Archive for October, 2011

First Thoughts on the Eurozone Summit

By , 27 October, 2011, No Comment

Burning a bit of midnight oil – a post up at Foreign Exchange on the eurozone summit and its results. Really short version: ‘It is hard not to see a game of hot potato at play here which eventually has to come back to the ECB.’

Read the whole post here.

Baseball and the Marriage Premium

By , 19 October, 2011, No Comment

At Foreign Exchange:

In honor of the World Series, which starts tonight*, I dug out a research paper I’ve been sitting on for a while.

The paper, ‘Productivity, Wages, and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball‘ looks at the wages of baseball players and identifies a 16% gap between the wages of married players and unmarried players.

Economists have been documenting the marriage premium – the income boost (anywhere from 10 to 40 percent) married men have over their unmarried counterparts – for decades. But researchers have historically gotten stuck when it comes to providing explanations for the phenomenon: Do married men perform better because their wives are doing more of the housework? Do married men perform better because women tend to marry high performers anyway? Do married men perform about the same, but employers discriminate in their favor because they come across as reliable?  Without data about productivity, it’s hard to say.

That’s what makes the baseball study distinctive: baseball is a geek’s sport, filled with statistics, and – in a post-Moneyball world – increasingly managed by the numbers. That allowed the paper’s authors, Francesca Cornaglia and Naomi E. Feldman, to control for productivity (using both Batting Average and On-Base Plus Slugging) and sorted players into groups by age (early and late career) and ability (low, medium, or high performers). They were not only able to show that there is a marriage premium, but able to test the prevailing theories about why it exists.

Go read.

Hillary Clinton on Economic Statecraft

By , 15 October, 2011, No Comment

New blog post at Foreign Exchange

Yesterday,Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech to the New York Economic Club on ‘economic statecraft’ and its role in American foreign policy. It’s a two-pronged concept – first, how the United States can leverage economic policy to strengthen its diplomatic position abroad; and second, how diplomacy can strengthen the U.S. economy at home.

As Dan Drezner’s already noted, venue aside, the purpose of the speech seemed to be to signal to career diplomats and civil servants that they will need to be savvy about economics, and incorporate it into their work, if they want to get ahead in Clinton’s State Department: “We need to be a Department where more people can read both Foreign Affairs and a Bloomberg Terminal,” Clinton said. Given the link between economics and foreign policy is my main hobbyhorse, it’s gratifying to see it taken seriously at the top like this.

As for policy, the speech was a bit more mixed.

For a detailed look at the speech, read the whole post.

NB: I’m posting this from a phone, so apologies for any typos or odd formatting.

The problem with Occupy Wall Street

By , 7 October, 2011, 1 Comment

As regular readers will know, I worry that the American left is preoccupied with culture at the expense of economics, more concerned with identity politics than it is with combating inequality. As someone who leans left primarily because of economic issues, that’s made me feel a bit homeless, politically.

So, as a critique, from the left, of our economic malaise, Occupy Wall Street interests me. But I am frustrated by the way the critique is framed.