Saturday, August 02, 2014

Behavioral/Ideological Selection?

An interesting question:  Suppose all the people who believe abortion is okay to use as birth control actually do that.  And don't have kids.

And the people who disagree...DO have kids.

Over time, might the composition of the electorate change?

Differential Fertility as a Determinant of Trends in Public Opinion about Abortion in the United States 

Alex Kevern & Jeremy Freese 
Northwestern University Working Paper, July 2014 

Abstract: Differential fertility is frequently overlooked as a meaningful force in longitudinal public opinion change. We examine the effect of fertility on abortion attitudes, a useful case study due to their strong correlation with family size and high parent-child correlation. We test the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population using 34 years of GSS data (1977-2010). We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes, and consistent evidence that differential fertility between pro-life and pro-choice individuals has had a significant effect on this pattern. Future studies should account for differential fertility as a meaningful force of cohort replacement in studies of public opinion where parents and children are likely to share the same attitude. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pelsmin Guest Post: The Paradox of India

Frequent commenter/long-time reader Pelsmin is visiting India, and shared these thoughts.  More below the fold...


This week I visited Bangalore to tour facilities of my new employer, an outsourcing engineering firm with most of our employees based in India. Companies use us to develop technology better, cheaper and faster.

When President Obama rails against un-patriotic American companies “outsourcing” their work, he’s referring to our customers. And incidentally, he means “offshoring.” Outsourcing is the completely un-objectionable process of allowing another firm, possibly based across the street, to handle non-core business activities. Peter Drucker championed the concept half a century ago and it has led to vast improvements in competitiveness and productivity, and countless American job gains.

 Offshoring can be done without outsourcing, by changing the location of a company’s own employees to India, and outsourcing can be done without offshoring, by transferring work from your own employees to more productive labor situated in the US. They may originate from another country. Think H1 visa.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Tunapanda just exceeded their new goal of $20,000, but we still haven't raised enough for a financial literacy content-creation person.

Our new goal is $975 more (by tomorrow) to help spread financial literacy!  Contribute here (I'm giving $100, myself...)

There is a small but nascent free-market movement in East Africa that could use some educational tools, as you can gather from this article

Since the Left Doesn't Like Violence, Why Do They Want More?

It does seem paradoxical.  Our leftist brothers and sisters decry violence, and then say we need a larger state.  But the state IS violence.  That's really all the state can do.

And the state attracts those people for whom committing violence causes the least distress. It may be that they feel they are "just following orders," or that they are serving the public, of course.

But the state also attracts the fringe that just likes to commit violence because it's fun.

This is pretty rough.

Some comments.

My question:  If you really think "this shit's gotta stop," why are you constantly pressing for a larger and more powerful state?  If you want to stop, then stop it.

First Moon Party

This is uncomfortable and funny.

And yet another reason that I thank merciful God in heaven that we were blessed with boys.

The product is "Hello Flo."  Yes, it is.  And it's a real product.  "Special delivery for your crimson tide."  Gott im Himmel.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday's Child

Monday's Child was full, so Tuesday's Child (normally "full of grace") had to take some links.

1.  Are drones model airplanes, or commercial vehicles?  And does the answer ONLY depend on who is flying them?

2.  Churches need more joy.  A priest who dances flamenco is joyful.

3.  Four governors in four days.

4.  Feel the buzz, and then turn that way.  Smart shoes?

5.  Jon Stewart on Mr. Cuomo.  Since Mr. Cuomo is unprincipled thug bent on using legal power to extort money, I'm not sure why this surprises anyone.  Anthony Cuomo is impossible to caricature.  He's straight out of an Ayn Rand novel, the character that you say, "This is ridiculous.  No one could be this clueless."  Well, Cuomo is not clueless.  He just has no ability to feel shame or recognize irony.  It's just power, and theft.

6.  This is not very mysterious.  Proving once again that the NYTimes has abandoned journalism.

Headline for the Ages:  

Married Chinese man suffering from stomach ache goes to the doctor and learns he is actually a female

(To be fair, this "actually" raises a question about "actually."  who's to say he is "actually" anything?  What he actually has is a genetic aberration.  What he "actually" is up to him.)

Toddler Sets Jeep Loose, Runs Back Inside to Watch Cartoons.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  We just want to help you.  But we need to know a lot about you.

2.  In the future, everyone will be fined for 15 minutes.  We'll fine you if you water, we'll fine you if you don't.  How much is "too much"?  We'll fine you if you ask.

3.  Violence is wrong.  But sometimes, a 72 year old man has just had enough.  Buzz Aldrin punches an idiot.  And the idiot needed to be punched.

4.  Roko's Basilisk.

5.  Drive free....until we repossess. Incentives matter, part 2045671.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Somewhere on the road between Norman and Santa Fe

Angus recently drove from Norman to Santa Fe.

And this sign was vandalized.

Coincidence?  Oh, I don't THINK so.

Human Capital

Human Capital and Industrialization: Evidence from the Age of Enlightenment 

Mara Squicciarini & Nico Voigtländer 
NBER Working Paper, June 2014 

Abstract: While human capital is a strong predictor of economic development today, its importance for the Industrial Revolution is typically assessed as minor. To resolve this puzzling contrast, we differentiate average human capital (worker skills) from upper tail knowledge both theoretically and empirically. We build a simple spatial model, where worker skills raise the local productivity in a given technology, while scientific knowledge enables local entrepreneurs to keep up with a rapidly advancing technological frontier. The model predicts that the local presence of knowledge elites is unimportant in the pre-industrial era, but drives growth thereafter; worker skills, in contrast, are not crucial for growth. To measure the historical presence of knowledge elites, we use city-level subscriptions to the famous Encyclopédie in mid-18th century France. We show that subscriber density is a strong predictor of city growth after 1750, but not before the onset of French industrialization. Alternative measures of development confirm this pattern: soldier height and industrial activity are strongly associated with subscriber density after, but not before, 1750. Literacy, on the other hand, does not predict growth. Finally, by joining data on British patents with a large French firm survey from 1837, we provide evidence for the mechanism: upper tail knowledge raised the productivity in innovative industrial technology. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis