Jul 31, 2009
Then I also saw that all goods from Israel were prohibited from exportation unless accompanied by an export license (as are many random products). Why these two countries? As for Israel, Malaysia does not recognize it as a State…As for Haiti I have no idea! But now the question is: are these bans reflected in their trade data?
I looked at the trade statistics. While Haiti does not report any trade stats since 1997, I found that Malaysia reported imports from Haiti of $310,472 in 2007 and $8 in 2008! Too bad these goods were classified as HS 9999, i.e. commodities not elsewhere specified.
As for trade with Israel there is a major smuggling gap (Israel reported imports – Malaysia reported exports) of the order of $41 million in 2005 and $63 million in 2007 (see table). Looking at more detailed data I saw that these exports ranged from electronics to cocoa powder.
Obviously, there is here plenty of material for a great freakonomic gangsters paper.
Jul 30, 2009
I agree with all these proposals.
By the way, the topic is by no means new, check this or this by C. Wyplosz and here by R. Baldwin.
.....seems there is somewhat of a correlation between being Prof. at HEID and an interest for wine. Does that imply anything about HEID?
Now after having Tyler Cowen explaining part of the story, here's a whole book devoted to the french agony. In Au revoir to all that, Food, Wine, and the End of France , Michael Steinberger (Slate, Food & Wine, Saveur, the Financial Times, the Economist) explains the political, economic, and cultural factors behind the crisis in the country and food he loves.
From the FT review I read that the future belongs to Tokyo, London and the northern Spanish town of San Sebastián, which has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any place in the world. World-class restaurants now flourish in deepest Wales, lost cheeses have found their artisans in the US, and ambitious wine is made nearly everywhere.
I also learned from the reviews that McDonald’s is the France’s largest private employer!
Jul 25, 2009
"In 1950, Michigan was one of eight states in America that collectively produced 36% of world GNP...Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city in the world"
I was reading in the newspaper this other random fact that may explain part of the decline:
"En 1969, les Québécois commençaient timidement à acheter des voitures japonaises. Tout ce qui était made in Japan était considéré comme bas de gamme, et les rares acheteurs de Toyota et Datsun (l'ancêtre de Nissan) passaient pour quelque peu excentriques. À l'époque, ça ne se contestait pas?: le summum de la qualité et de la fiabilité, c'étaient les produits GM!"
How things have changed!
Jul 24, 2009
Mayors, a council president, two state assemblymen, numerous public officials and political operatives, and five rabbis are among 44 people that were just arrested in New Jersey, part of a ten-year federal investigation of public corruption and international money-laundering and, some organ selling!
This will make a good movie, but maybe people will find it too cliche: Clandestine meetings were held in parking lots and diners. Money, to the tune of $97,000, was stuffed in an Apple Jacks cereal box...a "broker" was even targeting vulnerable people, persuading them to give up their kidneys for $10,000 and then selling the organs for $160,000!
This is a not bad joke or something happening in Michoacan or Nairobi...Religious leaders in New York and New Jersey were heading money-laundering crews, acting as crime bosses!
So the question is why is the rule-of-law still significant in growth regresssions!
Jul 23, 2009
There are several explanations for this result, but the one I prefer (de gustibus) relates to self confidence: if you are taller than your peers in your childhood, this boosts the perception of yourself in future life. When you are self confident, you gain more respect from other people, and thus you advance faster in your career (does anyone believe wages are really related to productivity?). The other interesting results are: the same does not hold for women; fat men do not earn less than slimmer colleagues.
Jul 22, 2009
With each passing minute your marginal cost goes up
But my love is inelastic and it all belongs to you (who me?)
I'm the only love producer and my good is for you to consume
Cause girl your marginal benefits far outweigh your marginal costs
Without our equilibrium baby well you know I'd be lost
Trapped inside this market I need you to buy my love
Girl without your complementing goods well I'm just not enough
Now you say that I'm producing below my ATC (so low)
But I'm optimizing quantity baby, why can't you see?
We could share this surplus each and every day
If you would just buy my love I'd make my fixed costs go away
Baby I want to keep you for the long run (Oh yeah) (mmmm)
I think our supply and demand will become one
Cause girl your marginal benefits far outweigh your marginal costs
Without our equilibrium baby well you know I'd be lost
Long run equilibrium is no place for me
I need the profits of our love to grow exponentially
In his most recent NBER working paper, the famous Chilean economist Sebastian Edwards (UCLA) quotes Pablo Neruda:
was ready on earth,
and Jehovah distributed the world
to Coca Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors and other entities:
United Fruit Inc.
reserved for itself the juiciest part,
the central coast of my land,
the sweet waist of America.
And it rebaptized its lands
“Banana Republics” (…)”
Jul 21, 2009
Abstract: Americans are often blasted by Europeans because of their inability to put a certain country on a world map. As Americans do better in science and mathematics than Germans or Italians for example (OECD), this lack of knowledge certainly is not straight dumbness. In this paper we study the determinants of their geographic curiosity using data from Google trends, which allows us to measure the number of times a country, or a main city, has been googled over the last 12 months. We find that the top 10 tourist destinations are on average googled 15 times more than the average country. Gravity determinants such as being landlocked, economically remote or an island have no impact; and neither does GDP nor GDP per capita. Military or CIA involvement increases searches by 50%. Finally, we find that more important export markets are 20 more googled while major import partners are 50 more googled.
Jul 16, 2009
Jul 15, 2009
"This intensive study however had injurious effects on Mill's mental health, and state of mind. At the age of twenty he suffered a nervous breakdown. As explained in chapter V of his Autobiography, this was caused by the great physical and mental arduousness of his studies which had suppressed any feelings he might have developed normally in childhood. Nevertheless, this depression eventually began to dissipate, as he began to find solace in the Mémoires of Jean-François Marmontel and the poetry of William Wordsworth."
Jul 13, 2009
Obama is a superhero in most African countries. In Gambia the truck and bus drivers usually have three stickers in the front window: Bob Marley, Madonna and Obama. For many he is the new hope, so what he says and does toward Africa matters.
First, why did he decides to go to Ghana and not to another country?
some thoughts here and here
What did he say?
Reactions to the speech?
"Bill" The Watchdog couldn't be outside the discussion. He grades the speech, and gives one of the worse scores to the idea of support an African Green Revolution. But other people seems to be more optimistic about this.
UPDATE: The grades from a second reader.
Will Obama's superpowers be the definitive answer to failures of Western policies?
As the article reports, Risk Management is the key. It means that, while people are scared to take risks, Goldmand does it, and it pays off very well. I heard once a London banker describing Goldman's approach to Risk management as "either they blow up, or they swim in cash". So far they did not blow up (with the Trasury's help), and now they swim again in cash. The question is then: are we back to the pre-crisis level in terms of risk taking? Are the lessons from the crisis un-learnt? People are waiting to see what the most successful bank is going to do next.
Jul 10, 2009
Jul 9, 2009
Jul 8, 2009
These results have been re-assessed in a comprehensive study on 26 European countries from 1970 to 2006 and are reported today on the FT and published online on the Lancet Medical Journal (although the version is available only to subscribers).
As the figure to the left reports, a 3% rise in unemployment leads to 28% rise in deaths from alcohol abuse, 6% from homicide and 4% from suicide; it does instead lead to a reduction in transport accidents by 4%. Overall, there is no effect of unemployment on all causes mortality rates.
An interesting picture that emerges from the study is, that the impact of unemployment on death rates vary substantially across countries. For example, suicides rates are substantially mitigated by government-sponsored programmes to keep people employed: if the amount spent on active-labour market participation exceeds 190$ per capita, suicides rates do not rise.
From my understanding, the use of death rates does not allow a full comparison with previous studies, which use more micro data looking at specific habits (like smoking) or health measure (like weight), but it's still informative with regards to the striking policy implications.
Jul 5, 2009
"That the top 10 in the list of “greenest and happiest” nations is dominated by Latin America might raise a few eyebrows, as the region is better known in the western imagination for its slums, inequality and coups. But the Latin Americans score highly, the report suggests, due to non-material aspirations and strong social capital among friends and relatives. The grim performance of the developed world might also prompt some westerners to cast doubt over the value of the report. Among the rich nations, the highest placed country is the Netherlands – but it manages only 43rd... The challenge for the west, the report says, is not to keep increasing incomes but to aim for more meaningful lives and stronger social ties." (Switzerland, by the way, scores relatively well among developed nations, 52. Maybe because of la fete des voisins!)
Despite all problems with such Indexes, I find it valuable to add measures of social capital and ecological footprint to go beyond gpd pc. I can definetly see how some people may prefer Costa Rica over Denmark.
On the other hand, I believe violence indicators could enter such an Index more directly than trough Life expectancy only - having good true friends around, nature, some income, relatively high life expectancy etc mean much less when people have to face violence all the time - which is the case of Kingston, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota or San Salvador, whose countries all rank top 10 in this index. Most of them have drug trafficking as background.
Calculate your own score on the Happy Planet Index if you want to find out "how happy you are and at what price to the environment!"
Jul 3, 2009
The full Guardian article is here.
It probably seemed a good idea at the time. But Russia's attempt to create a joint gas venture with Nigeria is set to become one of the classic branding disasters of all time -- after the new company was named Nigaz.
The new company Nigaz plans to invest at least $2.5bn (£1.5bn) in oil and gas exploration and aims to build refineries, pipelines and gas power stations across Nigeria.
“Africa without France is a car without a driver,” he said. “France without Africa is a car without petrol.” (Bongo)
“Elf is not just an oil company but a parallel diplomacy to control certain African states, above all at the key moment of decolonisation. Alongside exploration and production, opaque operations were organised, to keep certain countries stable.”
"Critics of China's (dodgy) Africa resources ventures need not look long into the West's own past to see deeds much worse". (Blattman)
The Report provides an overview of the key linkages between trade and climate change based on a review of available literature and a survey of relevant national policies. It shows that trade intersects with climate change in a multitude of ways. For example, governments may introduce a variety of policies, such as regulatory measures and economic incentives, to address climate change. This complex web of measures may have an impact on international trade and the multilateral trading system.
While the Report is reminisant of the Stern Review or the IPCC Assessment Report, it's worth having a look at because of its specific focus on trade issues, its detailed examples of national and international policies being adopted, and its overview of the relevant WTO rules. And of course, I can't forget to mention that a couple of Graduate Institute students contributed significant parts of the report.
"Staff at Nepal's main international airport are to be issued with trousers without pockets, in an attempt to wipe out rampant bribe-taking"
- " M. Burrin explique que l'idée est de doter l'Institut d'un texte sur les principes et les valeurs qui devraient lier l'ensemble de ses collaborateurs et être appropriés par tous, comme cela se fait dans de nombreuses institutions universitaires."
- "M. Burrin explique que les professeurs sont payés principalement pour faire de la recherche et que l’Institut ambitionne de développer celle-ci, car c’est grâce à elle qu’une institution rayonne et que les professeurs nourrissent leur enseignement."
- "Mme Komar estime important de trouver un équilibre entre les deux, car l’Institut est également composé d’étudiants."
- "Mme Komar suggère d’ajouter sous « Mission » une référence à la « contribution pratique »
des alumni ayant une position importante dans la société."
- "M. Burrin souligne que le texte sur la mission de l’Institut a été élaboré il y a plus d’un an et qu’il serait probablement formulé en des termes légèrement différents aujourd’hui, mais qu'il ne s'agit pas de le réécrire, l'essentiel de la Charte portant sur les valeurs et principes."
Here's the deal, Komar is a student, and she highlights rightly that teaching is important. The administration seems to want to build a reputation by downgrading teaching. It is obviously completely insane. HEID will have a reputation only when its degress become serious ones, when students finish their degrees with a certain satisfaction and a lot of ambition acquired through influential and motivating professors. This is not the case at all now (with very few execptions) and I don't think the direction has the capacity to grasp this concept.
It's obvious from the minutes above that the director is not willing to take seriously any advice coming from the student body. With this attitude, the school is doomed, with good research output or not.
Jul 2, 2009
Apparently Hama shares several of Krugman's attributes - as Slate writes, 'she [Hama] is a scholar and polemicist who doesn't shrink from speaking directly about politics. She's also got the columnist's [Krugman's] gift for phrasing and buzzwords'.