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Tag Archives: Law

Tales from Trinidad barter markets in everything

One of my favorite countries, this is from the newspaper: DESPERATE to get his taxi badge, a man bought a $500 used typewriter and donated it to the Licensing Office… The seller, who asked not to be named, wrote: “So funny story. I had a typewriter for sale on Facebook marketplace for some time. I get this call from a young man. We chat for a bit. He says he’s down at licensing office. He’s coming right now. “When he arrives he gives me the story. Since December he’s been trying to get...

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Do walls work?

To be clear, I do not favor building the Trump Wall (at all), still I am willing to present relevant evidence when it appears. Here is the abstract of a new paper by Benjamin Feigenberg: This paper estimates the impact of the US-Mexico border fence on US-Mexico migration by exploiting variation in the timing and location of US government investment in fence construction. Using Mexican survey data and data I collected on fence construction, I find that construction in a municipality reduces...

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Why Americans Are Having an Emotional Reaction to Masks

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, easier read through than excerpted, but here is one bit: When no one can see our countenances, we may behave differently. One study found that children wearing Halloween masks were more likely to break the rules and take more candy. The anonymity conferred by masks may be making it easier for protestors to knock down so many statues. And indeed, people have long used masks to achieve a kind of plausible deniability. At Carnival festivities...

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Claims about American economic growth

From Naomi R. Lamoreaux and John Joseph Wallis: Before the middle of the nineteenth century most laws enacted in the United States were special bills that granted favors to specific individuals, groups, or localities. This fundamentally inegalitarian system provided political elites with important tools that they could use to reward supporters, and as a result, they were only willing to modify it under very special circumstances. In the early 1840s, however, a major fiscal crisis forced a...

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I’m so American, I can’t even tell if this British speech is parody

Here is the story, the speech appears in a box in the corner: A Brexiteer Tory MP has urged the government to let his dogs keep their freedom of movement rights after Britain leaves the EU. Bob Stewart, the MP for Beckenham, said his “French-speaking” hounds crossed the Channel regularly on their EU “pet passports”. Millions of Britons are set to lose the ability to live and work freely on the continent at the end of the year as a result of the UK’s departure...

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Our regulatory state is failing us

The Transportation Security Administration withheld N-95 masks from staff and exhibited “gross mismanagement” in its response to the Coronavirus crisis – leaving employees and travelers vulnerable during the most urgent days of the pandemic, a senior TSA official alleges in a new whistleblower complaint. On Thursday evening the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that handles whistleblower complaints, said they had found “substantial likelihood of...

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My Conversation with Rachel Harmon

Rachel Harmon is a Professor at University of Virginia Law School, and an expert on policing.  Here is the audio and transcript, and here is part of the CWT summary: She joined Tyler to discuss the best ideas for improving policing, including why good data on policing is so hard to come by, why body cams are not a panacea, the benefits and costs of consolidating police departments, why more female cops won’t necessarily reduce the use of force, how federal programs can sometimes misfire,...

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Racial disparity in federal criminal sentences

Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences, but significant gaps remain. Across the distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than those of comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors’ initial charging...

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The Spanish Inquisition and the learning curve

Empirical evidence on contemporary torture is sparse. The archives of the Spanish Inquisition provide a detailed historical source of quantitative and qualitative information about interrogational torture. The inquisition tortured brutally and systematically, willing to torment all who it deemed as withholding evidence. This torture yielded information that was often reliable: witnesses in the torture chamber and witnesses that were not tortured provided corresponding information about...

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Why don’t NYPD police officers wear more masks?

While police officers may forgo mask-wearing for any number of reasons, from peer pressure within ranks that are loath to change to a desire to more easily communicate, the images have fueled a perception of the police as arrogant and dismissive of protesters’ health — perhaps even at the peril of their own. And while several officers have conspicuously knelt down with or hugged people at rallies, the widespread failure to use masks is creating a more standoffish look, one that protesters...

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