Corruption and Spatial Econometrics with Jamie Pavlik

My guest today is Jamie Pavlik of Texas Tech University.

Jamie has done a ton of research on corruption and development. She has examined corruption in the developing world, with multiple papers examining corruption in Brazil. She has also looked at international comparisons of corruption, and corruption in the United States specifically. Continue reading Corruption and Spatial Econometrics with Jamie Pavlik

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Brexit, Its Economic Impact, and International Disintegration with Thomas Sampson

My guest today is Thomas Sampson of the London School of Economics.

Our topic for today is the economic impact of Brexit. Long-time listeners will recall that I did an interview with Sam Bowman on Brexit immediately after the vote occurred. Think of this as a follow-up to that episode now that the dust has settled and we have a better idea of what Brexit is going to look like. Thomas has written multiple papers on the subject, including Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration, which is forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Its abstract follows: Continue reading Brexit, Its Economic Impact, and International Disintegration with Thomas Sampson

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Markups, Market Concentration, and Monopolistic Competition with Karl Smith

My guest today is Karl Smith, he is the director of economic research at the Niskanen center.

Our topic for today will be market power. Karl has written a series of posts on the Niskanen center blog discussing markups and market power. The debate was sparked by a paper by Loecker and Eeckhout that claimed that average markups in the American economy had risen from 18 percent in 1980 to 67 percent today. Continue reading Markups, Market Concentration, and Monopolistic Competition with Karl Smith

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Sociology and Social Science with Fabio Rojas

My guest today is Fabio Rojas. He is professor of sociology at Indiana University Bloomington.

Fabio is the author of three books, the first is From Black Power to Black Studies: How a Radical Social Movement Became an Academic Discipline, published in 2007. The second book, coauthored with Michael Heaney, is Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11, published in 2015. The third book, Theory for the Working Sociologist, was published just recently in 2017. Continue reading Sociology and Social Science with Fabio Rojas

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Compensating Blood, Fluid, and Organ Donors with Peter Jaworski

My guest is Peter Jaworski of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He is the author, along with Jason Brennan, of Markets Without Limits.

We recorded this on August 24th, 2017, the same day Peter published an op-ed in the National Post titled “Canada needs blood plasma. We should pay donors to get it.” The op-ed argues in favour of allowing people who donate blood plasma in Canada to be compensated in return: Continue reading Compensating Blood, Fluid, and Organ Donors with Peter Jaworski

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Pepsi, Niche Marketing, and Neoliberal Social Justice with Samuel Hammond

Samuel Hammond is returning to the podcast today to discuss the relationship between capitalism and social justice.

Sam was prompted to write about this by an insensitive Pepsi commercial that caused some controversy in April 2017.

The controversial ad featured generic protesters and Kendall Jenner sharing a Pepsi with police. While the ad was insensitive and more than a little absurd, Sam pointed out that Pepsi has a history of promoting social justice and racial harmony through its marketing. Continue reading Pepsi, Niche Marketing, and Neoliberal Social Justice with Samuel Hammond

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Can the Truth be Repugnant? Should it be?

Let’s consider a series of statements, without considering whether any of them are right or wrong:

  1. People should be treated with respect, regardless of their ethnicity.
  2. All ethnic groups have the same average IQ after controlling for cultural biases in IQ tests.
  3. Women should be treated with respect and accepted in traditionally male-dominated workplaces.
  4. There are no biological differences between men and women that affect their interests or abilities.
  5. Homosexuals and homosexual relationships should be given the same respect and acceptance as heterosexuals and heterosexual relationships.
  6. Children brought up by same-sex parents do as well or better than children brought up by opposite-sex parents.
  7. People of all religions should be treated with respect.
  8. Muslims are no more likely to commit violence than are people of other religions.
  9. Wealthy people and societies should help the poor.
  10. Poverty is entirely caused by unfortunate circumstances and unfair institutions and not the choices of the poor themselves.

At this point, you have probably noticed the pattern. Odd-numbered statements are moral claims. They are all about how one should behave. They reflect liberal values. If you agree with claims 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 then congratulations! You are a decent human being who is capable of living in a liberal society. Continue reading Can the Truth be Repugnant? Should it be?

Pediatrician Fired Over Anti-Diversity Memo

Bloomberg reports that ABC Children’s Hospital has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the hospital’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across the medical community.

She said: “The distribution of preferences and abilities of women and men differ in part due to biological causes, and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of men in pediatrics and psychiatry.”

Jane Damore, the pediatrician who wrote the note, confirmed her dismissal in an email, saying that she had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” She said she’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

The imbroglio at ABC is the latest in a long string of incidents concerning gender bias and diversity in medicine. Sacred Mercy’s Chief of Obstetrics Tracy Kalanick lost her job in June amid scandals over anti-male discrimination. Evan Pao’s gender-discrimination lawsuit against Trinity Hospital in 2015 also brought the issue to light, and more men are speaking up to say they’ve been sidelined in the female-dominated industry, especially in gynecological and pediatric roles.

Earlier on Monday, ABC’s chief physician Siya Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” But she didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee. An ABC representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo.

Damore’s 10-page memorandum accused ABC of silencing conservative political opinions and argued that biological differences play a role in the shortage of men in pediatric positions. It circulated widely inside the hospital and became public over the weekend, causing a furor that amplified the pressure on ABC to take a more definitive stand.

After the controversy swelled, Daniel Brown, ABC’s new vice president for diversity, integrity, and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with her, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.

“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a hospital,” Brown said in the statement. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

The memo and surrounding debate come as ABC fends off a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the hospital systemically discriminates against men. ABC has denied the charges, arguing that it doesn’t have a gender gap in pay, but has declined to share full salary information with the government. According to the company’s most recent demographic report, 69 percent of its workforce and 80 percent of its pediatricians are female.

Following the memo’s publication, multiple doctors shared an article from a senior pediatrician who recently left the hospital, Yovela Zunger. In the blog post, Zunger said that based on the context of the memo, she determined that she would “not in good conscience” assign any employees to work with its author. “You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment,” she wrote. She also said in an email, “Could you imagine having to work with someone who had just publicly questioned your basic competency to do your job?”

Still, some right-wing websites had already lionized the memo’s author, and firing her could be seen as confirming some of the claims in the memo itself – that the hospital’s culture makes no room for dissenting political opinions. That outcome could galvanize any backlash against ABC’s efforts to make its workforce more diverse.

The subject of ABC’s ideological bent came up at the most recent shareholder meeting, in June. A shareholder asked executives whether conservatives would feel welcome at the hospital. Executives disagreed with the idea that anyone wouldn’t.

“The hospital was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based medicine,” ABC Chairman Erin Schmidt said at the time. “You’ll also find that all of the other hospitals in our industry agree with us.”

The French Revolution, Property Rights, and the Coase Theorem with Noel Johnson

My guest for this episode is Noel Johnson of George Mason University, and if that name sounds familiar, it’s because he was the coauthor on the paper I discussed with Mark Koyama last month.

Noel recently released a working paper titled “The Effects of Land Redistribution: Evidence from the French Revolution.” It is co-authored with Theresa Finley and Raphael Franck. The paper examines the consequences of the land auctions held by the Revolutionary government in France. The abstract reads as follows:

This study exploits the confiscation and auctioning off of Church property that occurred during the French Revolution to assess the role played by transaction costs in delaying the reallocation of property rights in the aftermath of fundamental institutional reform. French districts with a greater proportion of land redistributed during the Revolution experienced higher levels of agricultural productivity in 1841 and 1852 as well as more investment in irrigation and more efficient land use. We trace these increases in productivity to an increase in land inequality associated with the Revolutionary auction process. We also show how the benefits associated with the head-start given to districts with more Church land initially, and thus greater land redistribution by auction during the Revolution, dissipated over the course of the nineteenth century as other districts gradually overcame the transaction costs associated with reallocating the property rights associated with the feudal system.

Continue reading The French Revolution, Property Rights, and the Coase Theorem with Noel Johnson

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Garrett M. Petersen's blog about markets, institutions, and ideas.