It’s amazing to me how much this presidential election reflects ideas and conversations that have been percolating around college campuses for the past several years. I often tell students that their movements have an uncanny way of being on the right side of history (OK, I see that I’m begging the question, sue me) and I think that this is being borne out in all caps this year.
Thinking today about an old, abandoned line of research of mine. How about this: when information is cheap, knowledge is expensive.
Zipping across my desk this afternoon is “The Difference Between Rationality and Intelligence“, an article title conceived in a laboratory to make my eye twitch and take possession of my clicking finger.
A topic that I’ve researched a bunch over the years is the interaction between people in a network of relationships and an outsider who wants to tell or sell them something. You know something about the structure of the network that people belong to: who talks to who. Which people do you send messages or promotions to?
This is the first paragraph from a really neat economics paper by Budish, Cramton, and Shim (QJE 2015):
In a column yesterday, Tim Harford asks “are universities worth it?“. Surely a topic worth discussing. Yet there is an asymmetry in Harford’s summary of the debate. While Harford explicitly considers not just money but also time and intellectual resources as opportunity costs of running higher education, his taxonomy of the benefits is restricted to the financial.