Cafeteria Marvels


 by Mario Rizzo  

The market is a “marvel.” What does that mean? According to Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman orator and senator, a marvel is something contrary to or surpassing common understanding.  

In that sense, the market is a true marvel – so much so that it even surpasses the understanding of many economists.  

Richard Thaler (a University of Chicago Business School professor) and Cass Sunstein (a Harvard law professor and Obamian regulatory czar) have illustrated the benign qualities of paternalism with a curious example of cafeteria food placement. (An interesting and important exchange between Glen Whitman and Richard Thaler – among others – is now taking place at Cato Unbound.)

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When Nudging Isn’t Enough


by Glen Whitman

In a New York Times op-ed, George Loewenstein and Peter Ubel argue that policymakers are relying too heavily on behavioral economics, when traditional — that is, rational choice — economics would often serve them better.

On cursory reading, you might think this op-ed repudiates the facile use of behavioral economics to guide policy. But in fact, the authors encourage us to go further down that road. They do so by questioning the efficacy of behavioral policies while implicitly accepting behavioral welfare analysis.

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Bruce Yandle on Bootleggers & Baptists 

Source: Bruce Yandle on Bootleggers & Baptists – Cafe Hayek

@BernieSanders @GrantRobertson1 why does anyone bother to work in #Denmark?



More kittens

Which @realDonaldTrump moment has been most controversial?

Source: "Punish women for abortions" voted most controversial Trump statement (so far) – CapX.

A fascinating precedent

I do believe that somewhere buried in there is a right of first refusal for the government on any proposed sales of the shares.

But DimPost does have a point about sovereign wealth funds buying shares that they cannot easily sell and therefore how are these shares to be properly valued.

This regime is also a poison pill for the Green proposal on Kiwibank aggressively pricing its mortgages. If Kiwibank was told to pay no further dividends, NZPost as well as a sovereign wealth funds enough to write off their investment?

why i don’t teach polanyi

Marko Grdesic wrote an interesting post on why modern economists don’t read Polanyi. He surveyed economists at top programs and discovered that only 3% had read Polanyi. I am not shocked. This post explains why.

For a while, I taught an undergrad survey course in sociology with an economic sociology focus. The goal is to teach sociology in a way interesting to undergraduate business and policy students. I often teach a module that might be called “capitalism’s defenders and critics.” On defense, we had Smith and Hayek. On offense, we had Marx and Polanyi.

And, my gawd, it was painful. Polanyi is a poor writer, even compared to windbags like Hayek and Marx. The basic point of the whole text is hard to discern other than, maybe, “capitalism didn’t develop the way you think” or “people change.” It was easily the text that people understood the least and none…

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Over-qualification rates in jobs in the USA, UK and Canada

Utopia, you are standing in it!

In the UK, foreign-born are much more likely to be over qualified than native born highly educated not in education with less difference between men and women. More men than women are overqualified for their jobs in the UK. Over qualification is less of a problem in the UK than in the USA and Canada.


Source: OECD (2015) Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015: Settling In.

In the USA and Canada, there are few differences between native and foreign born men in over-qualification rates. Foreign-born women tend to be more over-qualified than native born women in the USA  and more so in Canada. Many more workers are overqualified for their jobs in the USA and Canada as compared to the UK.

There are large differences in the percentage of people with tertiary degrees and the education premium between these three countries that are outside the scope of this blog post…

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Do minimum wages stimulate productivity? @BernieSanders @livingwageNZ


Source: IZA World of Labor – Do minimum wages stimulate productivity and growth?

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