- Ulrike Malmendier and Stefan Nagel: Learning from Inflation Experiences: "How do individuals form expectations about future inflation? We propose that personal experiences play an important role. Individuals adapt their forecasts to new data but overweight inflation realized during their lifetimes…. Learning from experience explains the substantial disagreement between young and old individuals in periods of high surprise inflation, such as the 1970s…. The loss of distant memory implied by learning from experience provides a natural microfoundation for models of perpetual learning, such as constant-gain learning models…. The learning-from-experience framework… generates heterogeneity in inflation expectations… has implications for the average level of inflation expectations are similar to those resulting from representative-agent constant-gain learning algorithms that are popular in macroeconomics."
Jim Livingstone: Cliche Run Aground: "Fish in a barrel, OK. Still. Thomas Friedman made his reputation by reporting on the Middle East, and he constantly invokes his face-to-face experience with sources there…. And yet every time the momentum of his own prose demands that he say something interesting or important, he produces banalities like this… 'Egypt is a terrible deep hole, and the only way it can get out is with a national unity government that can make hard decisions and do the required heavy lifting'…. These are clichés, but here they are, offered up as fresh insights…. But unlike a country music singer, or a hip-hop musician, Friedman lets the cliché stand as the final word, not the incentive to make something new…. Look, I’m not suggesting that Thomas Friedman should be Juan Cole, or Conn Hallinan, or Steve Coll. I’m just asking for some evidence of intellectual activity. If Thomas Friedman’s prose is a bundle of physical reflexes, like your knee when the doctor bangs it with a rubber tomahawk, or like your dog when he’s slobbering, what is the point of thinking about it?"
John Vidal: Global threat to food supply as water wells dry up: "In the US, farmers are overpumping in the Western Great Plains, including in several leading grain-producing states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. Irrigated agriculture has thrived in these states, but the water is drawn from the Ogallala aquifer, a huge underground water body that stretches from Nebraska southwards to the Texas Panhandle. 'It is, unfortunately, a fossil aquifer, one that does not recharge. Once it is depleted, the wells go dry and farmers either go back to dryland farming or abandon farming altogether, depending on local conditions', says Brown. 'In Texas, located on the shallow end of the aquifer, the irrigated area peaked in 1975 and has dropped 37% since then. In Oklahoma irrigation peaked in 1982 and has dropped by 25%. In Kansas the peak did not come until 2009, but during the three years since then it has dropped precipitously, falling nearly 30%. Nebraska saw its irrigated area peak in 2007. Since then its grain harvest has shrunk by 15%'.
Mike Konczal: Can libertarian populism save the Republican Party?: "Would an agenda focused on 'libertarian populism' be the right way to bring economically disaffected whites back into the GOP’s fold?… This brings to mind Eugene Mirman’s joke about bears, where he notes that the common notion that you should play dead if you see a bear 'is a rumor that bears spread'. Similarly, the idea that reducing the tax burden on the rich while calling for tighter money and deregulation counts as 'populism' sure seems like a rumor spread by the 1 percent."
Colin Snyder: Shorter Wall Street Journal: “We Love Governments that Murder Thousands of People” | Lola's Horchata Recipe | Jeff Weintraub: Jeff Weintraub: Adam Smith's conceptual sleight-of-hand on exchange, cooperation, and the foundations of social order | Radley Balko: “Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control | Liza Featherstone, Doug Henwood, and Christian Parenti: Action Will Be Taken: Left Anti-intellectualism and Its Discontents |