans: This one is for the clearly I have now seen it all … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 6 Comments

Econ talking stuff

I’m in Boston this week, attending the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Summer Institute. Thanks to the magic of the internet, you too can see much of what I’m seeing. I’m flitting between the labor studies, health economics, tax, and children’s meetings, … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 2 Comments

Heat, Heart attacks, Hurricanes and Handouts

A couple of fun new papers from the NBER, showing that (a) hot spells shift deaths, but cold snaps raise them (so moving to warmer climates is good for your health), and (b) it ain’t hard to manipulate charitable giving. … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers

The economics of everything

Angus Deaton writes an entertaining letter for the Royal Economic Society’s quarterly newsletter. In his latest missive, he discusses how the scope of US economics is changing, by discussing the presentations from this year’s Princeton job market candidates. Among the topics … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, From the Frontiers | 10 Comments

Martin Luther's Legacy

I’ve always found the studies that look at the effect of religion on economic growth a bit fluffy. But this very clever paper goes far further than previous work in explaining why Protestant countries and regions might grow faster. If … Continue reading

Posted in Economics of Education, From the Frontiers | 6 Comments

D

Regular commenter Derrida Derrider (double-D) draws my attention to the fact that Daniel Davies (D-squared) has posted the third part of his review of Freakonomics.  Derrida likes Daniel’s review. I wasn’t so enamoured. Much of it is about the problems … Continue reading

Posted in Economics Generally, From the Frontiers | 5 Comments

Free Frijters

My former colleague Paul Frijters, one of the most productive applied microeconomists in the country, has just posted all the papers he’s ever written on his new QUT website (as I’ve argued in the past, this is what every Australian … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Universities | 3 Comments

Defining "us"

For a number of years, Harvard Professor Robert Putnam has been working on the issue of ethnic diversity and social capital. During that time, he’s spoken about the research at a host of “closed door” seminars, including one I organised … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Social Capital | 16 Comments

Thought-provoking papers that have crossed my desk recently

Income and happiness: Evidence, explanation and economic implications Andrew E. Clark, Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields There is now a great deal of micro-econometric evidence, both cross-section and panel, showing that income is positively correlated with well-being. Yet the … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 1 Comment

Grand idea?

Who said there was no money in policymaking? The IPAA (often confused with the IPA) is happily giving it away. 2006 Sir George Murray Award The Sir George Murray Award is Australia’s most prestigious essay competition in public administration. We … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 2 Comments

The coke-coke elasticity

Economics can teach all kinds of quirky things. For example, if your biggest concern is that your teenager doesn’t use drugs, then you should be happy when the price of street sneakers goes up, and sad when the restaurant owner … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers

Tall Story?

We learned in 2003 that Europeans are taller than Americans, and the gap is getting bigger. From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century John Komlos & Marieluise Baur … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 3 Comments

Does Inequality Kill You?

It is often argued that inequality is bad for your health. Indeed, in Imagining Australia, my coauthors and I made precisely this argument, saying that one of the reasons that policymakers should be worried about inequality is because it makes … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Inequality | 25 Comments

Korupsi

Harvard researcher Ben Olken spent a summer in Indonesia digging up roads, in an attempt to estimate the extent of corruption. His initial paper looked at the magnitude and correlates of corruption, while his latest compares corruption perceptions and reality, … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers | 1 Comment

Big Companies, Big Bosses

I’ve been meaning for the last couple of weeks to blog on the various interesting papers discussed at the NBER Summer Institute this year, which some regard as the Wimbledon of labour economics. Some I’d already written about, such as Leigh Linden … Continue reading

Posted in From the Frontiers, Inequality