Thursday, August 20, 2009
From the latest issue of the Economist, "Two recent papers—one by James Heckman of Chicago University and Sergio Urzua of Northwestern University, and another by Angus Deaton of Princeton—are sharply critical of this approach. The authors argue that the causal effects that instrumental strategies identify are uninteresting because such techniques often give answers to narrow questions. The results from the quarter-of-birth study, for example, do not say much about the returns from education for college graduates, whose choices were unlikely to have been affected by when they were legally eligible to drop out of school. According to Mr Deaton, using such instruments to estimate causal parameters is like choosing to let light 'fall where it may, and then proclaim[ing] that whatever it illuminates is what we were looking for all along.' "
However, "proponents of instrumental variables also argue that accurate answers to narrower questions are more useful than unreliable answers to wider questions." This sounds true, however, just as Prof. Deaton argues, and it also seems to me, that instrumental variables may encourage economists to avoid “thinking about how and why things work”. More deeply, "striking a balance between accuracy of result and importance of issue is tricky".
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
You can watch this lecture online.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Many of his ideas in this lecture are coming from his earlier published book, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics, which was selected by the Economist magazine as one of the best books published in 2008.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
In the talk, Romer suggests that we rethink sovereignty (respect borders, but maybe create new systems of administrative control); rethink citizenship (allowing perhaps for voice without residency as well as residency without voice); and rethink scale (instead of focusing on nations, focus on new cities). If nations are willing to experiment along these lines, they can create new places, places that can give more people access to the kind of rules that they would like to live and work under, and places that can sustain the historical process of entry and innovation in national systems of rules.
Romer has already launched a website, Charter Cities, for further exploration and eventual application of this idea.
The Strategy Research Initiative began as an informal gathering of mid-career strategy scholars in the hinterlands of Nova Scotia in 2007. The goal of the gathering was to create an organization of like-minded colleagues dedicated to the creation of institutions designed to advance research in strategy.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
1. Gregory Clark, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (2007).
2. Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Birdzell, Jr., How the West Grew Rich (1986).
3. Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997).
4. John Nye, War, Wine and Taxes (2007).
5. Douglas Irwin, Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade (1996).
6. Kevin O’Rourke and Jeffrey Williamson, Globalization and History (1999).
7. Jeffry Frieden, Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century (2006).
8. Barry Eichengreen, Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System, second edition (2008).
9. Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, The Commanding Heights (1997).
10. Paul Blustein, The Chastening (2001).
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