Links round-up

Hi all,

Yesterday, a friend sent me an e-mail full of Stata code; this isn’t how we normally communicate, she was trying to help me format some tables better. But in a perfect encapsulation of my attitude towards Stata, my e-mail programme offered me the following prompt: “This message appears to be in Slovak. Would you like to translate it?”. I tried. It wasn’t any more comprehensible. After a morning of data entry and wrestling with Stata, with no cricket on (thanks to a ground being entirely submerged in Karachi), and a month until I can start spamming all of you with videos of Zion Williamson dunking on NBA players, that’s as much of an intro as you’re going to get this week…

  1. This is a complete disaster. According to Planet Money, I am a millennial: “millennials are young adults who are now between the ages of roughly 22 to 38”, they say. [We go live to my reaction]. But it’s not all bad: apparently, millennials aren’t quite the reprobates their elders would have them be. Rather, they entered the economy and job market in a very particular moment, one which penalised them substantially relative to previous generations. One sign of this is that (contrary to popular belief) they are much less likely to switch jobs early in their career – a sure sign of less than dynamic economy, which normally involves a lot of churn as people move between jobs and find regular new opportunities (transcript).
  2. While we’re engaging in some revisionism driven by data, consider the case for China as a green giant. Stephen Roach argues that the pace with which China is increasing renewable energy consumption, switching to more eco-friendly transport options and moving out of heavy industry is unprecedented once you account for its level of development. While it’s clear that we need even more, this is a very different trajectory to those of the previous generation of advanced economies, and provides a model for the rest of the world rather than a scapegoat.
  3. It’s kind of thrilling to read a genuinely radical idea, even if it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of being implemented any time soon. Martin Ravallion and Michael Lokshin have one here: what if you could sell your right to enter the labour market to the highest (international) bidder? Imagine you’re a sixteen year old, but have plans to be in full time education until you finish a DPhil – let’s say around 8 years if we’re really optimistic. You can sell your place in the labour market for those years to someone from outside the country and use the proceeds to fund your education. Alternatively, you could retire early and do the same. They even discuss how it could be implemented in practice – though I will eat my hat if any Government in the world goes with this scheme in the next decade or two. 
  4. Capitalism, Alone, the new book by Branko Milanovic has just been released. I haven’t got a copy myself, but it’s surely self-recommending. He summarises what he considers to be the four central themes of the book here. Branko is one of my favourite economists to read. Even if you wind up disagreeing with everything he says, you will always learn something on the way.
  5. Sorry, John. It turns out that money can buy you happiness (love remains to be proven). Previous studies showed that lottery winners do not wind up happier than non-winners, but it turns out that the canonical study had a sample of just 22 winners! Kelsey Piper at Vox points out that when studies were run on larger samples, winners did indeed appear happier. You know what else makes you happier? Power calculations. And bigger samples. Sheesh.
  6. Income inequality in the US (using the Gini coefficient) is now higher than at any point since data started tracking it.
  7. Finally, The Joker opens next Friday. I’ve already gone on more than one massive geek-out over this, but the point bears repeating. Batman has the best villains: funny, anarchic, monstrous (and mumbly), and just plain weird. And apropos of that last link, The Ringer write a loving celebration of Danny De Vito, though they manage to get through the whole thing without mentioning Rod Lurie’s unforgettable description of him.   

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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