Monday, June 07, 2010

For immediate release: OU gets a new supercomputer

Now my Matlab programs will fly!

Papers to Read

Global effects of fiscal stimulus during the crisis

Charles Freedman, Michael Kumhof, Douglas Laxton, Dirk Muir & Susanna Mursula
Journal of Monetary Economics, forthcoming

Abstract: The IMF's Global Integrated Monetary and Fiscal Model is used to compute short-run multipliers of fiscal stimulus measures and long-run crowding-out effects of higher debt. Multipliers of two-year stimulus range from 0.2 to 2.2 depending on the fiscal instrument, the extent of monetary accommodation and the presence of a financial accelerator mechanism. A permanent 10 percentage point increase in the U.S. debt to GDP ratio raises the U.S. tax burden and world real interest rates in the long run, thereby reducing U.S. and rest of the world output by 0.3 to 0.6 percent and 0.2 to 0.3 percent, respectively.


Social Welfare Expenditures in the United States and the Nordic Countries: 1900-2003

Price Fishback
NBER Working Paper, May 2010

Abstract: The extent of social expenditures in the U.S. and the Nordic Countries is compared in the early 1900s and again in the early 2000s. The common view that America spends much less on social welfare than the Nordic countries does not survive closer inspection when we consider the differences in the structures of social expenditures. The standard comparison examines gross social expenditures. After adjustments for direct and indirect taxes paid, the net social expenditures in the Nordic countries are much closer to American levels. Inclusion of mandatory and private social expenditures raises the American share of GDP devoted to social expenditures to rank among the middle of the Nordic countries. Per capita net public social expenditures in the U.S. rank behind only Sweden. Add in the private spending, and per capita spending in the U.S. is higher than in all of the Nordic countries. Finally, I document the enormous diversity across time and place in public social expenditures in the U.S. in the early 1900s and circa 1990.

(Tyler has already discussed this one a bit...)


Capitalism and freedom?

Frederic Pryor
Economic Systems, March 2010, Pages 91-104

Abstract: This essay tests Milton Friedman's conjecture that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. For the decade around 2000 indices of the degree of capitalism and the degree of political freedom are highly correlated and provide plausibility for Friedman's conjecture. In looking at changes over time in the nineteenth century, however, the analysis refutes Friedman's conjecture. These apparently contradictory results are reconciled by showing that both capitalism and freedom are related to such variables as the educational level of the population so that, although not causally tied, they are correlated in a cross-national comparison.


Is H.A. Simon a theoretician of decentralized planning? A comparison with
F.A. Hayek on planning, market, and organizations

Stefano Fiori
Constitutional Political Economy, June 2010, Pages 145-170

Abstract: Herbert A. Simon acknowledged Friedrich A. Hayek as a founder of the notion of bounded rationality; yet Simon considered Hayek’s perspective incomplete, and, more in general, their views on market mechanisms, planning, and organization exhibit considerable differences. The comparison between these authors sheds light on Simon’s interpretation of planning, which emerges within his theory of organization (and not in traditional debates on socialism). Contrary to Hayek, he maintained that planning, in specific circumstances, is more advantageous than the market; and in both administration and organization, it involves a decentralized structure based on near independent sub-units. Decentralization of decisions also appears in social planning, which evolves through continuous interactions among
planners (i.e., agents and institutions), and it is a process connoted by the absence of “fixed goals”. Finally, Simon defined modern economies more in terms of “organizational economies” than in those of “market economies” and this highlights a further difference with respect to the Austrian economist. This leads to analysis of the nature of organizations as hierarchical and “near-decomposable” structures, which refers to Simon’s theory of complexity and gives an epistemological explanation to the relation between centralization and decentralization.

Friday, June 04, 2010

here be monsters

It is really freakin' hot here in Angusland. Dry too. Luckily for us, our local newpaper has decided to publish water conservation tips.

Like this one:

"When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs."

People, can I get a WTF?

What kind of pet does the Norman Transcript think I have, a full grown African elephant? A camel?

Would my shrubs really notice the remnants of my dog's quart sized water bowl getting dumped on them at night?

With Cochlear Implants, Little Jonathan hears his mama

It's pretty easy to make me cry. This did it. (Nod to the NCM)

Who's on first?

The "heard on the street" section of today's WSJ reports that Greek tourism workers had scheduled a press conference to announce a strike, but realized at the last minute that the Greek journalists were already on strike and thus unlikely to attend the conference, prompting its postponement until such time that the journalists might be available.

Whatever the over/under is on Greek default, I'll take the under.

These aren't the droids you're looking for...

Observatory as R2-D2. Story.

Here is a video. Odd that it is 90 degrees rotated. Still, not bad.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Bill Lumaye Show

Did Bill Lumaye show, 4-5 pm on Thursdays as always.

Talked about LLRW decision (which I used to work on, with Dennis Coates...especially these papers from long ago...

Coates, D., and M. Munger, Strategizing in Small Group Decision Making: Host State Identification in the Southeast Compact, Public Choice, vol. 82 (1995), pp. 1-16.

Coates, D., V. Heid, and M. Munger, Not Equitable, Not Efficient: U.S. Policy on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol. 13 (1994), pp. 526-541.

Interesting that the Sup Ct finally decided that the NC could keep the $80 million they stole.

But then we talked about....of course, Armond Galaraga. Callers leaned toward "leave it be," and Dutch Boy wrote an email to the same effect. Dutch Boy said:

For the record: keep the bad call from last night, painful as it is. I hate even the instant replay on the homers.

I don't know. I agree about the bad call being uncorrectable. But the home runs thing is easy to fix, and doesn't take long.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Euvoluntary II

I presented the Euvoluntary Exchange paper (informally) today at the IHS Liberty and Society Conference.

Anyone who wants a copy of the paper can find it here...




My man, Joe Ramiro Garcia has taken things up a notch with his latest exhibition. He is going all Edward Hopper on me! Mrs. A and I have 4 of his earlier paintings. This is perhaps my favorite of those four:

Here are a couple from his new exhibit, which is opening this weekend in one of my favorite galleries:

See what I mean?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Duke 2, Indiana 0

NCAA title games....

Duke 2

State of Indiana 0

I'm just sayin'.

Lean on your Staff

A little piece on working with staff, in the CHE.

I was NOT good at this, at the beginning. And I'm still not, let's be honest. It's hard to do well.

This cartoon is all too accurate, I'm afraid...
But I wrote down the things I now know would make me, or anyone, a little better at figuring out how to work with a staff in an academic department.

Not the Onion: MILFs get pounded

Okay, yes, the fact that I find this funny means that I am a bad person.

But I find it funny: "Air Force pounds MILF lairs with rockets." (And including "MILF" several times in a post will improve our hits dramatically....)

(Nod to Angry Alex)

When enough is enough

I am not a big fan of the "must get 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff" electoral system in Presidential Democracies.

Consider the current case of Colombia:

Santos got 46.5% and his nearest challenger, Mockus, got around 21.5%.

Where I come from, people, that's an ass-whoopin'.

There's no need for the time and expense of another round of voting.

Couldn't you make the runoff conditional?

Like if one candidate gets 40% or more and more than twice as many votes as the second place finisher, then no second round will be held?

Shouldn't Mockus just back down now and accept that, in the words of Mo Udall, "the voters have spoken, those bastards!"

Whats wrong with just letting the highest vote getter win, regardless of their absolute percentage, like the USA and Mexico?

Lib Nat Conv: Back Now

Whoa. The LP National Convention was pretty darned tiring. Didn't help that we had to drive Raleigh to St Louis to Raleigh. That's 1,700 miles for the round trip.

But we got to see some great stuff. I enjoyed giving the main banquet speech (Neil Boortz out, Munger in! Strange...), and Dr. Mary Ruwart did a terrific job raising big $$ for ballot access.

We elected a new LNC.

And, of course, Starchild was in the house. This outfit, I thought was a tour de force. (Picture from Mike S., who is the one wearing the blue sirt, and no top hat).

I feel I have to explain about Starchild. He is beloved, and rightly so. Sure, the way he dresses is a bit over top / under the bottom / whatever you want to say. But he is amazingly charismatic, gentle, and serious. His message is of real brother / sisterhood, and that you have to look past the outside, whether it's skin color or feather boas (or, as in the picture above, a big black bow tied like a present over a black silk thong) to see the real person. If that is not the core of libertarianism I don't know what is. Starchild is the best, seriously. (And the ladies in our delegation were pretty vocal in their admiration of Starchild's hard work at the gym, and were glad that he was willing to share it publicly. Some things are complex, and some are simple. Starchild is mostly pretty simple, in the best possible way...)

Elderly prof ISO a sexy E-reader

People, I need help. usually when I travel I pack a boatload of books that brutally weigh me down. For example, on our trip to Brazil last summer, Mrs. Angus and I brought 12 books.

So I guess that makes me a candidate for an e-reader.

But, the marketplace is pretty confusing to me. Kindle? Kindle DX? iPad? Kindle for iPad? Nook?

Can you guys break it down for me and help me out?

Are there extra costs beyond the machine and the book downloads, like data transfer costs / contracts? How much worse is the iPad screen for reading than the Kindle's? What is battery life like? How rugged are these products?