The equity premium and the Stern Review

by John Q on December 8, 2006

Brad DeLong carries on the discussion about discounting and the Stern Review, responding to a critique by Partha Dasgupta that has already been the subject of heated discussion. As Brad says, all Dasgupta’s assumptions are reasonable, and his formal analysis is correct

But … The problem I see lies in a perfect storm of interactions:

This brings me to one of my favorite subjects: the equity premium puzzle and its implications, in this case for the Stern Review. I’ll try and explain in some detail over the page, but for those who prefer it, I’ll self-apply the DD condenser and report

Shorter JQ: It’s OK to use the real bond rate for discounting while maintaining high sensitivity to risk and inequality.

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Pure Gold, Like in Fort Knox

by Scott McLemee on December 8, 2006

What synchronicity: In an entry posted yesterday at Steamboats Are Ruining Everything, Caleb Crain writes about getting some offprints of his article from the latest issue of American Literary History:

I don’t think the world outside academia knows what offprints are any more, if they ever did. I say this with some confidence because when I gave one to a very worldly and well-read acquaintance, he asked, a few weeks after reading it, what it was. Had I had my essay privately printed? he asked. And that was more than a decade ago. I would like to assure everyone that not even I am so nineteenth-century as to have my essays privately printed.

Offprints are unbound printed pages of an article, which a scholarly journal provides to the article’s author so that he may share them with colleagues. The protocol is — or rather, was — that when a researcher wanted to read an article that happened to appear in a journal he didn’t subscribe to, he would send a postcard to the author, care of his institutional address, asking for an offprint. And the author, as a matter of scholarly courtesy, would mail it to him free. My father is a scientist, and when I was little and collected stamps, most of them came from the postcards sent to him and the other scientists at his institution, requesting offprints. In those days, the 1970s and 1980s, the requests by and large came from developing countries, where the research institutions had less money for their libraries. The postcards came from all over the world, in other words, from countries I’d never heard of and imagined I would never see, and it gave me a thrill to see them, emblems of the glamour and global reach of the life of the mind.

Caleb includes an image of the first such postcard he ever received after publishing an article, and offers to send an offprint of his new article if you ask for one in the traditional manner. He mentions “a slight advantage to the paper copy, actually; I couldn’t get online rights for one of the images, so that picture doesn’t appear in JSTOR, only in the printed version.”

Same-sex Marriage in Canada

by Jon Mandle on December 8, 2006

For many of us, the hope has been that as same-sex marriage gains a foothold, it will seem less threatening and scary – more normal – to many people and opposition will temper. A data point from Canada:

Yesterday, the Canadian House of Commons voted to uphold same-sex marriage. According to the Global and Mail, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declared the contentious issue of same-sex marriage to be permanently closed…. The vote yesterday, which fulfilled a Conservative election promise, marked the sixth time since 2003 that the House of Commons has decided in favour of same-sex marriage.”

But what was striking to me was that opponents of same-sex marriage seemed simply to be going through the motions. According to the Washington Post: “The prime minister expended little visible effort to try to win the vote, and political commentators suggested that he simply wanted to put the issue behind him before another national election was called.”

A long article in this morning’s Inside Higher Ed covers the findings and recommendations in the MLA’s final report on tenure. Much of the same material is covered by The Chronicle of Higher Education here, I’d guess, but who knows? Short of selling blood — and quite a lot of it — I cannot afford to read anything they publish.
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More on Borders and Justice

by Jon Mandle on December 8, 2006

Thanks, Chris. And thanks to the people who contributed to the excellent comment thread. Let me try to continue the discussion by attempting to clarify what I had in mind in the passage that Chris quotes.

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