What BMI doesn’t tell you about your health


The “New” Monopsony Argument and the Suppression of Wages



A recent issue of The Economisthad an article on monopsony and the “non-compete“ agreements that some lower-paid fast-food chain workers have had to sign as a condition of employment. On the whole, The Economist doesn’t like this because it supposedly holds down wages. The Economist is not alone in thinking this. Even noted economists Jason Furman and Alan Krueger have said in The Wall Street Journal: “There is no reason why employers would require fast-food workers and retail salespeople to sign a noncompete clause—other than to restrict competition and weaken worker bargaining power.” What Furman and Krueger are thinking is that these employees have no “trade secrets” to reveal to other firms.

Does this make sense?

The fast-food low wage case has little to do with trade secrets. In this situation the usual argument in favor of such agreements turns on the provision of general human capital. When…

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Why the Greenies may be browned off with their party of principle

Point of Order

When Labour  went into coalition  with  NZ  First, it  seemed   astute  on the part of the Greens to back it on confidence and supply in exchange for  ministerial  positions. The Greens believed they  would be able to achieve several of their major policy  goals, without  suffering the fate of other small parties  suffocated  in the embrace of a  major party  in the process of governing  the country.

So how is it looking less than nine months into the term?  The  assessment is far from favourable:  the Greens  have  scored  enough own-goals to  dismay even onetime champions  like Sue  Bradford.

Any  government starts losing  votes   from  the day  it takes office.  For the Greens, as polls show, leakage of support has been on a scale which could threaten  the party’s survival  at  the next election.

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How did BBC News report the latest Gaza missile attacks?

BBC Watch

Visitors to the BBC News website’s main homepage, its ‘World’ page or its ‘Middle East’ page on the morning of June 20th were all informed that the people who had fired forty-five military grade projectiles at Israeli civilian communities in the space of some five hours during the previous night are ‘militants’ rather than terrorists.

In typical ‘last-first’ style, the headline to the BBC News website’s report on that story read “Israeli jets strike Gaza after rocket and mortar fire” and the euphemism ‘militants’ was seen again.

“Israeli jets have hit militant positions in Gaza after Palestinians fired rockets and mortars into Israeli territory, the Israeli military said.

The military said 25 targets linked to the militant Hamas movement were hit, in response to a barrage of about 45 rockets and mortar shells.”

Quoting “Gaza’s health ministry” without informing readers that it is run by the same…

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Putting a price on the hair shirt

“the 10 per cent sacrifice (a deliberately chosen act) of annual GDP estimated by NZIER seems to be very much at the low end of the plausible range”

croaking cassandra

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the government’s consultative document on its proposal to target net-zero emissions by 2050, and particularly the commissioned modelling NZIER had undertaken on the likely consequences of each of several options for future real GDP.    As the consultative document itself put it

The analysis by NZIER suggests that GDP will continue to grow but will be in the range of 10 per cent to 22 per cent less in 2050, compared with taking no further action on climate change.

Those are breathtakingly large numbers (future GDP gains) for a government to simply propose walking away from.  As one comparison, high end estimates of the GDP gains from preferential trade agreements (such as CPTPP or the proposed new one with the EU) tend to be about 1 per cent each.

A couple of days ago NZIER’s final report itself was released, making it…

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