by Kieran Healy on February 24, 2007

Weekend in Dublin
Wilkinson won’t save you now

Vote for your favorite academic haikus

by Eszter Hargittai on February 24, 2007

Jim got such great response to his academic haiku contest that he decided to categorize the submissions by field. You are requested to cast your vote in the following categories:

I’m surprised by some of the classifications, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy with some of those submissions. Why my paper that was published in Social Science Quartery was not classified as social science is beyond me, but perhaps Jim needed some excuse to create a fourth category to make things manageable and thus put some entries in the the fourth interdisciplinary tech/computer/Internet-related, but otherwise unrelated group. Even in the realm of academic haikus my work lands in a heap of confusion, the story of my academic life.

In any case, this was a really fun exercise and I thank Jim for inspiring so many of us to think about our work in 17 syllables. If you haven’t done it yet, I recommend playing with the concept even if you are too late to enter this contest. Go read the submissions and vote to get inspired.

Discounting the future, yet again

by John Quiggin on February 24, 2007

Felix Salmon gnashes his teeth at yet another incorrect report on discounting and the Stern review, by David Leonhardt in the New York Times.

Using his discount rate and other assumptions, a dollar of economic damage prevented a century from now is roughly as valuable as 7 cents spent reducing emissions today. (In fact, it’s less than that, because Stern adds another discount rate, called delta, on top of eta.)
Leonhardt says that “spending a dollar on carbon reduction today to avoid a dollar’s worth of economic damage in 2107 doesn’t make sense” – but this is a straw man, since Stern never comes close to saying that we should do such a thing. Leonhardt also spends a lot of time on the academic qualifications of Stern’s opponents, but neglects to mention that Stern himself, a former chief economist of the World Bank, is actually a real expert on discount rates, and understands them much better than most economists do.

Salmon is right, both about the Leonhardt piece and, unfortunately, about the limited understanding of discounting issues on the part of economists in general.

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Pains-taking Plus Metropolis

by John Holbo on February 24, 2007

A bemused follow-up to my Frankenstein post. Here’s what you get tangled in, trying to edit this stuff into shape (plus YouTube goodies!). [click to continue…]

Rethinking Gender Egalitarianism

by Harry on February 24, 2007

I’ve been at several of the Real Utopias Conferences that have been organised out of the Havens Center. The latestI attended part time, and, I must admit, not without a certain amount of bad conscience. The topic was Rethinking Gender Egalitarianism, and I was leaving my wife at home much of the weekend with a 4-week-old baby and the girls. So, I missed some of the best bits. It was also odd because I rarely attend a conference where I know almost no-one; and although Johanna Brenner is a very old friend, I knew none of the other out-of-towners except through their work, some of them being people whose work I started reading 2 decades ago. Rosemary Crompton, I’m pretty certain, mistook me for my dad. He should be flattered.

Nevertheless it was, in some ways, the best conference yet. Everyone was nicely on task, and although debate got quite excitable it was always good-natured. The lead document, by Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers, authors of Families that Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employmenr, argues for a mix of improved daycare provision, labour market regulation and parental leave at generous replacement rates; and the argument is that this will improve the quality of family life and increase gender equality. The proposal is less utopian and more real than some of the real utopian proposals (perhaps less utopian than I would have preferred) but I think that may have been an unavoidable feature of the subject matter; get too far away from what is feasible in the short-to-medium term and it is hard to say much that is supportable.

The papers are all here.

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