Friday, July 11, 2014

What I learned from reading the Marginal Revolution magazine

(This post was written April 2013 and I'm not sure why it wasn't posted then)

I've been interested by the occasional posts by people who read a magazine cover to cover, then report on what they learned. These couple next posts are based loosely on that idea. I've been thoroughly busy and stressed this semester without much time for semi-curricular reading, which means the posts have been piling up in my reader.

While our NUC accreditors were at AUN, though, I needed to be on-call to answer questions. Completely unable to concentrate on research writing, I did a lot of reading. Below are a few of the things I learned reading every post from a few weeks' worth of Marginal Revolution:

The incentives people face
I learned about how a (tribal) governments creates its own incentives to hold witchcraft trials. Both the accuser and the accused are forced to pay $200 (that's a cow in real prices) for the trial which goes into the chief's pocket.

Australia is going to experiment with compensating working people who donate their kidneys. Donors will receive $3600 - minimum wage for six weeks of recovery - but only if they are working. Cowen hypothesizes, and I agree, this is probably to avoid the stigma of "exploiting" poor people by allowing them to voluntarily exchange their kidney for money.

I learned that China may be deliberately overinvesting in physical capital as an indirect method of producing human capital and economies of scale.

I learned that only 1% of USAID aid to Haiti went to Haitian individuals or firms and that over half went to DC firms.

Erratum - It is possible one or more links did not come from MR, but from someone else I was reading. If so, I apologize to whomever I am not tipping my hat.

No comments:

Post a Comment