How Politicians Can Use Big Data to Win Elections


.@EconomicPolicy How does this become an argument for rather than against doubling the minimum wage to $15?

The essence of Josh Wright’s FTC tenure was to ensure that benefits outweigh costs; the rest is commentary

Truth on the Market

As the organizer of this retrospective on Josh Wright’s tenure as FTC Commissioner, I have the (self-conferred) honor of closing out the symposium.

When Josh was confirmed I wrote that:

The FTC will benefit enormously from Josh’s expertise and his error cost approach to antitrust and consumer protection law will be a tremendous asset to the Commission — particularly as it delves further into the regulation of data and privacy. His work is rigorous, empirically grounded, and ever-mindful of the complexities of both business and regulation…. The Commissioners and staff at the FTC will surely… profit from his time there.

Whether others at the Commission have really learned from Josh is an open question, but there’s no doubt that Josh offered an enormous amount from which they could learn. As Tim Muris said, Josh “did not disappoint, having one of the most important and memorable tenures of any…

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More direct democracy or a more directed democracy in populist-run Italy?

The Constitution Unit Blog

downloadFor the first time since its inception, the Five Star Movement finds itself in government, with the stated intention of increasing the use of direct democracy by increasing the circumstances in which a national referendum can be held. Carlo Fusaro examines the proposals and their potential impact on Italian democracy. 

This post intends to report on the most recent initiatives concerning referendums by the new populist majority in Italy, as represented in the government formed by the Five Star Movement (M5S) and by the League (formerly known as the Northern League), following the 4 March 2018 elections.

The proposals

While the two vice-premiers Matteo Salvini and Luigi di Maio have been making headlines in other areas, Riccardo Fraccaro, a University of Trento graduate in international environmental law who serves as the minister for relations with parliament and direct democracy, has recently announced the constitutional reform strategy of the Cabinet.


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Critical Junctures and Path Dependency in “Why Nations Fail”: Implications for U.S. Foreign Aid Policy

Why nations fail is a great book and a great read but reviewers like David Levine were quite good in pointing out its many flaws.

Notes On Liberty

Greeted with wide acclaim, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Povertyshould put to bed all debate on using foreign aid to promote economic development on a national level.

Authors Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson effectively deploy path dependency to explain the trajectories of the political institutions that form the core of their argument: Nations with “inclusive” political institutions succeed economically whereas those saddled with extractive” political institutions fail. Citing cases from myriad times and places, the authors demonstrate the relationship between political institutions and economic development. The authors tether their argument to Schumpeter’s idea of creative destruction in the marketplace: No creative destruction, no long-term development. Nations encumbered by extractive political institutions typically privilege monopoly. And so, over time, their economies atrophy.

So far, so good. In deploying path dependency to explain why institutions, once in place, tend to persist, authors add a solid…

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Jason Brennan on why capitalism is a better utopia than socialism