Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Economic Oddities

"Why do they sterilize the needle and swab a prisoner's arm with alcohol before administering a lethal injection?" Questions and answers to questions like this are in the new book written by Cornell's professor Robert H. Frank.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Free Trade: Bernanke vs. Blinder

Here are two different views on free trade:Bernanke defends free trade and Blinder attacks it.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Ranking Economic Journals

New Approaches to Ranking Economics Journals
Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Pingkang Yu, George Washington University
We develop a flexible, citations- and reference-intensity-adjusted ranking technique that allows a specified set of journals to be evaluated using a range of alternative criteria. We also distinguish between the influence of a journal and that of a journal article, with the latter concept arguably being more relevant for measuring research productivity. The list of top economics journals can (but does not necessarily) change noticeably when one examines citations in the social science and policy literatures, and when one measures citations on a per-article basis. The changes in rankings are due to the broad interest in applied microeconomics and economic development, to differences in citation norms and in the relative importance assigned to theoretical and empirical contributions, and to the lack of a systematic effect of journal size on influence per article. We also find that economics is comparatively self-contained but nevertheless draws knowledge from a range of other disciplines.

Education Vouchers

The Economist: "FEW ideas in education are more controversial than vouchers—letting parents choose to educate their children wherever they wish at the taxpayer's expense. First suggested by Milton Friedman, an economist, in 1955, the principle is compellingly simple. The state pays; parents choose; schools compete; standards rise; everybody gains.
Simple, perhaps, but it has aroused predictable—and often fatal—opposition from the educational establishment. Letting parents choose where to educate their children is a silly idea; professionals know best. Co-operation, not competition, is the way to improve education for all. Vouchers would increase inequality because children who are hardest to teach would be left behind.
But these arguments are now succumbing to sheer weight of evidence. Voucher schemes are running in several different countries without ill-effects for social cohesion; those that use a lottery to hand out vouchers offer proof that recipients get a better education than those that do not". Read the article here.