Monday, 31 March 2014

End March Links

# This is the economic argument for independence: "If the most ambitious or creative people leave, then it becomes progressively more difficult to facilitate the recovery of an economy ... Scotland cannot remain as a reservoir of talent for other economies and societies without descending into decline ... This is also why we shall need to attract talent from abroad through intelligent immigration policies." Options for Scotland, Report highlights emigration fears

# Fantastic post from Simon Wren-Lewis about how the argument 'that if a Sterling Union is in rUK's economic interests then current ruling out of currency union must just be a bluff' is wrong: when has George Osborne ever let bad economics rule out a policy!!

# Piketty's new book:
   - Some slides with charts
   - Krugman: Notes on Piketty, Working for the ownersWealth over work & NYRB Review
   - Atkinson & Morelli: Chartbook of Economic Inequality (and Vox article)
   - Relinking to great Matt Yglesias post about land

# I love this video showing 1000 years of European border changes: Watch as 1000 years of European borders change

# As usual, Interfluidity's latest has some great ideas in it:
"Suppose, reasonably I think, that ceteris paribus humans prefer to “be good”. That is, we prefer to do work that is productive and engage in behavior that is ethical. Suppose, also reasonably, that a well ordered society depends upon people sometimes making choices opposed to their material interests on ethical or other grounds. Then it is obvious how inequality might be costly. Instead of talking about “incentives to” (produce, extract rents, whatever), we might describe outcome dispersion as a tax on refraining from mercenary behavior. If the difference between economic winners and losers is modest, people of ordinary virtue might refrain from participating in activities they consider corrupt, might even be willing to “blow the whistle”, because the cost of doing so is outweighed by their preference for behaving well. But as outcome dispersion grows, absenting oneself from or even opposing activities that would be personally remunerative but socially undesirable becomes too costly. The required sacrifice eventually overcomes a ceteris paribus preference for virtue. Preventing the misbehavior of large coalitions is a collective action problem. An isolated malcontent or whistleblower is likely to be evicted from the coalition without meaningfully improving behavior, if others choose to “circle the wagon”. Outcome dispersion both increases the costs to individuals of engaging in pro-social behavior, and diminishes the likelihood that bearing those costs will be fruitful, since others will have strong incentives not to follow. ... there really isn’t anything any one individual can do to remedy the bad practices. Making a big issue of them would lead to useless excommunication. Instead we shrug ironically. ... Ethical behavior is endogenous. “Inequality” renders it costly."

# Note to self: I need to remember (and then use sometime) the OECD Fiscal Decentralisation Database

# Will the ECB go negative?

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