Kamis, 29 Agustus 2013

Repression in China

A professor in China brings this story to my attention:
A renowned professor has confirmed online rumours that his peers will decide whether he will be expelled from China's most eminent university after he made a series of remarks in favour of free speech and constitutional governance. 
Economics professor Xia Yeliang of Peking University was told by his department that his fate would be decided by a faculty vote, he told the South China Morning Post on Monday. 
"They told me it's because of all the things I have said and written," Xia said. "They have threatened me before, but this is the first time they will vote on my expulsion."

My correspondent says that the vote will likely take place in September. He also reports that this is not an isolated incidence.  He writes, "Though you may not be aware, there is a quiet crack down currently under way in China with other professors being removed for similar offenses....I can tell you from my personal experience here, most Chinese faculty at PKU and other elite Chinese institutions having been educated at top schools in the US are appalled but are quite fearful to speak out."

Here are some questions to think about: If a professor at the prominent Peking University is fired for exercising free speech, how should professors in the United States respond?  For example, should American scholars refuse to attend conferences and give talks there?  Is there more we can do?

Minggu, 25 Agustus 2013

Free Bikes and Girls' Education - Update

Last year, I posted a video about some new research on how giving bicycles to girls in a India increased their educational attainment.  Here is an update. (And here is the paper.)

Selasa, 20 Agustus 2013

I am Ray Fair

Or at least we agree on most things, according to this website, which identifies which economist on the IGM Forum your opinions are most similar to.

Sabtu, 10 Agustus 2013

Wisdom from Raghu Rajan

"For economists who actively engage the public, it is hard to influence hearts and minds by qualifying one’s analysis and hedging one’s prescriptions. Better to assert one’s knowledge unequivocally, especially if past academic honors certify one’s claims of expertise. This is not an entirely bad approach if it results in sharper public debate.
"The dark side of such certitude, however, is the way it influences how these economists engage contrary opinions. How do you convince your passionate followers if other, equally credentialed, economists take the opposite view? All too often, the path to easy influence is to impugn the other side’s motives and methods, rather than recognizing and challenging an opposing argument’s points. Instead of fostering public dialogue and educating the public, the public is often left in the dark. And it discourages younger, less credentialed economists from entering the public discourse."

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-declining-quality-of-public-economic-debate-by-raghuram-rajan#Xlo2wzGUe2FcbYDZ.99

Sabtu, 03 Agustus 2013

Obamacare versus the Faculty

I don't know how widespread this phenomenon is, but I thought I would share an email I received this morning:
I have been teaching multiple sections of economics for four years now at several Colleges and Universities in the State of Indiana. I have also been a frequent user of your texts in the classes that I teach.

With the implementation of the ACA (Affordable Care Act) these institutions are giving notification to their part-time faulty that their individual teaching schedules will now be limited to three sections. At the college this will likely result in the cancellation of 20-25% of the class sections in economics, and I would assume other areas will have a similar result. The students are not fully aware of the situation and many will be surprised that their desire to get a college education is now being impacted by the need to avoid the full implementation of the ACA.

Regardless if you are a Republican or a Democrat I would hope full-time faculty would voice their concern regarding the impact the implementation of the ACA could have on the attainment of higher education for the current student population and upon the lives of the dedicated part-time faculty that have been devoted to serving this student population.

My hope is that if faculty across the nation brought this to the public attention that we as a nation could have a more open and complete dialogue regarding the course we wish to set as a nation.
Update: Another example.

Ec 10 Bleg

As part of our "marketing" effort to get freshmen into ec 10, Harvard's introductory economics course, the ec 10 staff and I are trying to construct a list of famous alums of the course. Here is the list we have put together so far:

Steve Ballmer
Ben Bernanke
Lloyd Blankfein
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jeremy Lin
Sheryl Sandberg
Eduardo Saverin
Chuck Schumer
Cameron Winklevoss
Tyler Winklevoss
Mark Zuckerberg

If you attended Harvard and have a famous classmate who you are sure took ec 10 (or its predecessor ec 1), please email me the information.

Kamis, 01 Agustus 2013


If you are a member of the American Economic Association, you probably received an email this morning about the election of AEA officers. Please vote. It is your patriotic duty, or something like that.

Information about the candidates is available here.