Reading Note — 2018.10.19

# Jason Collins on “A skeptical take on behavioral economics", from Rationally Speaking

Most behavioral biases are identified as deviations from the neoclassical model of expected utility maximization. But the neoclassical model is not a very realistic representation of the world in the first place. Many behavioral biases are not biases at all if you change your benchmark from the neoclassical model to others like the evolutionary model or just a world with real uncertainty.

Many issues addressed by the behavioral “Nudging" are actually incentive problems. People do bad things because they are paid for those things. “…putting some notes or some comparisons onto their power bill with their neighbors so that they might reduce power, is a lot more palatable and easier than going, ‘Okay, well, could we price, say, price carbon properly to get that reduction, or increase the tax?'"

Reading Notes — 2018.10.16

# The Future of Capitalism, by Paul Collier

Paul Collier 是個有趣的經濟學家,認為經濟不該脫離社會倫理道德來思考,顯然是重視 social preference 的。開始注意到他是因為移民問題,他關於移民的書從社會團結的角度,主張有限度地接受移民,因此被或左或右的極端自由主義攻擊,如這段對談。其實他說的東西,在近來的經濟學文獻中都有些研究支持,只是研究文獻總是有各種問題,原封不動地放到現實政治中,欠了些考慮。與此相對,他在新書 The Future of Capitalism 中的論點就比較四平八穩,主張在經濟生活中重新建立倫理考量,但其實也來自同樣的思路,放到政治現實中也同樣顯得天真。在惡劣的現實面前,這種天真是他作為一個學者或作者的優點。

# Diagnosing the Italian disease, by Bruno Pellegrino and Luigi Zingales


# Globalization and the Poor Periphery before 1950, by Jeffrey G. Williamson


Since I believe that these questions are far too important to await the collection of even more data and the discovery of clever instruments, I report what I have found from ordinary least squares [p.53].