Day: May 6, 2016

Make in India: Which Exports Can Drive the Next Wave of Growth?

iMFdirect - The IMF Blog

By Rahul Anand, Kalpana Kochhar, and Saurabh Mishra

The expansion of India’s exports of services between 1990 and 2013 has been nothing short of spectacular, putting India on a par with the world’s high-income economies in terms of service-product sophistication and as a share of total exports. This has created unique opportunities for continued growth. By contrast, when it comes to exports of manufactured goods, India has lagged behind its emerging-markets peers, both in quality and as a percentage of the total export basket, leaving substantial room for improvement.

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UK Media Watch prompts correction of misleading headline on terror attack

Our colleague Gidon Shaviv alerted us to the following headline fail at the website of Europe’s most watched news channel, EuroNews.

orig headline

The extaordinarily confusing headline obscures the fact that a Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into several soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint, critically injuring one of them.  Other soldiers then shot and killed the driver terrorist.  

We then tweeted a EuroNews editor.

However, we received no reply, so we tweeted the managing editor, Peter Barabas.

Later that day, we received a message from Barabas apologizing for the headline, and promising to revise it accordingly.

Here’s the new headline:

revised euronews headline

We commend…

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The Staggering Cost of Pointless Wind Power: Can Australia Avoid Economic Suicide?


June 2015 SA

South Australia has earned the unenviable title of Australia’s ‘Wind Power Capital’.

For its sins it has seen power prices rocket (the forward price, at $90 per MWh is more than double its neighbour Victoria’s) and unemployment with it: worse is yet to come, on both scores. Then there’s the grid instability and state-wide blackouts that come with routine, total and totally unpredictable wind power output collapses (see above).

SA’s few remaining heavy industries – such as Whyalla’s Arrium Steel Smelter and Port Pirie’s Nyrstar Smelter – are terminal, and begging for taxpayer bail-outs.

It’s already an economic basket case, dependent on Federal Government subsidies to build submarines and other naval vessels. By reference to its ham-fisted economic management, the choice made by its Labor government to throw all to the wind probably seemed like a clever one, back in 2002.

But, economics has a mean way…

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Recycling Dumpster Diving: A "Victimless" Crime?

“Each week my family separates our recyclables from our regular trash.  The former are put in our blue bin and are placed out on the curb for pickup on Wednesday mornings. 

Last Tuesday night, I walked to Westwood Village to attend a dinner when I saw two individuals diving into all of my neighbours’ recycling bins (which were on the street curb) to extract the recyclables. 

These "entrepreneurs" had a large truck filled with plastic bottles and aluminium cans that they were clearly loading up to take to a place to collect the recyclables fees.  Is this a crime?

I view it as an economic crime for the following reason.  The only reason this "trash treasure" was easy to access in the blue bins on the street was because the well meaning law abiding citizens wasted their time sorting their trash and kindly placing it outside. 

Our tax dollars goes to the unionized guys who drive the recyclable trucks to pick this stuff up.  If there is nothing to pick up, because the pirates have stolen the treasure, then recyclable trucks are losing $ as they are bringing in no revenue. So, this operating profit loss is just a transfer from the city to the pirates. My tax dollars and my time are being used to transfer $ to pirates.  

The environment is no cleaner and is likely to dirtier because of the duplication of transportation (the recycling truck and the dirty private pirate trucks).   I saw the same thing in Berkeley.   What is to be done?  A green cop shooting tranquilizer darts?”

Source: Environmental and Urban Economics: Recycling Dumpster Diving: A "Victimless" Crime?

“Quality problems”

croaking cassandra

Sometimes I find the Prime Minister’s claims about the New Zealand economy, and Auckland, almost breathtaking.  There is an insouciance about them that almost defies belief. They certainly defy data.

In a speech to an Auckland business audience yesterday –  there is a report here, and also video footage –  the Prime Minister repeated his breezy claims that Auckland’s “challenges” around housing and transport are “a quality problem”, and a “sign of success”, and that both the city and the country are doing “incredibly well”.

Perhaps that is how it appears when you are already wealthy, live in a large house in a prime inner suburb, and have a taxpayer-provided chauffeur at your constant disposal.  Neither housing nor traffic problems must impinge terribly much.

I’ve commented on a lot of the detailed issues previously, including the Prime Minister’s apparent vision of New Zealand as a Switzerland of the South Pacific, and…

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International adoption to the US has fallen 75%

Family Inequality

Just updated my data series on international adoption. You can see previous posts, with commentary, at the adoption tag.

The data are the US State Department, which grants the adoption visas. It’s kind of a mess, back to 1999, here. (I have an old spreadsheet that goes back to 1990 for the big countries but I can’t find the link anymore.) The most recent report is here, and the briefer narrative is here. For the first time in those documents I saw an official description of what’s changed in China, which partly explains the broader trends. The State Department says 20,000-30,000 children are placed domestically in China now, as a result of increased government focus on domestic adoption, although without providing comparison numbers. They also say more than 90% of children adopted to the US from China now have special health needs, up from 5% in 2005…

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How green art thou? #buswaysforelectriccars not #BuswaysForBuses

Finally have something nice to say about electric cars. They will put bus lanes to good use.

A trivial percentage of people take the bus to work In New Zealand. The government has a target of doubling electric car fleet every year (from 2000 in 2016 to 64,000 in 2021).

This decision yesterday to allow them to use busways allows us to relish in seeing environmentalists feud over which technologies are green enough to have access to priority lanes on the road such as those allocated to buses.

Which is more important? Saving the planet or saving the buses; most of them are diesel? Busways are empty at the weekends and many other times.

Victory Day celebration of defeat of terrorism in Palmyra

Open Parachute

Victory over terrorism in Syria is still a long way off. But the liberation of Palmyra was an important and symbolic step towards that. This concert on Thursday, in the historic amphitheatre of the ancient city of Palmyra, was dedicated to the 71st anniversary of the defeat of fascism in Europe as well as an expression of gratitude to all those who fight terrorism today and memorial to the victims of terrorism.

During their occupation of Palmyra, Daesh committed public executions by beheading in this amphitheatre. One of the most prominent people beheaded in the city at this time was Khaled al-Asaad, a Syrian archaeologist and the head of antiquities for the ancient city. The New York Time reported the murder (see Syrian Expert Who Shielded Palmyra Antiquities Meets a Grisly Death at ISIS’ Hands):

“After detaining him for weeks, the jihadists dragged him on Tuesday to a public square where a masked swordsman…

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Psychological Bias as a Driver of Financial Regulation


Psychological Bias as a Driver of Financial Regulation,” David Hirshleifer, European Financial Management, 14(5), November, (2008):856-874.