The Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index is bad

TLDR: The problem with freedom indexes is this. They are aggregates of separate variables, some of which indicate small government, others of which indicate what would uncontroversially be regarded as ‘good government’. It is the good government indicators, not the small government indicators, which actually correlate with GDP per capita- the measure that the Heritage … Continue reading The Heritage Foundation Economic Freedom Index is bad

Muh research budgets: Against a disingenuous defence of big pharma

Americans pay vastly more for many drugs than other countries. There are probably many causes of this, but one is the refusal of the federal government to collectively bargain about prices with pharmaceutical companies, unlike many other countries. The right wing defends this state of affairs with the following argument- these higher prices allow drug … Continue reading Muh research budgets: Against a disingenuous defence of big pharma

Delayed Impact of Fair Machine Learning: A response

Lydia T. Liu, Sarah Dean, Esther Rolf, Max Simchowitz and Moritz Hardt in “Delayed Impact of Fair Machine Learning” rightly make the point that in considering notions of fairness, it is critical that we consider them dynamically in terms of their long-term effects on a population, and not just statically. They argue that seemingly attractive and fair … Continue reading Delayed Impact of Fair Machine Learning: A response

Median incomes aren’t keeping up with growth- however closely you look

By now a lot of people are aware that median incomes haven’t moved all that much in a long time. Many people are even starting to accept that this is evidence the economy is buggered, from an ordinary person’s point of view. This distressing reality is pretty well communicated by this chart: However one occasionally … Continue reading Median incomes aren’t keeping up with growth- however closely you look

The effects of Kaldor-Hicks improvements in an oligarchical society

0. Given the (debatable) difficulties of interpersonal utility comparison, the Kaldor-Hicks compensation test has been proposed as a way of assessing whether or not a given policy improves social welfare. To understand the idea of a Kaldor-Hicks improvement, we first must introduce the idea of a Pareto improvement, which a Kaldor-Hicks improvement generalises. A policy … Continue reading The effects of Kaldor-Hicks improvements in an oligarchical society

Redistribution is not bad for economic growth: Evidence from the IMF

For the study that this post is based on, click here. In a previous post I outlined the main case for redistributing wealth- an extra hundred dollars means a lot more to someone struggling to make ends meet than to a millionaire. We even put some figures on how much inequality ‘costs’ through exactly this … Continue reading Redistribution is not bad for economic growth: Evidence from the IMF