Does money make lottery winners more right-wing?

Lottery winners tend to switch towards support for a right-wing political party and to become less egalitarian, according to new research on UK data by Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick and Professor Nattavudh Powdthavee of the London School of Economic and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne. Their study, published […]

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A “big picture” festője

Néha nem árt egy kicsit távolabb lépni a napi izgalmaktól, és kitekinteni nagyobb távlatokba. Múlt héten volt szerencsém egy nagyon érdekes előadást végighallgatni.

Hans-Rosling-BBC.jpg

Az előadó Hans Rosling, bár úgy mutatta be magát, hogy egy "nyugalmazott svéd tanár", hamar kiderült, hogy egy igazi nagy formátumú figura, és rákeresve a neten ki is derült, hogy:

– orvosdoktor
– az egyik leghíresebb orvosi egyetem, a Karolinska Institute professzora
– 
statisztikus
– a demográfia és a jövőkutatás egyik nagy szakértője

Emellett más kunsztokat is tud, pl kardot nyelni! (tényleg!) A legnagyobb sikereket azonban előadóként éri el, nagymestere a szemléltetésnek, úgy tud statisztikai adatokról beszélni, hogy az ember örömmel hallgatja. Engem leginkább Öveges professzorra emlékeztetett a régi időkből. Lássunk egy kis bevezetőt(sajnos a rezsidémon videodémon beköltözött az oldalra, így nem biztos, hogy fut a beágyazás, de a linkek jók)

Volt már a TED talks-ban is, ott sem okozott csalódást. Aki egy gyors és érdekes összefoglalót szeretne arról, hogy hogyan is néz ki jelenleg a világ , a következő videót imádni fogja:

Melyek a legfőbb tanulságok?

– mára nagyrészt értelmetlenné vált széttagolni a fejlett és a fejlődő világot, hiszen rengeteg vonatkozásban nagyon durván lecsökkentek a különbségek. Ugyanakkor a nyugati gondolkodásmódban még mindig nagyon élesen él a fejlődő-fejlett széttagolás: elég csak arra gondolni, hogy pl Dél-Korea még mindig fejlődő státuszban van és ez azzal jár, hogy ugyanúgy beadják pl a piacát, ha elindul kifelé a pénz a fejlődő alapokból.

– ha a jövőt akarjuk megbecsülni, akkor a demográfiai trendeket érdemes figyelni – melyik országban várható, hogy elkezdik élvezni a "demographic dividend" előnyeit, amikor a csökkenő születendő gyerekszám, de még nem túlságosan hosszú életkor miatt az eltartottak száma drasztikusan lecsökken. Ezt élvezi most jelenleg Kína, de pár évtized múlva az Afrikai kontinens országai lesznek előnyben.

– a legnagyobb megatrend, amely meg fogja határozni a következő évtizedeket (és remélhetőleg ezt nem fogja megszakítani semmilyen komolyabb háború vagy járvány), az a fejlődő országok fogyasztásának felzárkózása (mindenki megveszi az első mosógépét), és a népességének a bővülése, amíg be nem áll ott is mindenhol a 1,5 – 2,5 gyerekes családmodell. Aztán hogy hosszú távon ebből pontosan melyik cégek fognak profitálni (helyi vs fejlődő piacokon is működő multik), ez nyitott kérdés.

Érdemes ellátogatni a honlapjára is a gapminder.org -ra, ahol a Gapminder World szekcióban rendeteg érdekes összehasonlítást be lehet állítani, pl szerintem az egyik legérdekesebb a gyerekek száma vs gdp/fő az elmúlt 200 évben.

teacher.jpg

Megosztom Facebookon! Megosztom iWiWen! Megosztom Twitteren! Megosztom Google Buzzon! Megosztom Google Readeren! Megosztom Tumblren!

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Predicting the Winter Olympics with Economics

How many medals will U.S. athletes win at the Sochi Winter Olympics?

To answer this question, one might want to think about the abilities of the athletes involved in each competition.  And then use that information to forecast who is going to win each event.

Of course, that approach requires knowledge of the athletes involved in a wide variety of sports.  Furthermore, even if you knew how to measure ability, you would also have to figure out some way to forecast each athletes’ performance.

In a recent paper by Madeleine Andreff and Wladimir Andreff — "Economic Prediction of Medal Wins at the 2014 Winter Olympics" (PDF) — an approach advocated by a number of sports economists is employed. 

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“Flappy Bird” Demand

"Flappy Bird," a popular mobile game, was taken down by its creator over the weekend. From CNN.com:

"Flappy Bird" has flown the coop.

The addictive game that soared to the top of iPhone and Android app downloads disappeared from app stores on Sunday, though players who already have it apparently can keep on flying.

…Although new players can no longer download "Flappy Bird," the game remains playable for those who had already added it to their devices.

A secondary market has emerged yesterday, with entrepreneurs willing to part with their "Flappy Bird" installed mobile devices — for some pretty high prices:

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Everest and the Quest for Status, by James Schneider

I’m currently polishing up my behavioral health economics book The Seven Deadly Sins. The first five chapters discuss the core health concerns of diet, exercise, drinking, smoking, and sex. The last two "sins" are using heroin and climbing Everest. I included these chapters for the sake of entertainment; I doubt many of my readers will be weighing the pros and cons of engaging in these activities. However, I discovered that these two ways of getting sky high could be used to illustrate a lot of important economic principles.

Here is a short excerpt from the chapter on Everest.

Why do people climb Everest? One possibility is that they seek a little fresh air and wish to enjoy the great outdoors. This seems doubtful. Alternatively, people might climb Everest out of pride or as a way of gaining status. Evidence for the status-seeking theory can be seen by looking at what peaks are climbed in the Himalayas. All things being equal, going higher means increased risk and physical suffering. However, the climbs that garner the greatest prestige are the fourteen peaks that are higher than eight thousand meters. If status is important, then climbing mountains just over 8000 meters will be much more desirable than climbing mountains just under 8000 meters. Even if the peaks just under 8000 meters are similar in deadliness, there is no simple shorthand way to communicate your achievement.

Elizabeth Hawley has been cataloging Himalayan expeditions for decades; her data is as close as there is to an official record. Her records provide information about eight of the fourteen peaks higher than 8000 meters. (She doesn’t concern herself with the peaks in the Karakoram nor does she disclose data for Shingapanga which is completely in China.) I’ve extracted the following chart from Hawley’s dataset. It shows the sixteen highest peaks in her data: eight above and eight below the 8000 meter threshold.
everest chartfor upload.jpg
The drop off in expeditions at the arbitrary cutoff of 8000 meters is striking. In fact, every peak over 8000 meters has more expeditions than any of the eight peaks just below 8000 meters. In the chart, there are two obvious outliers with the most expeditions: Everest and Cho Oyu. The appeal of Everest is obvious; climbing the highest peak in the world confers a type of status that is universally recognized. Cho Oyu’s popularity can also be explained by status seeking. It is generally considered the easiest of the eight-thousanders to climb.

If high-altitude mountaineering had been pioneered by Americans instead of Europeans, would the arbitrary threshold have been set in feet? If the artificial bar for acquiring glory had been set higher than Annapurna I, many fewer people would be tempted to climb what is considered by many to be the deadliest of the eight-thousanders. Alternatively, the bar could have been set lower and many more climbers would have scaled the rather obscure Gyachung Kang. In another alternate world, alpinists would brag about climbing the world’s 10 highest peaks; a distinction never mentioned in my readings. (The arbitrary cutoff of the 8000 meter peaks finds a parallel in modern long distance running. There are a great many races that are 26.2 miles long, but not races that are, for example, 25.8 miles long. The first few marathons had varied distances before the length became standardized. A long run with an unspecified distance could never confer the same status as a marathon.)

To the extent that climbing Everest is primarily motivated by status, it might be wasted effort from a social standpoint. Status is by its nature a positional good; someone who gains status by climbing Everest likely detracts from the status of lesser achievements such as marathon running.

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The European Commission: Lagarde for president

CHANCES for a new beginning in Europe are rare and should be seized. In the coming months, after five can-kicking years of crisis and austerity, the European Union will clean out its executive suite and appoint new presidents of the European Commission (the EU’s executive arm) and European Council (representing national governments), as well as a new foreign-policy chief.The EU desperately needs a fresh vision. Its citizens are disenchanted with the remote machinations inside Brussels. Insurgent political parties, many of them anti-EU, are snapping at the heels of the centrists. If the EU were a company, its board would have been sacked: if it were a football team, it would have been relegated. It needs new leadership.Unfortunately, Europe’s leaders have not got the message. The names being canvassed for commission president include two former prime ministers of smallish countries, Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourg) and Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium), an assortment of obscure European commissioners and the president of the dysfunctional European Parliament, Martin Schulz of Germany. It is an uninspiring list of Eurocrats, still mouthing nostrums about ever-closer union….

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Is soccer good for you?

Doerrenberg and Siegloch say maybe so, especially if you are unemployed: We examine the effect of salient international soccer tournaments on the motivation of unemployed individuals to search for employment using the German Socio Economic Panel 1984–2010. Exploiting the random scheduling of survey interviews, we find significant effects on motivational variables such as the intention […]

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Free economics resources on-line

Here is a bleg from Austin Frakt: I’m looking for free or cheap, but good, resources on economics, ones people might use for self-education. I’ve listed some about which I’m aware below, though I haven’t looked in detail at all of them, so the extent to which they—or that to which they link—are “good” is […]

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Evolutionary Psychology on Crusonia, by Bryan Caplan

Suppose two 20-year-olds wash up on a the desert island of Crusonia.  One is male, the other female.  They are both from the same country, but are otherwise randomly selected.  Both are convinced they have no hope of escaping the island.

Two questions:

1. What fraction of castaways pair bond over the next ten years?

2. If the castaways are unexpectedly rescued and return to their home country, what fraction of pair bonds remain together over the following ten years?

Please show your work.

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