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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

Daniel Burns on Liberal Practice v. Liberal Theory

2 days ago

“Liberal Practice v. Liberal Theory” is a long-read via John Davidson. The title of this post is a link. It is related to my political philosophy posts, for which links are collected here:Here are my favorite two passages. This one is Daniel Burns himself:Eventually, our future statesmen must also be formed by studying the many non-ideological texts within the tradition of American political thought, of which the Federalist Papers remain the unsurpassed exemplar. And they must be formed by reading, without help from any ideological narrative or cheat sheet, the texts on politics that formed the thinking of American statesmen from James

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Should Those Whose Main Symptom is Chest Pains Get Stent or Bypass Surgery?

3 days ago

The Monday November 18, 2019 Wall Street Journal was one of many news outlets to report on the preliminary results of the ISCHEMIA study of whether individuals with chest pains, but mild test results, should have surgery to put in a stent or a bypass—as well as pursuing lifestyle changes, statins and blood thinners such as aspirin—or whether they should only pursue lifestyle changes and drug treatment. These results were reported an American Heart Association conference presentation. There

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Nick Rowe on Sticky Prices and Recessions

4 days ago

I know all about sticky wages,
I lived next to them, I grew up with them, sticky wages kids never went to school, they lived in subsidised housing and lived off benefits,
sticky wages never moved to where the work was, sticky wages robbed and stealed my stuff, sticky wages.

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The Federalist Papers #2A: John Jay on the Idea of America

5 days ago

In his fantasy alternate history of America and the origins of Mormonism, Seventh Son, Orson Scott Card attributes the idea of “America” to Ben Franklin. The idea of America was the notion that all of the 13 colonies were part of something larger. The idea of America was there in the real world as well, in 1787. In the first half of The Federalist Papers #2, John Jay called on this idea of America. The heart of John Jay’s appeal to the idea of America is in these five passages:It is well worthy of consideration therefore, whether it would conduce more to the interest of the people of America that they should, to all general purposes, be

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Peter Reuell on the World Music Quiz

6 days ago

Samuel Mehr has long been interested in questions of what music is, how it works, and why it exists — and he’s turning to the whole world for help in finding the answers.
A fellow of the Harvard Data Science Initiative and Research Associate in the Psychology Department, Mehr is the director of the Music Lab, an online, citizen-science project aimed at not just understanding how the human mind understands music, but why music is a virtually ubiquitous feature of human societies.
“For the last few years I had wanted to get into this citizen-science space,” said Mehr. “There are all sorts of problems — not just in psychology but across all the sciences — of issues in the reliability and reproducibility of scientific results. One way to try to fix these issues is to collect huge amounts

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National Well-Being Indexes and Goodhart’s Law

8 days ago

Dan Benjamin, Kristen Cooper, Ori Heffetz and I were invited to write a response to “A happy choice: wellbeing as the goal of government, by Paul Frijters, Andrew E. Clark, Christian Krekel and Richard Layard. Our title is “Self-Reported Wellbeing Indicators Are a Valuable Complement to Traditional Economic Indicators but Aren’t Yet Ready to Compete With Them.” Our abstract gives our basic reaction:We join the call for governments to routinely collect survey-based measures of self-reported wellbeing and for researchers to study them. We list a number of challenges that have to be overcome in order for these measures to eventually achieve a

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Cost Benefit Analysis Applied to Neti Pot Use

10 days ago

Link to the article shown just aboveI have nonallergic rhinitis. I have had great success keeping it under control with 10 milligrams of Cetirizine (one brand is Zyrtec) every night and using a neti pot to wash out my nasal passages twice a day, night and morning. My neti pot ritual has been pretty simple: use the little spoon provided with certain brands of neti pots to measure out and stir non-iodized salt into warm tap water. (Iodized salt burns and isn’t a good idea.) Then tip my head and pour the salted

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New Data Strongly Suggests White Southern Voters Left the Democratic Party Because of Their Views on Civil Rights—Ilyana Kuziemko and Ebonya Washington

11 days ago

Ilyana Kuziemko, Princeton University | Ebonya Washington, Yale University
In 1960, all 22 U.S. Senators from the South were affiliated with the Democratic Party. Today, all but three are Republican.[i] For decades, historians and other researchers have debated what drove the exodus of white Southern voters from the Democratic Party. Were they turned away primarily by economic self-interest? Or did they abandon the party because they came to view it as too progressive on issues of racial equality?
One reason researchers have failed to find consensus on this central question of American political economy is that data limitations have hampered their efforts. To study views on civil rights, specifically, researchers need quality public polling data. Until recently, consistently worded

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Miles Kimball on `The 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism’

12 days ago

Note: This is a major update of my November 18, 2012 blog post “The 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism,” adding my own take on things. I will implement this update at the original location as well.I have mentioned on this blog that I am a Unitarian Universalist. The website for the Unitarian Universalist Association has a nice summary of the principles and sources of Unitarian Universalism. Let me reflect on what each one means to me. I’ll give the official statement uninterrupted, then comment. I hope that in, some measure, my blog reflects these principles.There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm

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Shannon Hall on Exogeology

13 days ago

Yingwei Fei and his colleagues had spent a month carefully crafting the three slivers of dense silicate—shiny and round, each sample was less than a millimetre thick. But in early November, it was time to say goodbye. Fei carefully packed the samples, plus a few back-ups, in foam and shipped them from Washington DC to Albuquerque, New Mexico. There, the Z Pulsed Power Facility at Sandia National Laboratories will soon send 26 million amps surging towards the slivers, zapping them, one by one, into dust.

The Z machine can replicate the extreme conditions inside detonating nuclear weapons. But Fei, a high-pressure experimental geologist at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Geophysical Laboratory in Washington DC, has a more otherworldly goal in mind: he hopes to explore how

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Nik Martin Interviews Miles Kimball: Trump Wants to Go Negative, but Does the Fed?

15 days ago

The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt. INTEREST COST COULD BE BROUGHT WAY DOWN, while at the same time substantially lengthening the term. We have the great currency, power, and balance sheet…..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019
Here are the quotations from me that Nik used in the article:“The severity of the Great Recession was almost entirely due to the fact that we were not yet used to a negative interest rate policy," economist Miles Kimball from the University of Colorado Boulder, told DW. "If rates had been cut to -5% early in

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Noah Smith on Wokeness

16 days ago

In the 20th century we outlawed racial discrimination, sexual harassment, etc. But although those legal changes helped a lot, there was a lot of tacit discrimination and quiet sexual harassment that the legal apparatus couldn’t root out.

Wokeness helped get at those problems.

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Mental Retirement: Use It or Lose It—Susan Rohwedder and Robert Willis

17 days ago

I am now 59 years old. (I was born in 1960.) Like many people my age, I am terrified of cognitive decline with advancing age. In “Hints About What Can Be Done to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk,” I discussed what little can be done about one source of cognitive decline. But there are other sources of cognitive decline with advancing age. In their Journal of Economic Perspectives article “Mental Retirement,” Susann Rohwedder and Bob Willis provide the best available evidence for the welcome idea that continued, strenuous mental activity can stave off cognitive decline. They describe the hypothesis they are testing this way:The phrase “use it or

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Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi’s Campaign for Racial Literacy

18 days ago

Tell her the story of your life and she’ll listen, whether it takes five minutes or five hours.
It’s a simple thing, but it’s been at the heart of what Winona Guo ’22 has been doing for the past five years, documenting tales of race, culture, and identity in order to help change the ways racism is discussed — or not discussed — in the country’s K-12 classrooms.
“We are born into these racially divided worlds, so it’s never too early to learn, to think more about who we are and our world,” Guo said. “Maybe you grew up in an all-white town in Wyoming or maybe you grew up in a racially divided community in Chicago. No matter where you live in the United States, no matter who you are, race has been relevant to your life.”
Because of that, Guo believes that it’s important not only to be

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The Federalist Papers #1: Alexander Hamilton’s Plea for Reasoned Debate

19 days ago

For most of the time I have been blogging, I have been blogging every other Sunday on political philosophy. At a paragraph or a few paragraphs per blog post, so far I have blogged my way through John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty and John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government. Here are the two aggregator posts leading to the relevant links:Today is my first post on The Federalist Papers, which is where I am turning next. #1 in The Federalist Papers is a plea by Alexander Hamilton (using his pen-name Publius) for reasoned debate. In our own time of heightened political passions, it has a great deal of wisdom for us. Alexander Hamilton proffers

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Clark Merrefield: The Halloween Strategy: Stock Market Lore or Scary Real?

21 days ago

This piece has 13 scary movie references. Can you flesh them out? Answers are at the bottom.
There is an old story — an apocryphal tale of the undead reanimated — a legend passed down from stock broker to stock broker, a mystery arisen out of thin air ages ago and an ocean away from Wall Street.
Each year at Halloween, they say, something unusual begins to happen to stock markets around the globe. Like so many zombies clawing from their summertime graves, equities come screaming back to life before decaying again in the spring.
Some scoff at this story as mere smoke and mirrors, a funhouse illusion.
Others swear it is real.
They call it “the Halloween strategy.”
Spooky beginnings: Sell in May and go away
The Halloween strategy supposes a yearly cycle where stock returns are highest

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All Hallows’ Eve

22 days ago

As a child, I remember watching the Peanuts Christmas special, in which Linus talks about the religious meaning of Christmas. What about the religious meaning of Halloween? Despite Linus’s insistence in the importance of the Great Pumpkin, the Wikipedia article “Halloween” says that liturgically, It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.From the tenor of many Halloween costumes, it seems that Halloween is a time to remember not only the dead but also death itself. But, intriguingly, Halloween

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Another Problem with Processed Food: Propionate

24 days ago

In “The Problem with Processed Food” I point out 3 problems with highly processed food:Most food processing makes food easier to eat and enhances digestibility [which can increase the speed with which it boosts insulin].The newer the type of food processing, the less tested it is by time. Food companies have a different objective function than you do—or at least a different objective function than your long-run self does. Under the category of things “untested by time” is propionate. The article shown above reports on recent research:Consumption of propionate, an ingredient that’s widely used in baked goods, animal feeds, and artificial

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Job Posting for a Full-Time Research Assistant with a Bachelor’s Degree to Help with the Research Needed to Build a National Well-Being Index, Starting Late Summer 2020

25 days ago

Job posting for a full-time RA (who will have a Bachelor’s degree) to work on genoeconomics and social science genomics more generally. (I am involved in some of the projects.)(Follow the instructions for applying at this link.)— Miles Kimball (@mileskimball) October 5, 2019 Tushar Kundu was our research assistant 2017–2019. Here is what he has to …

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The Virtual Reality Theory of Dualism

26 days ago

Link to the Wikipedia article “Mind-body dualism”

In “On Being a Copy of Someone’s Mind” I argued as follows:… my problem with hardcore dualism is this: If a spirit or soul influences any of my decisions, then it has enough effect on particles in the brain that it should be detectable by physics with the sensitivity of instruments we have now. If a spirit or soul is affected by the body but does not itself have any effect on the body (Epiphenomenalism), then it is not through any causality from that spirit or soul the spirit or soul that we talk about because it has no causal pathway to move our mouths. God might

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Where is Social Science Genetics Headed?

29 days ago

Social science genetics is on the rise. The article shown above is a recent triumph. By knowing someone’s genes alone, it is possible to predict 11–13% of the number of years of schooling they have. Such a prediction comes from adding up tiny effects of many, many genes. Since a substantial fraction of my readers are economists, let me mention that some of the important movers and shakers in social science genetics are economists. For example, behind some of the recent successes is a key insight, which David

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