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Home / T. Cowen: Marginal Revolution (page 735)
The author Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Cowen and Tabarrok have also ventured into online education by starting Marginal Revolution University. He currently writes the "Economic Scene" column for the New York Times, and he also writes for such publications as The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly.

T. Cowen: Marginal Revolution

Mind both your p’s and your q’s

Here is a new and very clear Diane Coyle piece about whether gdp and CPI statistics are failing us.  Perhaps we are overestimating the rate of inflation and thus underestimating real wage growth, as many of the economic optimists suggest.  Yet I do not find that “the q’s” support this case made for “the p’s.”   For instance the employment-population ratio remains quite low, though with some small recent upticks.  If real wages were up so much, you might...

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*The Invention of Science*

That is the new, magisterial and explicitly Whiggish book by David Wootton, with the subtitle A New History of Scientific Revolution. I wish there were a single word for the designator “deep, clear, and quite well written, though it will not snag the attention of the casual reader of popular science books because it requires knowledge of the extant literature on the history of science.”  Here is one excerpt, less specific than most of the book: My argument so far is that the...

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The self-tracking pill

Some morning in the future, you take a pill — maybe something for depression or cholesterol. You take it every morning. Buried inside the pill is a sand-sized grain, one millimeter square and a third of a millimeter thick, made from copper, magnesium, and silicon. When the pill reaches your stomach, your stomach acids form a circuit with the copper and magnesium, powering up a microchip. Soon, the entire contraption will dissolve, but in the five minutes before that happens, the chip taps out...

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Americas fact of the day

…the flow of Europeans to the New World before 1800 did not stand out, at least numerically.  Somewhere between 1 million and 2 million Europeans came to the New World between 1500 and 1800; by contrast, over 8 million Africans came via the slave trade.  (The predominantly European population of North America resulted from very high birth rates…while wretched conditions and an absence of females kept the African population down.) That is from Kenneth Pomeranz and Steven Topik, The...

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Leo Strauss’s greatness, according to Dan Klein

1.       A sense of virtue/justice/right that is large and challenging. 2.       An appreciation of wisdom as something different than progressive research programs/specialized academic fields and disciplines. 3.       An understanding of the sociology of judgment, in particular the role of great humans. 4.       An epic narrative, from Thucydides to today. 5.       Rediscovery, analysis, elaboration, and instruction of esotericism. 6.       Close readings and interpretations of great works....

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A conversation with Angus Deaton about RCTs

The interrogator is Timothy N. Ogden, here is one bit from Deaton: Something I read the other day that I didn’t know, David Greenberg and Mark Shroder, who have a book, The Digest of Social Experiments, claim that 75 percent of the experiments they looked at in 1999, of which there were hundreds, is an experiment done by rich people on poor people. Since then, there have been many more experiments, relatively, launched in the developing world, so that percentage can only have gotten worse. ...

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Economics and the Modern Economic Historian

That is a new NBER paper by Ran Abramitzky, the abstract is here: I reflect on the role of modern economic history in economics. I document a substantial increase in the percentage of papers devoted to economic history in the top-5 economic journals over the last few decades. I discuss how the study of the past has contributed to economics by providing ground to test economic theory, improve economic policy, understand economic mechanisms, and answer big economic questions. Recent graduates...

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What is stupid?

Should there not be more research on this apparently simple yet elusive question?  Here is a new paper by Acezel, Palfi, and Kekecs: This paper argues that studying why and when people call certain actions stupid should be the interest of psychological investigations not just because it is a frequent everyday behavior, but also because it is a robust behavioral reflection of the rationalistic expectations to which people adjust their own behavior and expect others to. The relationship of...

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Deaton on Deaton

It was during my time at Bristol that John Muellbauer and I worked together on our book. The computer facilities at Bristol were terrible — the computer was a mile away, on top of a hill, so that boxes of punched cards had to be lugged up and down. I was told to get a research assistant, which was sensible advice, but I have never really figured out how to use research assistance: for me, the process of data gathering — at first with paper and pencil from books and abstracts — programming,...

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