Friday, April 12, 2013

Does Retirement Age Impact Mortality?

Does Retirement Age Impact Mortality?

Erik Hernaes et al.  Journal of Health Economics, May 2013, Pages 586–598
Abstract:  The relationship between retirement and mortality is studied with a unique administrative data set covering the full population of Norway. A series of retirement policy changes in Norway reduced the retirement age for a group of workers but not for others. Difference-in-differences estimation based on monthly birth cohorts and treatment group status show that the early retirement programme significantly reduced the retirement age; this holds true also when we account for programme substitution, for example into the disability pension. Instrumental variables estimation results show no effect on mortality of retirement age; neither do estimation results from a hazard rate model.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

The Apotheosis of the Headline-Says-It-All Meme

I like headlines that just say it all.  This one is the best ever:

"Serial Masturbator to Represent Self In Court"

Too easy to make jokes about.  As M.K., who sent the link, notes, something about "blind justice" is the way to go.

Too big to fail

(clic the pic for an even more fiduciary image)

Insurance Companies Can't Charge More to Smokers

So we have all sorts of programs to discourage smoking, based on price.  We tax cigarettes, and we do it at the federal level, but we also do it at state and local levels.  Here is a map of the level of taxes on a pack of coffin nails.

So, as Art Carden says in his haikus (which he spells hiakus....), "Tax something, and you will get less of it."  I'm not sure this is an appropriate use of the tax system, to promote or discourage particular behaviors, but okay.

Still, there is surely one place where having differences in prices for smokers makes sense, right?  In insurance.  Overall, the costs of smokers may even be less than other people, because they die younger.  But in the coming year, if you are 50, the likelihood that you will need medical treatment for all sorts of things is higher if you smoke than if you don't.

But....but....but....the DC Health Commisariate, which taxes smokers extra, just for recreation, refuses to allow insurance companies to charge more for the actual higher costs that smokers impose on the health system per year.  They say the cost is "prohibitive."  But....but....but...if it is THAT expensive, why does it follow that the people who cause the cost shouldn't have to pay it?

A nod to MH

UPDATE:  spelling corrected to "hiakus"

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Economic Progress From Der Horwitz

Economic progress is not the creation of jobs.  It's actually the destruction of jobs that we can do without...because we have progressed.

Hostage Crisis is Fake

This was worrisome, until I realized it has to be a hoax.

I mean, a cut that amounts to less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the budget can't possibly ground 33% of combat aircraft, right?  If the people in charge are competent.

But the real hint is the name of the general in the story.  He's trying to hold the country hostage to the idea that military spending must not be cut at all.  So of course his name is "Gen. Mike Hostage."

Sure it is.  Good one.

Nod to Anonyman

What goes up....

(clic the pic for an even more bubbly image)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

V is for Victory!

Last Friday, writing about our no good, terrible jobs report I said:

The interesting question is whether this is just a soon to be revised blip on the road to full employment or if this is a harbinger of another spring-summer slowdown after a promising fall and winter. Last year showed a definite V shape in job growth as did 2011 to a lesser extent.

In the comments on a subsequent post about bad thesis advisors, I was excoriated for the above statement as follows:

its bogus (because with one reference - one's own eyes - it clearly is bogus). I'm not sure macro is much better than literary theory

OK. So I took the jobs numbers for 2011 and 2012, averaged them by month and plotted the monthly averages. Here's what I got:

Sweet fancy Moses. As I live and breathe, it's a V-SHAPED CYCLE.

Take THAT literary theorists.

Let me see you average Derrida and Foucault by month and get such a nice looking V out of it.

Macro rules.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Shout it from the rooftops! The Myth of the Falling Bridge

All hail to Evan Soltas for this piece, and may the Lord protect him from the wrath of his erstwhile pals.

By all means read the piece, but let me break down the highlights for you:

For the last 40 years, our infrastructure spending has tracked the rich country average, and it has not been falling recently. The quality of the roads we drive on has gone up and the  percentage of "deficient" bridges has gone down (to 21.9% in 2009 from 37.8 in 1989).

In other words, we don't have an infrastructure crisis, we don't need a politically run national infrastructure bank, and, whatever the intrinsic merits of more stimulus may be, we don't have trillions of "no-brainer" investments in infrastructure that are desperately needed.

Maybe, just maybe, we can now stop piously repeating the calls of a special interest group (the American Society of Civil Engineers) for more money to be funneled their way.

Wow! P-Kroog Kicks It OLD School!

You have to give P-Kroog credit.  He is a traditionalist, resurrecting the ridiculous 1950s "debt is just money we owe to ourselves" line, arguing that the size of the debt can't possibly matter.

This piece--by my main man Burt Abrams--does a good job of responding on the merits of the immediate question.

But there is a deeper problem.  James Buchanan actually thoroughly debunked the "what me worry?" line a long time ago.  It's a settled question, and the debt is only a symptom of trouble.  LeBron explained why, quite clearly.  The problem may not be the deficit, per se, though that could eventually be trouble.  The problem is that there is a permanent disconnect between spending and revenue.  The fisc become a fishery, and we overfish common pool resources.

German Thieves Swipe Five Tons of Nutella

Police said Monday an unknown number of culprits made off with 5 metric tons (5.5 tons) of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread from a parked trailer in the central German town of Bad Hersfeld over the weekend.

The gooey loot is worth an estimated 16,000 euros ($20,710). Germans news agency dpa reported that thieves have previously stolen a load of energy drinks from the same location.


Of course, Nutella theft has been going on on this side of the pond, also.  At Columbia University, for example.  

All right, KPC readers, 'fess up!  What food have you lifted, taken, or outright stolen?  Nutella?

Risk is not volatility

Interesting post by Gene Callahan.  He is careful to note that defining "risk" as variance is not nonsense; it's just not what people mean when they say "risk."


Monday, April 08, 2013

Painfully Earnest, Painfully Deaf, or Just Painful

Oh, goodness.

LL Cool J?  Seriously?  To be fair, Brad Paisley is a master of satire.  But if this is satire, it's pretty edgy.

UPDATE:  1.  I meant deaf as in "tone deaf," not "def," because I'm not sure what the latter means.  2.  Apparently it is NOT satire...he actually thinks the song will start a discussion.  That may be right, actually.  3.  If you listen closely, you will hear LL Cool J rap the following line:  "If you don't judge the gold chains/I'll forget the iron chains."  Holy kanarski.

Opinions on Immigration

The Dynamics of Immigration Opinion in the United States, 1992-2012

Christopher Muste Public Opinion Quarterly, forthcoming

 Abstract: Integrating trend data from ANES, GSS, Gallup, Pew, and media surveys from 1992 to 2012, this article updates and extends previous Poll Trends analyses of public opinion about immigration levels, the impacts of recent immigrants, and immigration policies. The combined data demonstrate continued negativity and ambivalence, consistent with earlier reviews, and reveal a pattern of rapid, steep increases in anti-immigrant sentiment in response to events such as the 1994 election and 9/11, followed by declines over several years that stabilize at lower levels. Since 2001, opinions about most aspects of immigration have become less volatile, and consistent differentiation in opinion has emerged. Concerns about job competition and border enforcement are high, whereas fears about other immigration impacts have declined or stabilized and support for deporting illegal immigrants already in the United States is low. To improve understanding of trends in immigration opinion, survey questions about immigration must be asked more often and more consistently.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  An experiment in bureaucratic compliance:  Atheist Shoes.

2.  This...THIS is how you write a headline, friends.

3.  MOOCS.  In the not too distant future.

4.  If there are two you, you can play real PD games.  "Extreme Kidnapping is a company operated by Adam Thick, an entrepreneur and convicted counterfeiter from Oakland County, Michigan. Thick founded Extreme Kidnapping in 2002 after being inspired by the old David Fincher movie The Game...For $500, Adam and his crew will abduct you at gunpoint and hold you hostage for four hours. A thousand bucks gets you ten hours, along with a bit of customized sadism." [The GQ article]

5. He's BACK in the saddle again. He's BACK! 6. The Great Flydini! Steve Martin on Johnny Carson.

6.  As always, I like headlines that pretty much tell the whole story.  As in this case: Butt-baring woman attacks boyfriend and teen with papayas over ‘birthday sex’  Which reminds me: this video on "How to Eat Papayas" is remarkably boring: cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds, like any melon. But the guy has the same crockery that we have Chez Mungowitz.

7. Perhaps she is just confused. Or misspoke.

8.  Economist Hulk tweets...

9.  Actuaries point out that we will not get something for nothing.  What we will get is a lot more cost.

10.  Dr. Neera Badhwar on "Just Market Exchanges."

11.  NY Times reveals, for the 10,007th time, that it has zero understanding of economics or markets.  Several howlers here.  Please do pick your favorite.

12.  Is this the dumbest movie premise in history?  No, but it's close.

13.  Can Austin, TX be Dubai?  Should it be?

14.  Portugal considers paying workers with debt, instead of cash.  Or is there a difference?

15.  My good friend Dr. S. Blackwood on choosing a college.  Interesting and provocative.

16.  Colleges as a "matching" problem...

17.  Joan Baez said "yes" to boys who said "no."  In this poster, at least.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

I Like to Watch

Predicting Young Drivers' Car Crashes: The Role of Music Video Viewing and the Playing of Driving Games. Results from a Prospective Cohort Study

Kathleen Beullens & Jan Van den Bulck
Media Psychology, Winter 2013, Pages 88-114

The aim of the study is to examine whether the playing of driving games and the viewing of music videos during adolescence predict crash involvement in emerging adulthood. A prospective cohort study (N = 471) with a five-year interval was used to measure adolescents' gender, media use, personality characteristics (baseline measurement), and crash involvement (follow-up). At baseline measurement (2006), respondents were 17 or 18 years old and did not yet have their driver's license. Data were analyzed by means of logistic regression analyses and the calculation of attributable risks. Respondents who watched music videos at least several times a week (OR = 4.319) or respondents who played drive'em up games at least a few times a month (OR = 3.125) had a heightened chance of being involved in a car crash five years later, even after controlling for their total media exposure, gender, and personality characteristics. Implications for prevention are discussed