Thursday 19 May 2022

Morning roundup

The computer begs to be rebooted. But the tabs...

  • There's an underlying demand-side problem to misinformation. You can't con an honest man...

  • Some days, I love our Environment Minister. Here's David Parker giving Auckland Council a deserved slap for nonsense around character designations. People who want to protect character are "entitled to do that in respect to their own property. But in other parts of their suburb, there will be areas where more intensive housing will and should be built." EXACTLY!! If only central government would fix the incentives that encourage councils to do this...

  • New Zealand regime around medicinal cannabis remains a broken mess. I think it was allowed to fall into disrepair on expectation that legalisation would be coming and make it redundant. It has to be very frustrating for anyone who needs cannabis as treatment, and anyone who wants to supply it. The Newsroom column is gated today, but I think will ungate tomorrow if you pull out the /pro from the link. In addition to all the other problems, medicinal cannabis suppliers have a tough time finding banking or insurance. 

  • Kate MacNamara keeps digging on the messes around Covid testing regulation. Just impossibly frustrating. You can use a LAMP test to meet the testing requirements to fly to NZ. It's way more accurate than a RAT. But they're banned in NZ. If you try begging permission to use one here just to give some added assurance before going to visit a vulnerable relative, the Government just doesn't answer. Vogons would give the MoH an award for being more Vogon than anything they'd ever come up with. 

  • One problem for all the "let's base policy on happiness" people at Treasury and elsewhere: the measures are crap and you can't do anything with them. Here's Bond & Lang, JPE 2019:
    "The necessary conditions for nonparametric identification are strong and unlikely to ever be satisfied. Standard parametric approaches cannot identify this ranking unless the variances are exactly equal. If not, ordered probit findings can be reversed by lognormal transformations. For nine prominent happiness research areas, conditions for nonparametric identification are rejected and standard parametric results are reversed using plausible transformations."
    If you can just run a plausible transformation on the dependent variable to reverse a result, you've got another degree of freedom to justify whatever policy you'd wanted to rationalise. 

  • National Party leader Chris Luxon says he doesn't like corporate welfare in the climate response. Good! But the ETS revenues are hypothecated. Does he support putting them back into general revenues? Or, better, would he support a carbon dividend? I like National's emphasis on an ETS led approach, but that's harder if you don't rebate ETS revenues back to households. If he's not going to, he should promise to end the hypothecation that's let Robertson have a slush fund. 

  • Princeton no longer supports academic freedom.

  • Regulatory regimes can embed fragility against shocks. NZ building materials supply, US baby formula...
Ok. I think I can reboot now. 

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