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Miles Kimball

Miles Kimball

Miles Kimball is Professor of Economics and Survey Research at the University of Michigan. Politically, Miles is an independent who grew up in an apolitical family. He holds many strong opinions—open to revision in response to cogent arguments—that do not line up neatly with either the Republican or Democratic Party.

Articles by Miles Kimball

Supply-Side Progressivism—Ezra Klein

2 days ago

I think of the history of “Liberalism” as being much more illustrious than the history of “Progressivism,” and so favor the word “Liberal,” but the “Supply-Side Progressivism” that Ezra Klein has begun advocating is very much in the spirit of the “Supply-Side Liberalism” I have been advocating on this blog since 2012. (See “What is a Supply-Side Liberal?”) Let me dive into Ezra Klein’s September 19, 2021 New York Times op-ed “The Economic Mistake the Left Is Finally Confronting” in some detail. The phrase “Supply-Side Progressivism” is in the link, making me think that was a working title:

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Planet Money and Gillian Brunet on Price Controls during World War II as Perspective on the Debate about Price Controls Now

3 days ago

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A Fact to Keep in Mind When Parsing the Rise in Obesity: The Decline in Smoking Needs to Be Taken into Account

4 days ago

The decline of smoking has made a huge contribution to health. It has also made the obesity statistics look worse. That is especially important to take into account when making inferences from the time series of obesity about the cause of the rise in obesity. The timemoldslimemold blog made part of its argument for environmental contaminants as a cause of obesity from the increase in obesity after 1980, right when smoking was declining. That isn’t the only evidence for the importance of environmental contaminants: wild animals getting fatter and low altitudes being correlated with obesity are especially persuasive.

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Justin Wolfers: More Women Than Men Are Going to College. That May Change the Economy.

5 days ago

This article is part of our latest DealBook special report on the trends that will shape the coming decades.Walk across any college campus these days, and you will notice a striking gender imbalance: There are roughly three women students for every two men, according to data from the educational nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse.It’s the result of a decades-long trend, in which women have not only closed the historical gender gap in educational attainment, but have surpassed the college-going rates of men. And that trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down: The latest enrollment numbers for spring 2021 show a record gap between the sexes.For younger generations of men and women, the opening act of their adult lives is likely to follow quite different scripts. It’s a difference likely

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Jordan Peterson: No One Gets Away with Anything

6 days ago

The Book of Mormon says 4 times that “no unclean thing” can “dwell with God”/“inherit the kingdom of heaven”/“enter into his kingdom”:Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, ye must be cast off forever. (1 Nephi 10:21)And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins. (Alma 11:27)But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean,

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Robert Hicks: The Best Exercises to Improve Your Grip Strength

7 days ago

There’s a reason why grip strength is so important: you require it for almost every activity. Let’s put the weights to one side for a moment. When you pick up a box, when you move a chair, when you’re vacuuming, frying an egg or even driving, you’re calling upon your grip strength. Cricket, golf, tennis, rugby – they all require good grip, too. Yep, and before you ask, badminton does as well, if that’s your thing…It’s also – and don’t tell everyone or they’ll all be at it – one of the quickest ways to bigger lifts, faster muscle and serious training gains. Think about it. Your bicep curls, your hanging leg raises, your farmer’s walks. How often has it been your grip that’s let you down? How many times have you been chest pressing, only for your wrists to ache? They give up or ‘pinch’

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Greg Mankiw’s Advice for New Junior Faculty

8 days ago

A reader emails me:

I’ve read your "Advice for…" blog posts with interest. They’re truly helpful. But now I’ve finished the job market and I have a tenure-track position at a research university. Can you post an "Advice for Junior Faculty" next?

Okay, here goes:
Your focus should be on getting papers published in refereed journals. Everything else is secondary.
Do not be a perfectionist. It is tempting to keep revising your dissertation chapters until you are completely satisfied with them before sending them off to a journal. The problem is that you may never be completely satisfied. Meanwhile, the editorial review process is unconscionably long, and your tenure review is approaching. So don’t delay. If you just got a job as an assistant professor at Bigshot University, aim

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An Example of Ideology Leading to Bad Statistics and Social Injustice

9 days ago

My post “Adding a Variable Measured with Error to a Regression Only Partially Controls for that Variable” scolds statistical practitioners for all to often assume that adding a variable to a regression controls for that variable, when almost all such variables are measured with error. The math then shows that adding a variable measured with classical error yields a result between what one would get with a pristine version of the added variable measured without error and omitting that variable entirely. Thus, adding a variable measured with error only partially controls for that variable.But there is something worse

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Sanjay Gupta’s Five Pillars of Brain Health: Move, Discover, Relax, Nourish, Connect

11 days ago

Sanjay Gupta’s book Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age is all about improving cognitive functioning. Early in the book, Sanjay points to five pillars of brain health. As a teaser for the book, let me quote a bit on each of these five pillars, adding :Move. … Exercise, both aerobic and nonaerobic (strength training), is not only good for the body; it’s even better for the brain. … Physical exertion, in fact, has thus far been the only thing we’ve scientifically documented to improve brain health and function. … the connection between physical fitness and brain fitness is clear, direct, and powerful. Movement

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The Federalist Papers #46: Cities and States Have a Strong Position in Struggles with the Federal Government—James Madison

13 days ago

Because of the Civil War, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, the Great Depression and the great wars of the 20th century, the US federal government is much stronger now than it was between the ratification of the US Constitution and the US Civil War. Yet state and local governments still have a fighting chance in many battles with the federal government. People often deplore the governments of other states and localities resisting the federal government, but support the government of their state or locality resisting the federal government. On the one hand, Republican-dominated states have gone

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2021’s Most Popular Posts

16 days ago

The "Key Posts" link in navigation at the top of my blog lists all important posts through the end of 2016. Along with "2017’s Most Popular Posts," “2018’s Most Popular Posts,” “2019’s Most Popular Posts,” and “2020’s Most Popular Posts,” this is intended as a complement to that list. (Also, my most popular storified Twitter discussions are here, and you can see other recent posts by clicking on the Archive link at the top of my blog.) Continuing this tradition, I give links to the most popular posts in the 2021 below into six groups: popular new posts in 2021 on diet and health, popular new posts in 2021 on

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New Year’s Gratitude on the Occasion of the Marshall Fire

21 days ago

It is said that, on average, Olympic winners of a bronze medal feel happier than winners of a silver medal. For a bronze medal, the salient alternative is no medal at all, while for a silver medal, the salient alternative is a gold medal. Our house in Superior is in the subdivision just south of the southeast end of the Marshall Fire that has raged in Superior and Louisville Colorado the last few days. Valiant efforts of firefighters to contain the fire mostly kept it from reaching as far as our house. And finally snow has put an end to the fire. My heart goes out to all the people who did lose their homes. And I

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A Megastudy Finds that Reward Points Beat Out Other Interventions in Getting People to the Gym

22 days ago

It’s tough to keep up a gym routine. Even before Covid-19 caused a mass exodus of members, some surveys and other sources reveal two-thirds of gym memberships go unused. We’re good at signing up, it seems, less good at showing up. But there may be an easy, low-cost way to entice people back to the hallowed halls of exercise.The discovery — In a new “megastudy,” thirty psychologists tried out 53 gym motivation strategies on 61,293 members of the gym chain 24 Hour Fitness. The results were published Wednesday in Nature.The most effective motivational techniques were not based on guilt, shame, or promises of a healthier, happier body and mind. Rather, the most motivation came from giving members a tiny amount of credit points to their Amazon account per gym visit. Even if the credit amounted

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Ugly Economists

23 days ago

In many professions, it is a huge advantage to be good-looking. In economics, one can be quite ugly and still honored—just look at a lot of photographs of Nobel laureates in economics sometime. As other professions draw in the especially good-looking folks because being good-looking is an advantage there, one can predict that economics will be left, at all levels, with folks who are less good-looking than other professionals. There is some evidence for this among academics, shown above. A nice blog post on “hotness” across disciplines can be found a few years back at crookedtimber.org.To me, it is a credit to

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Christmas Dinner at the Kimballs’, Anno Domini 2021

25 days ago

My son Jordan and his fiancee Caroline are visiting us for the holidays. Caroline put together the wonderful feast you can see above. You can see what Caroline did 3 years ago in “Christmas Dinner 2018 with the Kimballs in Colorado.” And a few days ago we did full-scale hot pot. I am enjoying the feasting fully. I simply balance out the feasting with fasting before and after. See “Fasting Before Feasting.” One nice thing is that by avoiding sugar and other easily digested carbs except on rare occasions, I have reduced the size of the insulin kick when on those rare occasions I do eat sugar—as in the pie and the eggnog—or other

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Negative Brainstorming: Gary Klein, Tim Koller, and Dan Lovallo on Premortems

26 days ago

Despite their best intentions, executives fall prey to cognitive and organizational biases that get in the way of good decision making. In this series, we highlight some of them and offer a few effective ways to address them.
Our topic this time?
Premortems: Being smart at the start
The dilemma
Your company just finished launching a parking app for a large US city—but lots went wrong along the way. Development and rollout were delayed because financing and system updates took longer than expected. Pilot tests revealed unanticipated flaws in the software and the physical infrastructure. The app hadn’t been configured for all computing platforms, for instance, and sensors embedded in parking areas in some parts of the city failed to communicate with central servers that fed the app. A

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The Gods of Science and of Speculation

27 days ago

Soon after I began attending the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor in 2000, I took Ken Phifer’s “Building Your Own Theology Course.” One product of that class was a talk I gave that Fall that I posted two weeks ago: “Miles Kimball: Leaving Mormonism.” Another product is the document that you see below, entitled “The Gods of Science and Speculation,” dated November 18, 2000.I believe that the truth is very big—much bigger than any human conception of it.  Through the progress of science, I expect the coming centuries to bring astounding revelations about the nature of the Universe, and through the

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How the Historical Jesus Set the Oppressed Free

December 23, 2021

“Truly He taught us to love one anotherHis law is love and His gospel is peaceChains shall He break, for the slave is our brotherAnd in His name all oppression shall cease” — 4th verse of “O Holy Night” The accomplishments of many great religious figures become even more impressive if one is a nonsupernaturalist …

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Brain Plasticity: Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together

December 21, 2021

“Neurons that fire together wire together” is a typical way of summarizing the now very well-supported Hebbian theory that (in the words of the current version of the Wikipedia article “Hebbian theory”) can be described more precisely as… an increase in synaptic efficacy arises from a presynaptic cell’s repeated and persistent stimulation of a postsynaptic cell.The more often the firing of one neuron stimulates another to fire, the stronger and more efficient that causal connection becomes. Conversely, if a neuronal pathway isn’t used very often, that pathway becomes weaker. The upshot is that our brains are

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The Federalist Papers #45: James Madison Predicts a Small Federal Government

December 19, 2021

In the Federalist Papers #45, James Madison answers the charge that the proposed Constitution will reduce the power of the states by arguing:That if reduced state power had to follow unavoidably from the necessary powers of the federal government laid out in the proposed constitution, then so be it—the welfare of the people mattered more than the status of the states. That the federal government would, in fact, be relatively small. That history showed that people tended to have more loyalty to governments nearer to them. Because state legislatures choose the senators and the electors who choose the president, the

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Adnan Ab: What and Where are Extra Dimensions?

December 18, 2021

It is widely believed that we live in a four-dimensional world comprised of length, width, height, and time. But the mathematics of string theory, the current theoretical framework that we use to explain the universe, does not work in our four-dimensional world.
String theory states that quarks, which are the building blocks of subatomic particles like protons and neutrons, are made up of tiny strings that vibrate at different frequencies to give them their unique properties. The reason string theory doesn’t fit our three spatial dimensions is that the strings, in theory, don’t have enough room to wiggle and bring about the unique properties of quarks. Therefore, in recent years, scientists have suggested a very intriguing idea: there might actually be more than four dimensions.String

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