Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hit Me! Hit Me! Hit Me With Your Selfie Stick!

Bad selfies.  They happen.  Not everyone wants to immortalize one in a tattoo, but that happens, also.

I have to admit, selfie-ing rarely occurs to me. (There was this, with "ties to both schools," but you see how that turned out).  I usually take a photo of a scene.  My big head is not an asset (though I admit there are people, including the LMM, who sometimes question whether I actually KNOW my head from my asset).

There is apparently a backlash against selfies.  But then I don't go to places like Disney World any more, or even to Disney World itself.  So I'm not a soldier in that fight. Some soldiers are taking selfies, though perhaps in a different fight.

Still, out of respect for frequent reader Shirley, a remembrance (with thanks to WH for the find):

Oh, and if you find the title obscure...  I was curious if this is a trope: Yes, yes it is.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

...And The Pursuit of Happiness

A two-fer!

Culture Shapes Whether the Pursuit of Happiness Predicts Higher or Lower Well-Being 

Brett Ford et al.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract: Pursuing happiness can paradoxically impair well-being. Here, the authors propose the potential downsides to pursuing happiness may be specific to individualistic cultures. In collectivistic (vs. individualistic) cultures, pursuing happiness may be more successful because happiness is viewed — and thus pursued — in relatively socially engaged ways. In 4 geographical regions that vary in level of collectivism (United States, Germany, Russia, East Asia), we assessed participants’ well-being, motivation to pursue happiness, and to what extent they pursued happiness in socially engaged ways. Motivation to pursue happiness predicted lower well-being in the United States, did not predict well-being in Germany, and predicted higher well-being in Russia and in East Asia. These cultural differences in the link between motivation to pursue happiness and well-being were explained by cultural differences in the socially engaged pursuit of happiness. These findings suggest that culture shapes whether the pursuit of happiness is linked with better or worse well-being, perhaps via how people pursue happiness.


Narcissism and United States’ Culture: The View From Home and Around the World 

 Joshua Miller et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract: The issue of Americans’ levels of narcissism is subject to lively debate. The focus of the present research is on the perception of national character (PNC) of Americans as a group. In Study 1, American adults (N = 100) rated Americans as significantly more narcissistic than they perceived themselves and acquaintances. In Study 2, this finding was replicated with American college students (N = 322). PNC ratings of personality traits and externalizing behaviors revealed that Americans were perceived as disagreeable and antisocial as well. In Study 3, we examined the broader characteristics associated with PNC ratings (N = 183). Americans rated the typical American as average on a variety of characteristics (e.g., wealth, education, health, likability) and PNC ratings of narcissism were largely unrelated to these ratings. In Study 4 (N = 1202) Americans rated PNCs for different prespecified groups of Americans; as expected, PNC ratings of narcissism differed by gender, age, and occupational status such that American males, younger Americans, and Americans working in high-visibility and status occupations were seen as more narcissistic. In Study 5 (N = 733), citizens of 4 other world regions (Basque Country, China, England, Turkey) rated members of their own region as more narcissistic than they perceived themselves, but the effect sizes were smaller than those found in the case of Americans’ perceptions of Americans. Additionally, members of these other regions rated Americans as more narcissistic than members of their own region. Finally, in Study 6, participants from around the world (N = 377) rated Americans as more narcissistic, extraverted, and antagonistic than members of their own countries. We discuss the role that America’s position as a global economic and military power, paired with a culture that creates and reifies celebrity figures, may play in leading to perceptions of Americans as considerably narcissistic.
Nod to Kevin Lewis

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

"One of things just doesn't belong here, and now it's time to play our game!"

Usually I see the Washington Center for Equitable Growth in the usual convoluted cross-chain of Brad DeLong links and sub-links and can't make hide nor hair of what may or may not be going on.

But this morning Brad tweeted a straight up link to an article there by Nick Bunker that made me sit up and take notice.

It is called "What does and does not boost Economic Growth"

Good topic. Kudos.

Unfortunately, the post considers 3 policies. (1) Investment, (2) paid family leave, (3) Ideas.

We are told "under Solow’s framework, adding more capital and labor will only temporarily boost growth, and the pace of growth in the long run will eventually go back to where it was before. What needs to be increased, then, is productivity."


But for many countries increasing capital and labor has provided increased growth for decades. The east asian "miracle" was not a primarily a productivity miracle but rather an accumulation miracle.

How is this possible? Well the speed of convergence to a new equilibrium growth path is slow so the temporary boost can last a long time. Also, if you keep increasing capital, the path keeps shifting up! See China.

Then, incredibly, the article segues into,  "policies like the one proposed by Equitable Growth’s Heather Boushey that help workers balance work and family responsibilities are important to boost overall economic growth."

Heather's article is about paid family leave. Yes, paying people not to work will raise economic growth. Who knew?

No models to cite, no evidence given, no idea that there might be a cost-benefit analysis to consider, just toss it out there like it's obvious and move on.

Finally, we are told that Romer's endogenous growth model puts ideas at the center of long run growth. Totally true. But in Romer's model, the level of ideas affect the rate of growth, because there are non-diminishing returns. This has been pretty comprehensively beaten down, mostly by Charles Jones.

Note that if we allow for non-diminishing returns to capital (the AK model) investment increases can permanently raise growth.

I would be so bold as to venture that over a 20 year horizon a boost in investment would do much more for growth than instituting paid family leave.  I guess maybe that's one reason why I'm not writing for the Washington Center of Equitable Growth.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Arrgh, I've been name-shamed by Marc F. Bellemare!!!

Over at the interestingly named Marc F., there is a pro-IV post.

A very good point is actually raised, namely that in some very cool cases you can get random assignment of the instrument. Here I totally agree that you are on solid ground.

I can actually argue further against my former self and point out that Fuzzy RD models ARE IV models.

Whoever writes at Marc F. also appears to somewhat agree with me saying that,

Don’t get me wrong: If you are going to use an observational IV, you do need to think very carefully about how and why it meets the exclusion restriction. And if it does meet it, you need to pray that it will be a relevant IV. But there are clear cases where IV works, and that is especially the case in a setting where you randomly assign the IV, or in quasi experimental settings where people are assigned to some treatment at random (e.g., Angrist’s famous Vietnam draft lottery setting).

Again, I agree these are clear cases. But they are a tiny minority of the cases where IV is used.

Look at a typical dynamic panel paper. it uses a test for no second order autocorrelation, generally accepting if the P level is worse than 0.10,  so all variables lagged twice or more can be instruments. Then a second test, Sargan or affiliated, of OVERidentification again accepting the null with a P worse that say 0.10, and then claim to have validated their identification strategy.

Two consecutive filters with little to no power to fail to reject a false null, a test that doesn't test what you are claiming, and voila, SCIENCE.

In other news, Me and Mungowitz are looking into legally changing our blog's name to Marc F.

Wish us luck!

Cutting the pay, or cutting the cheese?

Were these folks the victim of blatant gasism?  Or were they let go because they had trouble cutting the pay?

It's a Jersey thing.