How politicians view the stock market and oil market » AEI

stockmarket

OilPricesStocks

via http://www.aei.org/publication/charts-day-politicians-view-stock-market-oil-market/

Global Housing affordability

econfix

The distribution of housing affordability in the 85 major metropolitan markets (those with more than 1,000,000 residents) has deteriorated over the past year – see graphs.

Countries
Hong Kong is least affordable followed by Australia and New Zealand.

Cities
Hong Kong – least affordable, with a Median Multiple of 14.9
Auckland – Multiple of 8.4
London – Multiple of 7.3

Source: 10th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability: Survey: 2014

Housing afforability countries

Housing affordability cities

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The Political Bias of Workers by Profession | Business Insider

Academics crowdpac donor politics

via http://www.businessinsider.com.au/charts-show-the-political-bias-of-each-profession-2014-11

Repeated misinterpretation is not causation

Family Inequality

The other day I criticized Brad Wilcox and Bob Lerman for claiming that increasing marriage would reduce inequality. In that post I passed up the chance to reinforce a lesson about misleading claims regarding selection and unobserved factors by members of the right-wing family social science community.

Photo by Jonathan Tellier from Flickr Creative Commons. Which comes first, social advantages or marriage?
Photo by Jonathan Tellier from Flickr Creative Commons.

Passages like the following have become standard for Wilcox when he makes overblown claims regarding the benefits of marriage. Here is the latest:

Notwithstanding this report’s extensive data analysis, we do not claim that the associations we find among family structure while growing up, marriage as an adult, and economic outcomes are definitively causal. … Even after netting out the effects of many observed differences among individuals, both marriage and economic well-being may be the result of some third factor, such as unobserved differences in personality or character … Moreover, most of the evidence in this report is descriptive and does not derive from…

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The day ‘climate change’ became irrelevant in politics – Powerful Green Lobby Defeated In US Midterm Elections

No chance of a global climate treaty now.

Watts Up With That?

Republicans Win Control Of US Senate

For Tom Steyer and other environmentalists, $85 million wasn’t enough to help Democrats keep the Senate blue or win more than a single governor’s mansion in Tuesday’s toughest races. The billionaire’s super PAC and other green groups saw the vast majority of their favored candidates in the battleground states go down to defeat, despite spending an unprecedented amount of money to help climate-friendly Democrats in the midterm elections. The outcome brought gloating from Republicans and fossil-fuel supporters even before the results rolled in — and raised questions about whether greens can fulfill their pledge to make climate change a decisive campaign issue in 2016. –Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 5 November 2015

Climate Change: This was one of the dogs that didn’t bark in the 2014 election, even after liberal billionaire Tom Steyer spent an estimated $70 million to promote the issue and a new U.N…

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“X-Efficiency,” M. Perelman (2011)

a good argument against x-inefficiency is De Alessi, L. “Property Rights, Transaction Costs, and X-Efficiency: An Essay in Economic Theory”. American Economic Review (March 1983).

The puzzlingly large productivity differences across firms even in narrowly defined industries producing standard products lead to doubts about the efficiency of some firms, often the smaller firms in an industry. Some firms produce half as much output from the same measured inputs as rivals and still survive in competition (Syverson 2011).

This diversity reflects inter-firm differences in managerial ability, organisational practices, choice of technology, the age of the business and its capital, location, workforce skills, intangible assets and changes in demand and productivity that are idiosyncratic to each individual firm (Stigler 1958, 1976, 1987; De Alessi 1983).

Small and large firms can survive in direct competition because of different trade-offs they make between hierarchy, location, product ranges, production flexibility and pace of growth (Audretsch, Prince and Thurik 1998; Audretsch and Mahmood 1994; Stigler 1939, 1983, 1987; Jovanovic 1982; Chappell, Mayer and Shughart 1993; Das, Chappell and Shughart 1993).

One reason that smaller firms are more flexible is they can hire more of the skills they need in the market to expand. Larger firms must invest more in recruitment and training before a new team member is fully productive.

A Fine Theorem

Do people still read Leibenstein’s fascinating 1966 article “Allocative Efficiency vs. X-Efficiency”? They certainly did at one time: Perelman notes that in the 1970s, this article was the third-most cited paper in all of the social sciences! Leibenstein essentially made two points. First, as Harberger had previously shown, distortions like monopoly simply as a matter of mathematics can’t have large welfare impacts. Take monopoly. for instance. The deadweight loss is simply the change in price times the change in quantity supplied times .5 times the percentage of the economy run by monopolist firms. Under reasonable looking demand curves, those deadweight triangles are rarely going to be even ten percent of the total social welfare created in a given industry. If, say, twenty percent of the final goods economy is run by monopolists, then, we only get a two percent change in welfare (and this can be extended to intermediate…

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Cat-calling, free speech, and the continued cannibalization of the Left

I’m sure the makers of the video were quite surprised when they were denounced as racist by fellow travellers on the left

Notes On Liberty

The National Review has an excellent piece out by Charles Cooke on that video about catcalls that recently went viral (if you haven’t seen it yet, or don’t know what it is, here, and get out from under that rock). The article highlights well the continued crisis that Leftist circles have been in since the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Aside from continuing to defend the likes of Fidel Castro at the superficial, political level, the intellectual depravity of the Left is on full display thanks to the work of the people who made the video. Here is Cooke, for instance, on one of the more popular versions of the Left’s criticism of the video; the one arguing that most of the men – who were largely black or Latino – catcalling the girl were forced into doing so simply because of the white power structure in place (no seriously):

To contend that…

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The quality of public policy debate in NZ: is the sale of surplus public housing an asset sale (privatisation)?

Prior to the October 2014 election, Prime Minister Key promised that there will be no further asset sales.

After the election, he announced an intention to possibly sell billions of dollars in public housing to use the sales to buy new public housing in other parts of New Zealand, such as in the suburbs and the perimeter of cities.

This was immediately denounced by the opposition as a broken election promise. Apparently a promise not to sell any further state owned enterprises is now interpreted not to sell any assets in the government balance sheet.

Journalists swallowed this criticism of the opposition, hook, line and sinker. The media seems to think that buying and selling of surplus government assets by Housing New Zealand and other social agencies is somehow unusual or new.

Any sensible observer would think it would be barmy for Housing New Zealand to have a whole bunch of old, rundown public houses purchased in the middle of the 20th century in the inner cities that are now worth a million of dollars each and not consider selling them.

These million-dollar public houses could be sold to finance the construction or purchase of several new houses for social housing purposes out in the suburbs.

What is the purpose of public housing? It is supposed to have something to do with helping the poor.

That would include managing the stock of public houses so that inner-city houses now worth a fortune are sold to finance more houses in the suburbs where most of the poor live.

Occupy Wall Street protesters didn’t like what they found when they actually met the bottom 1%

Occupy Wall Street protesters are in their second month of being stationed at Zuccotti Park.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters had free food provided by kitchens staffed by volunteers.

Occupy Wall Street Chefs Stop Cooking Fancy Meals

These self appointed representatives of the bottom 99% didn’t appreciate brushing shoulders with the bottom 1 percent of the social stratum:

The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a “counter” revolution yesterday — because they’re angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for “professional homeless” people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.

To show they mean business, the kitchen staff refused to serve any food for two hours yesterday in order to meet with organizers to air their grievances, sources said…

Overall security at the park had deteriorated to the point where many frightened female protesters had abandoned the increasingly out-of-control occupation, security- team members said.

‘The Left’ and Public Choice Theory

A nice roundup of the issues as to why public choice is unwelcome among those who believe in big government

PILEUS

The mention of public choice theory to those on ‘the left’ of politics can prompt a variety of reactions. Some are based on ignorance about the very existence of public choice economics as a theoretical perspective. This reaction was demonstrated to me following one of the first lectures I gave in my academic career. Having listened to me speak for an hour on the power of incumbent firms to ‘capture’ regulatory agencies an attending student who was an activist in the Socialist Workers Party asked me, ‘when did you become a Marxist?’ Needless to say, for someone who considers himself a radical ‘anti-Marxist’ I was taken aback by this approach! What the question exemplifies though is an attitude that is widespread in academic circles – the assumption that an interest in power imbalances that favour business interests must equate with one having leftist or socialist sympathies. The idea that there…

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