the repository of pretty things
Some evidence that incentives for good teaching can work
problems with healthcare exchanges

interesting discussion on the tech problems the state exchanges are having. i eerily see many parallels with my job.

as an IT consultant, I can’t TELL YOU how complicated defining business process and translating them to configuration is. furthermore, the tech guys are not always the best at communicating/people skills, and they are often the guys running these projects. taking responsibility is a MUST, and even in the private sector - i’ve experienced it firsthand, the tendency is to wait around for others and shift blame, not actually take on the work yourself. 

that being said, another problem is how little people actually enjoy what they do on some days. 

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27 scientific breakthroughs in 2012

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what north korea's internet is like

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critique of the cbo healthcare model

there’s a lot to critique about forecasting models, but it’s worth it to note that i don’t think there can ever exist a GOOD forecast model. i was shocked when my professor who worked at the cbo for a few years said that their budget forecasting models were essentially performing a linear extrapolation on current spending and revenue levels. it sucks that projected costs are such a big deal in politics, because yeah, how much can people really predict the future, esp. with something so complicated as a national budget?

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what is your job like, really

really fascinating, detailed responses. it scares me how accurate the “office job” description is…

the case for abolishing paper money

by miles kimball

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The seed of the idea: 

In an economic situation like the one we are now in, we would like to encourage a company thinking about building a factory in a couple of years to build that factory now instead. If someone would lend to them at an interest rate of -3.33% per year, the company could borrow $1 million to build the factory now, and pay back something like $900,000 on the loan three years later. That would be a good enough deal that the company might move up its schedule for building the factory.  But everything runs aground on the fact that any potential lender, just by putting $1 million worth of green pieces of paper in a vault could get back $1 million three years later, which is a lot better than getting back a little over $900,000 three years later.  The fact that people could store paper money and get an interest rate of zero, minus storage costs, has deterred the Fed from bothering to lower the interest rate a bit more and forcing them to store paper money to get the best rate.

The bottom line is that all we have to do to give the Fed (and other central banks) unlimited power to lower short-term interest rates is to demote paper currency from its role as a yardstick for prices and other economic values—what economists call the “unit of account” function of money. Paper currency could still continue to exist, but prices would be set in terms of electronic dollars (or abroad, electronic euros or yen), with paper dollars potentially being exchanged at a discount compared to electronic dollars. 

and thus, the fed would be given unlimited power to lower short term interest rates. there would be no liquidity trap. its so simple and genius.

social mobility

If I just know that you share a rare surname with someone who was wealthy in 1800, I can predict now that you’re nine times more likely to attend Oxford or Cambridge. You’re going to live two years longer than an average person in England. You’re going to have more wealth. You’re more likely to be a doctor. You’re more likely to be an attorney,” Clark says.

via npr coverage of gregory clarks new paper

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noble matching

an overview of al roth and lloyd shapley’s work with matching theory, which won the economics nobel this week. matching theory has many cool applications to the real world, from pairing husbands to wives, students to universities, and donors to patients.

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poverty and welfare

wonderful debate between bill dickens and bryan caplan on poverty and welfare. 

they address some of the most common arguments (misconceptions) that people have against welfare programs, and i think it’s worth the read.

EDIT: and a good add on on japanese poverty, from noahopinion

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