I’m in the middle of reading The Moral Economy by Samuel Bowles. It’s about how explicit financial rewards and punishments can lead to bad consequences through their “crowding-out” of a person’s pro-social motivations. I’m learning a lot from the book and I would recommend it.
After my first semester teaching Econ 101, I have lots to digest. I’ll post thoughts here over the next few weeks as I go through the process of revising for the second go-around.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are more than 13 million legal permanent residents in the United States. I’m one of them. U.S. politics matters a lot to me, since this is where I live my life, but my fellow green card holders and I have no vote with which to express our opinions on the future of our home country. Perhaps you can imagine how frustrating that is.
(Pedagogy for the economists)
It’s time to retire the concept of “returns to scale”, at least in our intro/intermediate microeconomics. I don’t think it’s doing anything useful for us, it’s meaningful only as a pure thought experiment, and I think it confounds understanding of more relevant types of return to inputs in production.
Fake news is in the news, part of the nauseating task of dressing the ugly wound of the presidential election. The OED has named “post-truth” its word of the year, and the Republican candidate for president aligned himself with the kind of wilful confusion that is known to be a deliberate tool of autocratic regimes.
In the aftermath of the election, we are seeing the usual, healthy debate within both the winning and losing parties over what to make of the results and what comes next. I do fundamentally believe in the importance of vigorous debate inside political parties followed by unified support of the ultimate platform. It is crucial to avoid fractures that may make it impossible to build a majority coalition.