Archive: The Dismal Science 2013

Consenting and rocket science

Eric Crampton Nov 24, 2015

Looks like Christchurch has lost its shot at a space-port. Rocket Lab is moving its proposed launch facility from Birdlings Flat out to the Mahia Peninsula. They’ve cited slow Christchurch resource consenting as one of the reasons. Auckland-based Rocket Lab said its decision was partly due to the time it was taking to get the necessary resource consent from Christchurch … Read More

Cinderella men

Eric Crampton Nov 24, 2015

I think this is the first time I’ve seen evolutionary biology featured in a Press piece on crime. The piece notes the disproportionate number of children in New Zealand killed by step-fathers. Why stepfathers kill their lovers’ small children but spare their own has troubled Canadian evolutionary psychologist Martin Daly for decades. He and his late wife Margo Wilson … Read More

When network effects go bad

Donal Curtin Nov 23, 2015

“Final Mail Newsletter”, says the December 2015 issue from a chap I buy stuff from. “Due to the increased costs of postage and decreased service from NZ Post this will be the final newsletter that you will receive via post. From 2016 the Monthly Newsletter will be sent out by email”. Nothing new there, you might think: that’s how it … Read More

Good urban policy makes for good refugee policy

Eric Crampton Nov 20, 2015

A few months ago, when there was more pressure on government to increase the refugee quota, one of the push-backs from opponents asked where the refugees would live when housing markets are pretty tight.  Bad urban policy that limits supply naturally leads to this kind of view. One more house taken by somebody is one fewer house available for you … Read More

Ceremonial science: the state of Russian economics

Paul Walker Nov 17, 2015

A question worth asking is what damage did the Soviet era do to economics in Russian. Well now we may have, at least part of, the answer. A paper by Alexander Libman and Joachim Zweynert in Economic Systems (Volume 38, Issue 3, Pages 289-468, September 2014) looks at Ceremonial science: The state of Russian economics seen … Read More

Does centrality still give status?

Eric Crampton Nov 17, 2015

Robin Hanson wonders whether cities are places for high-status men and the women who seek them, with low-status men relegated to the hinterlands: I’ve heard that polygamous sects are often run this way today, with older men kicking out young men when they come of age. But re-reading Montaillou on rural 1300 France makes me realize that humanity has … Read More

We need to free the data

Eric Crampton Nov 16, 2015

Why can’t New Zealand public data be as publicly available as American data? Here’s a snip from my column from Academics in New Zealand wanting to use individual-level publicly collected data to look at questions of public policy interest have two basic options. They can request a Confidentialised Unit Record File from Statistics New Zealand for the Census … Read More

Visualising metadata

Aaron Schiff Nov 04, 2015

Data visualisation typically focuses on the data itself, but in some cases the metadata is interesting in its own right. Lately I’ve been thinking a bit about how to visualise the structure of metadata. Ultimately this could be combined with a data visualisation to make something that coherently shows both the data and its structure. A couple of interesting examples … Read More

China’s fertility rate in an Asian perspective

Michael Reddell Oct 30, 2015

The media are full of stories of the Chinese government/party decision to abandon the evil one-child policy and replace it with a marginally less evil two-child policy.  It is interesting to see the change presented by the authorities as a response to an ageing population, and I’ve seen various commentaries over the last few years suggesting that this easing … Read More

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