Friday 6 October 2023

Morning roundup

The morning's clearing of the tabs...

  • Price theory is the core of everything that's good in economics. Albrecht and Hendrickson explain the basics. Price theory emphasises exchange and emergent outcomes. Public choice studies politics as exchange. It's fun to think about what would happen if an incoming government required Ministry Chief Economists to pass a test based on workouts in the old Alchian & Allen textbook.  
  • Like the idea of government paying a bonus to people for having kids? Robin Hanson has a neat way of doing that. But I doubt that proponents of baby bonuses will like it. 
  • This came out a while back but I'd missed it. Surprisingly enough, hydrogen deposits seem to form underground in spots where olivine is prevalent in the presence of heat and water. NZ has a lot of olivine, and heat, and wet. I wonder if anyone's gone looking for hydrogen - geological deposits hadn't previously been thought possible. If we have some, stick a pipe in it to power a boiler and generator above the deposit, and you'd have electricity that generates water rather than CO2. Seems a longshot, but would be pretty sweet.
  • Chris Trotter is nostalgic for a joyous left. Excellent piece. 
  • This kind of thing pushes electricity toward a global law-of-one-price, doesn't it?
  • Henry Thompson on the Industrial Organisation of the Mafia, forthcoming in the JLE.  
    This paper uses economic reasoning to analyze the organization of one of the most successful criminal groups in modern U.S. history: La Cosa Nostra (LCN). Drawing on recently declassified FBI reports and a hand-collected dataset, I argue that the costs of violent disputes are key for an economic understanding of LCN’s core institutions. Violent disputes were costly for LCN as they consumed resources to produce and were destructive. However, violent disputes were especially costly to LCN because of its need to keep a low profile. As a member did not bear the full costs of a profile-raising police investigation, each had a perverse incentive to resolve a dispute with violence. Hierarchical firms and a sophisticated court system were LCN’s solution. They gave bosses the authority and incentive to limit violent disputes and to use violence judiciously. LCN’s longevity and success are, in part, a testament to the institutions’ efficacy.


1 comment:

  1. Since water vapour is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, why is generating it instead of CO2 a good thing? They almost certainly said the same sort of thing when internal combustion replaced the horse.