Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview with Ed Glaeser

Here. Excerpt:
"The great urbanist Jane Jacobs was correct about so much in cities, but she got housing prices wrong. She noted that old housing was cheaper than new housing, and so she thought that restricting new development could keep prices down. That’s not how supply and demand works. Abundant supply is the only way to reduce prices in really high-demand areas."

Update (via Mankiw's blog):

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hackerville, Romania

Marshallian externalities sometimes have a dark side: a cluster of cybercrooks:

“To the extent that some expertise is required, friends and family members of the original entrepreneurs are more likely to have access to those resources than would-be criminals in an isolated location,” says Michael Macy, a Cornell University sociologist who studies social networks. “There may also be local political resources that provide a degree of protection.”

Online thievery as a ticket to the good life spread from the early pioneers to scores of young men, infecting Râmnicu Vâlcea’s social fabric. The con artists were the ones with the nice cars and fancy clothes—the local kids made good. And just as in Silicon Valley, the clustering of operations in one place made it that much easier for more to get started. “There’s a high concentration of people offering the kinds of services you need to build a criminal scheme,” says Gary Dickson, an FBI agent who worked in Bucharest from 2005 to 2010. “If your specialty is auction frauds, you can find a money pick-up guy. If you’re a money pick-up guy, you can find a buyer for your services.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ronald Coase Institute - São Paulo Workshop on Institutional Analysis

As an alumnus of the Coase Institute, I strongly recommend the workshop. The deadline is February 15 and the organizers offer fellowships "to cover tuition, meals, and housing if these costs are a difficulty."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rio de Janerio murder rate shows a sharp fall

UPDATE: There are strong signs that the governmet has applied "creative accouting" methods in their numbers. Sorry for misleading you.
30 homicides per 100,000 is not a rate to be proud of. Nevertheless, things are getting better in Rio (and in São Paulo as well). I am not following the debate, but possible causes are: demographics, rising incarceration rates, new police practices, and falling inequality and unemployment.
The graph bellow shows the absolute number of homicides since 1991:

(Source, in Portuguese)

National Historical Geographic Information System

NHGIS provides to US census data (1790-2000) and boundary shapefiles !!! The interface is "for dummies" and the website is free!