Sunday, May 31, 2009

Industrial Revolution. Why Europe and not China? Why Britain?

Two new explanations:
-Hans-Joachim Voth (et alii) says that the reason lies in the emergence of the European Marriage Pattern . (BTW, Voth creates amazing papers' titles)
- Robert Allen asserts that trade created the conditions for the British Industrial Revolution: high wages and cheap energy. (The book with the full story is here. The Economist reviews it here).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

European Slaves in Africa

I know that human trafficking was quite common during the poor, nasty, brutish, and long human history. However, this really have surprised me:
"According to one estimate, 7,000 English people were abducted between 1622-1644, many of them ships' crews and passengers. But the corsairs also landed on unguarded beaches, often at night, to snatch the unwary.
Almost all the inhabitants of the village of Baltimore, in Ireland, were captured in 1631, and there were other raids in Devon and Cornwall."
It seems that one million Europeans (an overestimation, some may say) were slaved by North African pirates between 1530 and 1780. More about the subject.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Google Maps + Time Machine

Be prepared to spend more than 8 hours just in Hypercities.
(Zephyr Frank and Sidney Chalhoub were (are?) working on something similar for Rio de Janeiro)
Via Wired.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

56th Annual North American Regional Science Association Conference


Consumer surplus

To whom it may concern: atemoya (2 USD/kg in Brazil) generates the highest consumer surplus possible (at least for me).
UPDATE: The price fell to 1,5 USD/kg!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rodrik X Easterly on Industrial Policy and Steady Growth

William Easterly nailed it!
"So here is Dani Rodrik on success and industrial policy: “the countries that have produced steady, long-term growth during the last six decades are those that relied on a different strategy: promoting diversification into manufactured … goods” (cited in Economist’s View).

So Dani concludes, “What matters [for growth in developing countries] is their output of modern industrial goods” and that developing countries will have to get busy with “real industrial policies.” Finally, “external policy actors (for example, the World Trade Organization) will have to be more tolerant of these policies.”

Unfortunately, Dani is also REVERSING CONDITIONAL PROBABILITIES. Dani’s evidence is based on what he believes is the high probability that IF you have had steady growth for six decades, THEN you had industrial policy. This is interesting, but this is not the right probability in deciding whether to choose industrial policy, which is “IF you have industrial policy, THEN what is your chance of steady growth for six decades?

HT Brad DeLong.

"It is the economy, companheiro!": an empirical analysis of Lula's re-election based on municipal data

by Araújo Jr, Carraro, Damé, Shikida and me in the Economics Bulletin
This paper discusses the reasons that led to the Lula's 2006 re-election. Spatial analysis methods revealed that,contrary to 2002, the President had more votes in less developed municipalities of Brazil. The econometric results cast doubt on the analyses that attribute to Bolsa Família Programme total responsibility for the re-election. Lula''s electoral success results from changes in the labor market, low inflation and an export boom that have reduced inequality and
improved the real wages of the Brazilian poor.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Moving II

By the end of the month, I am leaving UFABC and I will join IPEA, the Brazilian Institute of Applied Economics, in Brasília.

Unfair competition

When people say "unfair competition" they usually mean a) "I not understand comparative advantages"; b) "I have vested interest in protectionism. However in this situation "unfair competition" is an understatement.

The Credit Crunch of 1294


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Economist should be despised

Hayek said that Marshall said:
Students of social science, must fear popular approval: Evil is with
them when all men speak well of them

(Strangely I could not find the exact reference. Maybe Hayek was just like Keynes, who had the habit of making up quotations.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Is the crisis over? (II)

I hope it is. But I think it is kind of sad that one of the boldest forecasts is based just on a historic correlation. There is no model or explanatory theory.

Carlo Cipolla and Stupidity

The famous Italian historian Carlo Cipolla - quite surprisingly - stated the basic laws of stupidity.
I do believe that the root of all human suffering is stupidity, not evilness and not evil. Maybe I am wrong but this idea comforts me
Via Marginal Revolution.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Why Ubuntu?

In order to protect my tired madelung wrists, I gave up my dear T61 and I've bought a desktop and an ergonomic keyboard. Pretty cool machine, but it took me a couple of hours to remove the bloatware from Windows Vista.
Yesterday I installed the new Ubuntu. One hour later, everything was working perfectly, including the microsoft keyboard and the all-in-one printer. It took me 30 extra minutes to install all extra software. (In Ubuntu world you just choose the softwares that you want from a list. It downloads, installs and tracks new versions No need for going to each website and clicking "I accept" a thousand times). Awesome.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ulisses M. Ruiz de Gamboa, a cliometrician

Strangely, the works of Ulisses were flying under my radar. He's been working with historical Brazilian public finance for many years and now he and William Summerhill are uncovering "fiscal skeletons".
I met him last week and found out that, besides being technically sophisticated, he is a nice guy!