Monthly Archives: February 2018

Jonathan Adler on common-pool resources

Knowledge Problem

Lynne Kiesling

Case Western law professor Jonathan Adler (someone to whom I link frequently here) is guest blogging for Megan McArdle at the Atlantic right now, and he’s sharing some valuable insights from his research in environmental and administrative law. His first post lays a foundation by summarizing and analyzing Garrett Hardin’s seminal “tragedy of the commons” work and the important relationship between property rights and the ability and incentive to overuse a common-pool resource. One thing that Jonathan’s analysis incorporates into Hardin’s is a recognition of the public choice/political economy dynamics that affect the incentives and ultimate outcomes in resource policy:

One thing that Hardin overlooked is that the political process often replicates the same economic dynamic that encourages the tragedy of the commons — a dynamic fostered by the ability to capture concentrated benefits while dispersing the costs. Like the herder who has an incentive to put…

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BBC News: World’s fishing fleets mapped from orbit

Knowledge Problem

This BBC article on big data and fisheries is fascinating. Using satellite photography, researchers have mapped all of the world’s fisheries by area, finding that fishery area is larger than arable acreage while providing less than 2% of all calories consumed.

I also found the conclusion thought-provoking that the patterns reveal larger effects from politics and culture than from natural rhythms. This implies Ostrom’s conclusions, that human decisions and human institutions can enable us to govern the commons … if we can engage in forward-looking political processes to design such institutions.

[Note: I’m experimenting with posting from my phone when I see a cool article.]

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Iran Charges Women With “Inciting Prostitution” For Removing Their Hijabs in Protests


In the latest clip, the woman is seen raising the headscarf above her head by a set of traffic lights in TehranWe have previously discussed the unparalleled bravery of the women fighting discriminatory Islamic law requiring them to wear veils and limiting their freedoms due to their gender.  This is particularly true of the women engaged in protests over compulsory headscarves in Iran.  Now however the Islamic regime is cracking down and not just arresting women but charging them with “inciting prostitution.”  It is the perfect sexist charge to go with deeply sexist legal system. A woman who asserts her most basic right to expression and religious choices is treated by the Islamic government as fostering prostitutes.

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James I and his favourites: sex and power at the Jacobean court

The History of Parliament

As LGBT History Month draws to a close Dr Paul M. Hunneyball of the Lords 1604-1629 Section discusses the nature of relationships between James I and his favourite courtiers, his sexuality and how this affected his ability to maintain unquestionable dominance as the monarch…

‘James I slobbered at the mouth and had favourites; he was thus a Bad King.’ This line from Sellar and Yeatman’s classic spoof history, 1066 And All That probably remains many people’s abiding impression of England’s first Stuart monarch. Both elements of the description are accurate, as it happens. The dribbling was a side-effect of James’s abnormally large tongue. However, the second issue requires more explanation. There was nothing particularly unusual about a 17th-century king having favourites. This was a standard mechanism by which trusted royal servants were promoted and rewarded. It allowed monarchs to look beyond the country’s traditional rulers, the hereditary nobility, and inject…

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Uber vs. Taxi: A Driver’s Eye View


By: Joshua D. Angrist ; Sydnee Caldwell ; Jonathan V. Hall
Ride-hailing drivers pay a proportion of their fares to the ride-hailing platform operator, a commission-based compensation model used by many internet-mediated service providers. To Uber drivers, this commission is known as the Uber fee. By contrast, traditional taxi drivers in most US cities make a fixed payment independent of their earnings, usually a weekly or daily medallion lease, but keep every fare dollar net of expenses. We assess these compensation models from a driver’s point of view using an experiment that offered random samples of Boston Uber drivers opportunities to lease a virtual taxi medallion that eliminates the Uber fee. Some drivers were offered a negative fee. Drivers’ labor supply response to our offers reveals a large intertemporal substitution elasticity, on the order of 1.2. At the same time, our virtual lease program was under-subscribed: many drivers who would…

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