It was the perfect “natural experiment:” in April 1992, New Jersey’s minimum-wage was scheduled to rise from $4.25 an hour to $5.05, while neighboring Pennsylvania’s minimum wage remained unchanged. Princeton economists David Card and Alan Krueger surveyed over 400 fast food outlets in both states, before and after the increase, in order to test the conventional economic wisdom that minimum wages cause unemployment. What did they find? No apparent effect on employment. None. Zip. Economic hell broke loose… . . . → Read More: The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Microeconomics, by Rod Hill and Tony Myatt
Imagine that you woke up one day and found, not that you had turned into a giant cockroach, but that you felt unacceptable sexual urges towards little girls or boys. What might you do? . . . → Read More: Pity the Poor Child Molester
Yale Prof. Robert Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance (2000; 2005), predicted the 2008 financial collapse years before it happened. Last year, Shiller partnered with UC Berkeley Prof. George Akerlof to produce Animal Spirits–elaborating on the psychology that inspires “irrational exuberance” and other mass human behavior that affects the economy. . . . → Read More: Animal Spirits, by Akerlof and Shiller
Two years ago, an urgent call from my father: My mother, then 84, was ill. Gray skin, sunken eyes, confused. At the hospital, her blood tests showed abnormally high levels of calcium. She had calcium poisoning. Calcium poisoning? Six weeks prior, it turned out, the family doctor had instructed her to start taking calcium tablets . . . → Read More: How Doctors Think, by Jerome Groopman M.D.
My mother is eighty-six. Other than needing a walker, she’s in good shape. Two months ago my father fell, confining him to bed on the top floor of their three-story townhouse. With my encouragement, my parents put a deposit on an apartment in Grand Oaks, a posh “assisted living” complex for well-to-do Washingtonians. But as . . . → Read More: Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert
David Ellerman’s new book, Helping People Help Themselves: From the World Bank to an Alternative Philosophy of Development Assistance, (forward by Albert O. Hirschman) is finally out in affordable paperback. Yay!
“The best kind of help to others, whenever possible, is indirect, and consists in such modifications of the conditions of life, of the general . . . → Read More: Helping People Help Themselves, by David Ellerman