Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Carnival of the Africans #3

Posted by Simon Halliday | Tuesday, October 28, 2008 | Category: | 1 comments this month's edition of the Carnival of the Africans I have set out to do two things, first, to find some interesting posts that people have either sent to me, or that I have managed to find myself.  Second, I decided that we should have a special place for the launching of the site Stop Danie Krugel and link to several of the posts there.  So here goes...

General Skepticism and Science
Angela, the Skeptic Detective, brings us three interesting and entertaining posts.  She gives us the first two installments (here and here) of her trilogy (third part forthcoming) on the woo presented in the 'documentary' Water: The Great Mystery.  The film proposes that water is imprinted with emotions and 'energy'.  Angela breaks this with a skeptical incisions, along with a dose of sarcasm.  Similarly she deals with a chain email trying to promote the dubious claim that baby carrots are out to get you... oohh... they get white and fluffy... oohh...

Prometheus Unbound sets out some of the arguments about religion being a Virus of the Mind.  See his post on some recent work in the Proceedings of the Royal Society and an article in the Economist. He also sets out in his 'Sorry, friends, not since Darwin they ain't' some of the ways in which postmodernist Pieter Duvenage attempted to attack his naturalist inclination, Claassen reminds us that Duvenage's attack on science and naturalism is silly.

Subtle shift in emphasis brings us a piece, Ritual Insantiy,on an incident in Malaysia in which a couple were killed during a 'ritual beating' (i.e. not something that occurred regularly, but something that was part of a ritual).  Wow. 

From my own blog, I decided to highlight two posts.  The first, Egalitarians behave 'trustworthily',  is on egalitarianism and egotism and within-subject variation in economic experiments, which included a sample of individuals from South Africa.  The second, Experimenter Bias, reminds us that it is necessary to be aware of priming in economic experiments and elsewhere and that awareness of such effects needs to become more widespread.

Mike Meadon, from Ionian Enchantment, reminds us that even professional and fantastic science journalists like Malcolm Gladwell can get it wrong.  Mike discusses, in his 'Genius and Precocity', a recent article by Gladwell in the New Yorker.  Mike also assesses a recent New Scientist article on the Discovery Institute's attempts to attack naturalism by reviving dualism.  Sigh... Read his incisive commentary, Neuroscience denial is the new wedge.

Richard Harriman, of Botswana Skeptic, tells us about how he has been lying to astrologers in his post 'It's in the stars?'  It's a very entertaining breakdown. 

Yet another skeptic jokes about claims and proof a bit in his post 'Claim and Protocol'.  The style is humorous, the message important: Evidence is crucial.

Lastly, Pause and Consider offers us his insights into the Bigfoot phenomenon, giving us 10 Reasons why Bigfoot is Stupid.  He put the problem in its cryptozoological frame and breaks it all down.  Have a read of this fine post.

Danie Krugel:
First, we have the Open Letter to Danie Krugel signed by all kinds of luminaries, including James Randi and Ben Goldacre to name a few.  Get your name on that list to get Krugel's 'machine' tested. See also the discussion on the site.
Mike Meadon - Stop Danie Krugel
Subtle shift - Stop Danie Krugel
Yet another skeptic's blog - 8th on Google
The James Randi Educational Foundation hosts a forum to discuss Stop Danie Krugel.

And for Google...
Danie Krugel, Danie Krügel, Krugel, Krügel, Stop Danie Krugel, Danie Krugel criticism, Danie Krugel sceptic, Krugel skeptic, Danie Krugel facts, Danie Krügel facts, Danie facts, Krügel facts, Krugel facts, Krugel truth, Krugel, honest, Krugel, science, Science Krugel, Science Krügel, Physics Krügel, Physics Krugel.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Posted by Simon Halliday | Saturday, October 25, 2008 | Category: | 0 comments

Financial Crisis Related
Eamonn Butler - No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
James Livingston - Their Great Depression and Ours Part I and II
Bill Moyers interviews James Galbraith
Greg Mankiw - But have we learned enough?
Andrew Lahde - Letter to FT
Barry Eichengreen - New World Pragmatism
David Colander - Trickle Up Plans
Claire Berlinski - What the Free Market Needs
Economist - Into The Storm

Non-Financial Crisis Related
Duncan Green - World Health Report 2008: Getting Back to Basics
Will Wilkonson - Equal Chances for Equal Talent
Economist - Rise of the Obamacons

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Tiger That Isn't

Posted by Simon Halliday | Friday, October 24, 2008 | Category: | 0 comments

Tiger That IsnI wanted to promote a podcast - Beauty and the Beast - Numbers and Public Policy - that I recently listened to by Andrew Dilnot, one of the authors of the book The Tiger That Isn't. His co-author is Michael Blastland.  Dilnot gave a lecture at the LSE which was put up on the web at UChannel, a fantastic resource for lectures and presentations given at various universities and other institutions.

Dilnot's lecture centred around the appalling nature of numeracy in the British population, and the world population in general.  Specifically, the lack of a general understanding of basic statistics. He discusses how there are regular mishaps in interpretations of data, by journalists, by government and by the public.  He makes the point that people should be more skeptical about the numbers that they see and that they should be made aware of all kinds of statistical 'rules of thumb' that good quality practitioners know.  For example, regression to the mean where "individuals far from the mean on the first set will tend to be closer to the mean on the second set". 

To use Dilnot and Blastland's example, consider that you are a government official thinking of installing speed traps, you make an observation of the number of accidents in several locations over a period of time, say six months, and see that in several places there are numerous accidents.  You install these cameras in these 'danger areas'.  You then observe that for the six months following the installation of the cameras there was a 'decrease' in the incidence of accidents and your policy 'worked'.  Well... no.  You are actually observing regression to the mean.  The sample that you have of two six month periods constitutes a sample of almost zero.  With any given time series data (i.e. observations of specific events over time) there will be deviations around a mean.  The government, because it observed a freakishly high incidence of accidents in one area, assumed that its policy instrument of installing speed cameras was effective simply because the incidence went down.  This is not accurate.  What you need to have is a measure which gives you what the mean number of acccidents are in a specific location and observe a statistically significant decrease - i.e. a decrease for which we can impute a correlation with the use of speed traps holding other factors significant (such as that the skill of drivers wasn't suddenly higher, or that people had suddenly stopped drinking alcohol, or that the number of drivers on the roads was different). 

Dilnot considers this and other factors that affect public opinion and makes the point that far too many people blithely accept numbers that are thrown at them by people in 'authority', be it the media or government.  They need to be aware of the types of behavior displayed by data and be aware that people will manipulate how something is portrayed to aggrandize their own actions (far too much is said, for example, on the effects of anti-smoking legislation, it's normally nowhere near as effective as claimed).

Anyway, listed to the podcast, I think it is worthwhile.  I am always in favour of skepticality improving broadcasts and information (Dilnot also tells a great story of being thought of as a literary philistine and asks why the same doesn't apply to numeracy).  Thanks Andrew Dilnot, LSE and UChannel.  I'm going to keep an eye out for the book when I am next in the UK.


Posted by Simon Halliday | | Category: | 0 comments

Financial Crisis:
Joseph Stiglitz - A Crisis of Confidence
Jeffrey Sachs - Seven Questions
Tim Harford - Econopoly
Robert Skidelsky - We Forgot Everything Keynes Taught Us
Dani Rodrik - The Next Stage of the Crisis

Chrisopher Hitchens - Vote for Obama
Chris Blattman - Interview with Ray Fisman and Ted Miguel

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Religious Norms, Human Capital and Risk

Posted by Simon Halliday | Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Category: , | 0 comments

Yesterday, I attended an interesting presentation by Matteo Cervellati of the University of Bologna that he gave in the Seminar series at Siena. The title of his paper, co-authored with Marcel Jansen (Universidad Carlos) and Uwe Sunde (Univ. St. Gallen) is "Religious Norms and Long Term Development: Insurance, Human Capital and Technological Change". Here's a section from the abstract of the paper:
Under reasonable assumptions, we show that any implementable norm can either enforce charity or extra effort provision, but not both at the same time. The features of the most desirable norm depend on the relative importance of pure hazard (luck) and returns to effort, suggesting that in early development stages charity norms are more desirable, while norms supporting effort provision and self-responsibility are dominant when returns to human capital are relatively high and safe. This is consistent with the observation that the Catholicism is based on norms of charity, while Protestantism promotes self-responsibility and industriousness.
They basically argue for an endogenous, and basically inevitable, 'reformation' of the church as a consequence of life becoming 'less risky'. This lower risk resulted in guarantees to returns to human capital investment that could not be achieved before (the reformation).  The factors that determine religious adoption had to do with the size of the returns to human capital and exposure to risk.  Prior to the reformation, risk was high and returns to human capital investment (if not investment generally) were quite low.  One of the norms which could allow for insurance in this instance would be one based on 'mutual insurance and charity', which the authors identify as a 'Catholic' norm.  However, once the returns to human capital increase and size of or exposure to risk decreases norms that support increased effort provision are, instead, a better method (i.e. a approximate a first best solution in a general equilibrium framework) of insurance.  This is similar to the 'Protestant', Calvinist, or Puritanical systems.  The paper is a work in progress and they are still look at combinations of the two, i.e. systems in which there is partial mutual insurance and substantial - but not extreme levels of - effort provision. They are still working on the math of this, but it looks promising.  Basically, they should be able to cater to a continuum of religions on a line of 'effort provision' to 'mutual insurance' with signals of what are likely to be specific 'sins' in one religion (norm set) vs. another. 

One of the consequences of this research is that if the division of religions was, in fact, endogenous then the use of religion as an 'exogenous' variable in cross-country regressions as a proxy for culture is deeply problematic.  This obviously has a consequence for using such variables as an instrument for culture and thus, when published, the paper should have a substantial impact on the empirical work using 'religion' as a proxy for underlying, unobservable characteristics in a country.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Call for Posts - Carnival of the Africans # 3

Posted by Simon Halliday | Friday, October 17, 2008 | Category: , , | 0 comments

I am hosting the third Carnival of the Africans on October 28th.  Please send all your posts on things skeptical, scientific and social scientific to simon.d.halliday{at} (which I do without the 'at' sign in order to confound bots of evilness, &c) by 8am (GMT+2) of October 27th (one day prior to the carnival). 

I start my second year of PhD coursework on Monday the 20th, so please do me the little favour of getting the posts into me that day early so that I can get all of the reading done.  Send in posts that are preferably, but not exclusively, written and published during the last month.

The Carnival of the Africans is a carnival based on similar principles to that of the Skeptic's Circle, but with a distinctly African flavour - science by Africans for Africans if you will.  If you plan to send in a post, please make sure to look at the guidelines set out by Ionian Enchantment here. Closer to the time I will do my best to contact specific people if I have read blog posts that I would like to have included in the carnival. Please send me the URLs of, or links to, up to three posts that you would like to have included in the line-up of the carnival. 

If you would like to take a look at previous carnivals, then take a see that past two carnivals:
Ionian Enchantment hosting the Carnival of the Africans #1.
the little book of capoeira hosting the Carnival of the Africans #2.

I look forward to hearing from you soon! Remember that carnivals are a fantastic way to promote your blog and to get your name out there into the blogosphere. I anticipate fantastic posts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Posted by Simon Halliday | Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Category: | 0 comments

On the financial crisis:The Rescue Plan and Its Largest Recipients
Luigi Zingales - Plan B (very good)
Vernon L. Smith - There's No Easy Way Out of the Bubble
Ben Bernanke - We're Laying the Groundwork for Recovery
Vox EU Publications - Rescuing Our Jobs and Savings
NYT - US investing $250 Billion in Banks (this is simply wow, almost unbelievable, part of me is worried about the 'preferred stock' idea, but not too sure right now, see graphic adjacent)
Vox EU - Financial Development at Risk
Cass Sunstein - Wall Street's Lemmings
Vox EU - Richard Portes - A Strategy Emerges

Vox EU - HIV and Fertility in Africa
Vox EU - Never Trust a Stranger

And by the recent Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman
(all old pieces):
The Ice Age Cometh
Size Does Matter
Incidents from my career
How I Work
Ricardo's Difficult Idea

Maybe I was Wrong

Posted by Simon Halliday | | Category: | 0 comments

At least for Iceland, the import-dependent country of 320 000 inhabitants: the Icelandic currency, the krona, has depreciated so dramatically while its three main banks went bust that imports have frozen up because foreign currency has become unavailable.  Markets are clearing, not in the economic sense, but in the sense that they are really drying up of goods. It makes the optimist in me worry.

See the Bloomberg article here

Monday, October 13, 2008

Paul Krugman - Nobel Laureate

Posted by Simon Halliday | Monday, October 13, 2008 | Category: | 3 comments

Paul Krugman was just announced as the winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2008, supposedly for his "analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity". Go Paul Krugman! Krugman is a professor of Economics at Princeton University (and before that MIT,Yale, LSE, &c). Currently, Krugman has advocated nationalization of bank debt - i.e. injections of liquidity by buying government buying up bad debt but also getting shares in businesses. He maintains a blog at the NYT, in addition to being a bi-weekly columnist for the newspaper. He also drew up a model of the spread of the crisis prior to the leaders of the EU, UK and US meeting in Washington. I think he is a worthy winner of the prize, though I had hoped that Oliver Williamson (transactions costs and institutional economics) and/or Richard Thaler (behavioral and experimental economics) might get it.  Nevertheless, Krugman is a good economist and deserves the prize.  Congratulations Paul Krugman.

No, capitalism is not ending

Posted by Simon Halliday | | Category: | 0 comments

Several people have, of late, said to me, "Well, this must be the end of American-style capitalism." I don't really know what they mean - 'the end of capitalism?' I don't think so. To me, capitalism is about having markets with individuals interacting in the markets which allow market mechanisms to allocate scarce resources to people who want them the most, be these resources cigarettes, plants, pencils, white collar labour, blue collar labour, what have you. That the financial system is in jeopardy because of poor regulation, poor management or risk and general irrationality does not imply that markets qua capitalism is 'failing'. That's just wrong-headed - it conflates financial institutions, many of which have been atrociously managed, and by extension the financial market with all markets. Not a good idea. If these people, by American-style Capitalism mean a system of private property with which we use markets, then I would still contest that, but the failure or death of markets in general. No.

So a couple of questions, if 'capitalism is failing' why do you still see groceries in your grocery store or supermarket? Why do you still see people in coffee shops being supplied with coffee in all its caffeinated (or not) glory? Why are people still selling and buying cothes at department stores and flea markets, going to movies, worrying about methods by which they can use the market and the mechanisms by which the market operates - i.e. those other agents in the market who we expect to go about allocating their resources to satisfy their wants - to make sure that we can satisfy our own wants. How is it that if you want something (and you have the money to buy it) you can go out and get it? The answer: a functioning market system.

This is not to say that I am overly optimistic about what is going to happen in the world economy over the next while. Do I expect that unemployment will increase as a consequence of the financial crisis? Yes. Do I think that it will be more difficult to get a loan and therefore for the market to operate as fluidly and responsively as before. Yes (which is a strong reason for injecting liquidity and recapitalizing the financial system). Do I think people will have to cut back in their spending? Yes. Do I think there may be issues with inflation and devaluation of capital? Yes. Do I think we should suddenly jump ship and decide to implement a communist regime of centralized government planning for all goods and service? No. No. No.

Mark Thoma puts it well:
As we are seeing now, sometimes markets can fail catastrophically, but that doesn't mean that all markets fail, or that we should lose faith in the ability of markets to allocate goods and services... Every day... the needs of hundreds of millions of people are met through our market system. For the most part, when you go to the marketplace, you can find what you want -- somehow, the market anticipates your needs and has the goods and services ready and waiting when you walk through the door of a store. You won't always find what you are looking for, stores can stock out, oversupply, not have what you want, and so on, but most of the time you do find what you are looking for, or don't have to wait long to get it. When you think about it, it's actually pretty amazing that we are able to coordinate so many diverse actions of so many individuals into an economic system that does a pretty good job of providing for our needs, responding to changes in our tastes, providing incentives for technological advancement, and so on. So I don't think the lesson of this crisis is that markets don't work. I think the lesson is that markets don't always work, that we need to be vigilant in our oversight of markets to make sure they really do satisfy, as much as possible, the competitive ideals that are necessary for markets to perform well.

This is fantastically sensible in my mind. Thoma was lauded for his prescience of the way in which the financial crisis would turn out and I recommend his blog Economist's View. I just want to make sure that people don't incorrectly interpret the current crisis as something that it is not - it is not a call for the dismemberment of markets, it is a call for oversight and recognition that legislation needs to keep up with the technology and pace of the financial system. It has not done so. We are feeling the consequences of both market failure and government failure now.

And now for a video of Charlie Rose interviewing Paul Volcker:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Financial Crisis Links

Posted by Simon Halliday | Thursday, October 09, 2008 | Category: , | 0 comments

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Egalitarians behave 'trustworthily', Egotists don't

Posted by Simon Halliday | Tuesday, October 07, 2008 | Category: , , , | 0 comments

ResearchBlogging.orgOk, so the title of the post gives the paper more pizzazz than it really has, but hey? Today, a little discussion about Nava Ashraf, Iris Bohnet and Nikita Piankov's (2006) paper 'Decomposing Trust and Trustworthiness'.

The main reason that it is of interest to me is that it used a sample of students from South Africa in Cape Town (which somehow was spelt Capetown in the paper, ATROCIOUS editing!), along with students from Boston, US and Moscow, Russia.

The next point of interest is that, unlike many economic experiments, it assesses within-subject variation across two different games, the dictator game and the trust or 'investment' game.

The authors had 4 main hypotheses that they wished to test:

  1. Trust is only based on expectations of trustworthiness.
  2. Trust is only based on unconditional kindness.
  3. Trustworthiness is only based on reciprocity.
  4. Trustworthiness is only based on unconditional kindness.
The results from the paper for the dictator game and trust game do not differ significantly from conventional results as reported by Camerer (2003) on a survey of experimental results. Pertinently, non-white South Africans in the sample were significantly less trusting than white South Africans using an index of trust that included 'trust'-probing questions such as “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?”

With respect to their hypotheses, they find that, "trustors derive satisfaction from trusting independent of amounts expected back and unconditional kindness" (201). This dismisses hypotheses 1 and 2. With respect to hypotheses 3 and 4, they find that "[In] contrast to trust, unconditional kindness accounts for most of the variance explained while reciprocity plays a comparatively small role" (202-204) but, "Overall, we reject both our hypotheses" (202) they do this because their results seem to explain approximately 20% of variation, which they do not feel is sufficient to 'prove' their final hypothesis.

This doesn't give us much insight, however their one conclusion is quite interesting, in response to the question posed by Camerer “What game do people think they are playing?”, they argue that:
Our results suggest that many people may play a different game than researchers thought they were playing when confronted with the “investment game.” Only 36 percent of the 159 trustors who decided to send any money in our “investment game” expected to make money (204).
Moreover, one of their final points is that:
Our design allowed us to solve one of the important trust puzzles, namely that people trust even though hardly anyone makes money by doing so. We found that generally, people are aware of this. They trust even though they know it does not pay monetarily. They enjoy the act of trusting and being kind to others, even to anonymous strangers (204).
This paragraph makes sense to me, up to the point when they say 'enjoy'. In a world where people get windfall cash (as that is basically how experimental money often is thought of, see John List, 2007) people might behave as if they enjoy giving away money to others or as if they 'enjoy' trusting others, but I remain unconvinced that they actually derive 'joy' from such acts in the real world.

Which makes me speculate. What if you could run experiments, and then have a 'beggar' set up outside the experiment (not actually a beggar but an actor, or something) and you gave the individuals the money and then you observed, after the experiment how many individuals chose to give to the 'beggar'. Apart from the 'deceiving the experimental subjects' problem, this might be interesting to observe and to see whether individuals behave consistent with their experimental generosity and 'enjoyment' of giving. It is this correspondence of field observation and experimental economics that requires propagation and increased funding in order for us to validate within subject variation and validity of our laboratory results.

Nava Ashraf, Iris Bohnet, Nikita Piankov (2006). Decomposing trust and trustworthiness Experimental Economics, 9 (3), 193-208 DOI: 10.1007/s10683-006-9122-4

Experimenter Bias

Posted by Simon Halliday | | Category: , | 2 comments

Experimenter bias is not a well-covered topic in the area of experimental economics, either because those who decide to test it don't find anything worth reporting, or those who do attempt to test it struggle to be published. Who knows?

Nevertheless, a 2004 working paper by Alessandro Innocenti and Maria Grazia Pazienza addresses the question of experimenter bias with respect to the gender of the experimenter. They used the trust game with various treatments to check whether the gender of the experimenter changed any of the responses by the subjects. The trust game involves a pairing of two individuals (a sender and a receiver), the sender chooses to 'invest' an amount in the other person (trust element), this amount is then tripled in value and the receiver may then choose to send some money back to the sender (reciprocity element).

There results were as follows:

  1. There was no evidence that the gender of the experimenter affected the degree of trust.
  2. The presence of a female experimenter was correlated with a statistically significant higher degree of reciprocity.
  3. The effect (of female experimenter reciprocity inflation) occurred across the genders of the subjects, i.e. it was not a 'correspondence' effect of woman-to-woman as some might argue.
They had other results, but these are not pertinent to my discussion of experimenter bias.

The main point here is that the fact that the presence of a female experimenter was correlated with increased reciprocity is problematic for experimental economics and requires several pertinent points for its investigation. First, any experiments that might have historically been carried out with women only as experimenters, without variation across the gender of the experimenter could result in over-statement of the reciprocity of individuals. I could not find specific references right now where this could be the case, but it is worth keeping in mind. Second, it begs the question of how we can do an experiment with the gender of the experimenter unknown. Ideally, we would like to be in a world where we could test the relevance of both male or female gender experimenters against some neutral 'non-gender'. Unless we do not have an experimenter present and disembodied instructions being given to the subjects, I do not see how this could be dealt with. Third, it informs future research because it informs us that we must do one of two things: either have male experimenters for whom the results do not seem to be inflated, or have male and female experimenters while controlling for the gender of the experimenter in the experiments. This second option is a bit problematic because it requires us to have larger samples in our experiments, but it seems to me to be the only way that there can be some kind of equitable way of doing this. Fourth, even though there seems to be a correlation of the gender of the experimenter with higher reciprocity, we do not know why this might occur. This requires further research.

It must be said that, personally, I would like to engage in similar research in the future, but using treatments across the race of the experimenter. I think that this would be especially pertinent in South Africa where there might (I insist, might) be differences in responses of individuals when there is variation across the race of the experimenter, holding gender constant of course. What do you think?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Financial Crisis Stuff

Posted by Simon Halliday | Monday, October 06, 2008 | Category: , | 0 comments

As the token economist amongst friends and family, I thought I would recommend the following links on the current financial crisis.

First, Wikipedia has a fantastic timeline of the current crisis, under the title 'Subprime Crisis Impact Timeline'.

Second, you can peruse these useful notes by Roger Congleton of GMU (they follow the GMU line somewhat, so take the ideology of them with a pinch of salt, but read them anyway).

Third, there is a new blog documenting the financial crisis: The Money Meltdown.

Fourth, there are several blogs that I read with commentary on the crisis that I would recommend: Marginal Revolution, The Semi-daily Journal of Brad DeLong, Greg Mankiw, Paul Krugman and Mark Thoma's Economist's View. Mankiw regularly gives interesting and brief insights, as well as giving links to good articles by prominent individuals. Thoma cites articles at length and gives his own commentary.

Fifth, don't believe what everyone has to tell you about Adam Smith and the financial crisis. Read what Gavin Kennedy has to say here, here and here on his blog 'Adam Smith's Lost Legacy'.

Sixth, Duncan Green, the head of research for Oxfam, maintains a blog and has couple of posts on the topic of the financial crisis and development, the most interesting post of which is a discussion of what $700bn would do for global development.

Lastly, some audio and video stuff. EconTalk host Russ Roberts chats with Arnold Kling on the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I found this very useful for helping me to understand what exactly they did and, thus, how they impacted on the financial crisis. Roberts also interviewed Robert Shiller (of the Case-Shiller (housing) index fame) on housing bubbles, which I found interesting. UChannel, another audio and film 'academic' web resource, has a discussion featuring Paul Krugman and Alan Blinder, both of whom have been quite outspoken on the crisis and its possible solutions. Krugman especially is a fan of nationalizing Fannie and Freddie.

Ok, that's enough for now and should sate any financial crisis appetite for the moment.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Praise be...

Posted by Simon Halliday | Thursday, October 02, 2008 | Category: | 1 comments those at Intrade. It looks like Obama has overtaken McCain substantially once more. Ahhh... the effects of Pa(l)in bring me joy.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Posted by Simon Halliday | Wednesday, October 01, 2008 | Category: | 0 comments