The Dismal Science

Why is Fat B*stard fat?

Paul Walker Jul 13, 2016

Apart from the obvious point that Mike Myers created the character that way. In a recent column at Rachel Griffith and Melanie Lührmann argue that its because he doesn’t exercise as much he used to. Griffith and Lührmann start by arguing that the rise in obesity we see around the world has largely been … Read More

Immigration is “a good thing”, and that is all we need to know

Michael Reddell Jul 04, 2016

I’ve been struck again over the last few days by the determination of our “elites” –  whether from the left-liberal end of the spectrum, or the (rather smaller) libertarian end – not to actually engage with the data on New Zealand’s experience of large scale immigration. In their amusing tongue-in-cheek simplified retelling of English history, 1066 and all that, Sellars and … Read More

Moderate drinking linked to cancer risk: NZ study reviewed

Eric Crampton Jun 28, 2016

University of Otago has come out with another study on cancer risks from moderate drinking. I just can’t get too excited about these. Moderate alcohol consumption reduces your risk of some stuff and increases your risk of other stuff. On net, drinking about a standard drink per day reduces your risk of dying of anything by about 15% relative … Read More

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Stoned driving

Eric Crampton Jun 20, 2016

It’s hard to get a good read on the risks of driving while stoned. It matters because it’s one of the less crazy objections to marijuana legalisation.  If penalising driving while stoned is hard, if it is risky and if consumption increases under legalisation – that could be a cost of legalisation. Existing estimates are a bit of a problem. Read More

90 Days

Eric Crampton Jun 20, 2016

Motu’s had a look at the effects of the 90 day trial legislation. Under that legislation, employers could hire employees on a trial basis and dismiss them relatively easily within that 90 day window. Supporters of it expected it to encourage employment of riskier employees; opponents expected substantial churn: that employers would somehow figure it made sense to hire people … Read More

E-cigarettes to tobacco: exploring the relationship between risky activities

Eric Crampton Jun 16, 2016

Suppose you observed that kids who tried some risky-looking novel activity X were more likely to go on to try some other risky activity Y. Should you conclude that X leads to Y, or that kids who are risk-, sensation-, or novelty-seeking will exhibit that on more than one margin? Cohort selection effects matter: the ones who try X aren’t … Read More

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