The Dismal Science

Are male-dominated tenure committees holding women back in academia?

Paul Walker Apr 07, 2017

No. At the AEA website Tim Hyde discusses a paper in the American Economic Review (2017, 107(4): 1207–1238) which asks the question “Does the Gender Composition of Scientific Committees Matter?” The paper is by Manuel Bagues, Mauro Sylos-Labini, and Natalia Zinovyeva. In many countries there are concerns that male-dominated tenure committees that are convened to decide … Read More

Natural resources: Norway and the UK

Michael Reddell Mar 31, 2017

The contribution of natural resources to the prosperity of nations is much-debated.   There is little doubt that a) natural resources can be wasted, mismanaged etc, such that a country well-provided for by nature still ends up pretty poor (Zambia is my favourite example, partly because I worked there), and b) that it is perfectly feasible for some countries to do … Read More

Water pricing and bottling plants

Eric Crampton Mar 27, 2017

And here we go for another edition of “Because you’ve misspecified the problem, your proposed solution might make things worse.” The past couple of weeks have had renewed anger about water bottling plants. If you buy land with water drawing rights attached to it, you don’t get charged for drawing that water. The value of the water is baked into … Read More

What does the OECD really have to offer us?

Michael Reddell Mar 24, 2017

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is often loosely described as “the rich countries club”.  It isn’t an entirely accurate description –  there are several high income oil exporting countries who don’t belong (as well as places like Singapore and Taiwan), and some countries that are members (notably Mexico and Turkey) aren’t particularly high income.     But it … Read More

Marriage, kids, and the wage gap

Paul Walker Mar 11, 2017

The career dynamics of the gender gap for graduates of the Chicago Business School, as studied by Bertrand, Goldin, and Katz (2010), illustrate a common pattern. While women and men start their careers with similar earnings, a substantial gap arises over time, and the arrival of children is a major concurrent factor in the rising earnings gap. At least in … Read More


Govt requests NGO client data – Why do they need this?

Eric Crampton Mar 04, 2017

I’m a big fan of letting NGOs benchmark their effectiveness using government data. But I don’t quite get why the government needs NGOs to collect some of this information on their behalf. Here goes. The government holds a huge amount of linked administrative data on all of us in the Integrated Data Infrastructure. All kinds of stuff can be linked … Read More

Picking zones and picking winners

Eric Crampton Feb 22, 2017

The push for more localist approaches to policy problems in New Zealand continues to gather steam. Earlier this month, the McGuinness Institute argued for what they’re calling Demarcation Zones for policy trials. Their formulation differs a bit from what we at the Initiative proposed in 2015, but the core idea is similar: let local communities take on additional … Read More

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