Saturday, September 11, 2004
The foreign direct investment of Hooters
I can already visualize the impending Naomi Klein column, heaving with brand outrage -- of course, Klein has had her own problems as of late.
Libertarians go medieval on George W. Bush
Exhibit A of this antipathy can be found Doug Bandow's essay in Salon, Why Conservatives Must Not Vote for Bush" [Salon?!--ed. Yes, Salon]. The highlights:
At which point Bandow actually recommends considering Ralph Nader as a viable alternative to voting for Bush.
One could try to dismiss this kind of alienation on the right as the conservative version of Naderites. But that would be a hard case to make.
Friday, September 10, 2004
So you want to be a poli sci graduate student....
Hey you, reading this blog? Are you curious about pursuing a career in the up-and-coming field of political science? Do you wonder what it would be like to be a graduate student in this
I will repress my first instinct to suggest that you seek professional help and instead suggest that you listen into Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg this evening. Here's the description of tonight's program (which starts at 9 PM Central time:
I know all three of these students, and have taught two of them. They're all whip smart -- so I'll be listening in.
Blog quote of the day
For someone who's never been particularly spare in his prose, Den Beste comes up with a very pithy closing line about blogging:
Friday baby blogging
Longtime readers can rest assured that this will not be a regular feature on danieldrezner.com.
However, in light of recent events, readers are invited to be on their best behavior and submit a caption for the following photo of Lauren:
My thought would be, "How old do I have to be before I can pick out my own wardrobe?'
Michael Moskow on wages and the current economic recovery
As the economy began to generate positive (but not stunning) job growth, and as data on jobs lost due to offshore outsourcing came out, claims that outsourcing or globalization more generally were having a massive job-destroying effect began to ring hollow.
At this point, much of the criticism shifted to the quality of the jobs being created. Even if employment is on the rise, the argument runs, if all the jobs are at Wal-Mart then it's a very hollow recovery. Since even trade theorists acknowledge that an open economy does affect the composition of jobs that are created, and since the numbers suggest that more low-wage jobs were being created than high-wage jobs, this is a critique that cannot be easily dismissed.
On this point, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago president Michael Moskow has a Financial Times op-ed today (subscriber-only) on whether this economic recovery is different from other economic recoveries in terms of the mix of jobs that are created. The highlights:
Here's a link to the FRBC press release of the paper by Daniel Aaronson and Sara Christopher, and here's a link to the actual paper. The key paragraph:
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Can two curses cancel each other out?
The Boston Red Sox have been on a bit of a run as of late -- going 21-7 in August and 7-1 in September. They've wone 20 of their last 22 games, and have gone 8-1 in their last three series against the cream of the American League West. Since August 15th, the Red Sox have chopped eight games off the Yankees' 10-1/2 game lead in the AL east. Even more enjoyably, these Sox are winning in a variety of ways -- pounding the cover off the ball one game, and then winning with quality defense and pitching the next. Even though they've suffered through a rash of injuries, everyone is starting to get healthy at the right time. David Pinto's wife thinks the Red Sox are in "kill mode." Even the New York Daily News observes:
Meanwhile, the Yankess have gotten into a pissing match with the Commissioner's office, and neither side looks good.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't post any of this, convinced from last year's experience that the very act of positive posting about the Red Sox could jinx the team and leave me cursed with spam comments for eternity. However, today I see that the Old Towne Team is on the cover of Sports Illustrated (here's Tom Verducci's article for SI subscribers, and Verducci's mailbag for everyone). Of course, this invites the dreaded SI cover jinx to rear its ugly head. Compared to the aunted Satanic powers of the SI jinx -- especially in this decade -- this humble blog can do little harm.
According to the Boston Globe's Bob Hohler, SI cover boy Curt Schilling and manager Terry Francona aren't too worried:
There are forces more powerful than danieldrezner.com at work here. All a good Red Sox fan can do is salute the bravery of Schilling, Francona et al, check the Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds Report, hope that the baseball gods just let the best team on the field win the pennant (Intriguingly, today's odds sheet gives the Sox a better chance of winning the pennant than the Yankees, even though they're still two games back as of this writing), and pray that in some weird Buffy The Vampire Slayer fashion, the SI jinx negates the residual curse of the Bambino.
UPDATE: Murray Chass mournfully writes in the Times that because of the existence of the wild card, the Sox-Yankees pennant chase will not be as dramatic as the 1978 race. This may be true -- I wouldn't count out either the Angels or the A's just yet -- but overlooks one of the major benefits of the current playoff format. Now, instead of a one day playoff, the possibility looms that the Yankees and the Sox could play another seven-game series. Surely, Chass would grant that last year's ALCS series more than made up for the drama lost from the absence of an exciting pennant chase.
But if Chass wants to forfeit his press credentials to any of the six upcoming Sox-Yankees games, I'll take them.
When bloggers get press passes to Fenway -- then we'll know the blogosphere has arrived!!
ANOTHER UPDATE: The day I post this, the Yankees sweep a double-header and the Sox lose. Arrrgggghhh!!! [Blame Sports Illustrated!! Blame Sports Illustrated!!--ed]
LAST UPDATE: Jim Baker's discussion of the Sox today in Baseball Prospectus perfectly encapsulates the inner monologue of any longtime fan. It's also sidesplittingly funny:
Heh. Rueful heh.
Paul Samuelson's outsourcing "bombshell"
Steve Lohr breathlessly reports in the New York Times that Nobel prize winner and undisputed godfather of modern economic theory Paul Samuelson is coming out with an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives on outsourcing that contradicts the mainstream economic take:
Sounds like a radical break -- oh wait, let's get into the details:
Before I throw my two cents in, let me just add the following caveats:
That said, this dispute boils down to a few empirical questions:
In the past, my answers to these questions have been a) not as many as you think; b) no, c) yes, and d) not a lot. [On (d), see Tyler Cowen's and Arnold Kling]. Which is why I side with Bhagwati on the outsourcing question.
Furthermore, Samuelson appears to partially fall into the Douglas Irwin trap of firing a warning shot on outsourcing but providing little in the way of a solution that departs from those who believe outsourcing is not a problem. Indeed, Samuelson explicitly rejects the solution most favored by those who oppose outsourcing -- higher trade barriers.
So, in the end, I'm not convinced that Samuelson's dissent changes the substantive issues of debate. But as a political scientist, it is impossible to deny the extent to which Samuelson's article will alter the rhetorical balance of power in this policy debate. Samuelson will succeed in reigniting debate on this topic, as well as provide aid and comfort to those who wish oppose the practice of offshore outsourcing.
So let the debate be joined.
UPDATE: Arnold Kling links to a draft version of the response paper by Jagdish Bhagwati, Arvind Panagariya, and T.N. Srinivasan alluded to in Lohr's Times story. Kling's summary:
LAST UPDATE: Douglas Irwin – who’s read the paper – is underwhelmed. This is from an e-mail he sent to me:
VERY LAST UPDATE: One of the commenters linked to Joe Stiglitz's outsourcing essay in the Singapore Straits-Times from May of this year. That essay contains the following:
Sounds dispassionate, except for one thing -- I have not seen any estimate even remotely suggesting that "one job in two might eventually be outsourced." That's way higher than any of the upper bound numbers I've seen (the highest I've seen is 30%).
Readers are invited to post a link to any study that suggests otherwise.
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Bush flip-flops on intelligence reform
Bush's actual statement is even more explicit: "We believe that there ought to be a National Intelligence Director who has full budgetary authority." According to the draft plan on the White House's web site, the NID would have significant authority over personnel decisions as well.
Needless to say, this is a departure from what Bush proposed last month on the subject.
I'm still not convinced it's the right thing to do -- and Phil Carter is on vacation, so I can't ask him. What's more interesting is why Bush changed his mind -- was this just blowing with the political winds or does he believe this is the right thing to do?
The title to this post suggests my thoughts on the answer.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that there's a slightly more generous interpretation of Bush's actions -- that he started out with a deliberately vague proposal and then filled in the details over time. Still, even within that vagueness, Bush implied a lot more decentralization than the current proposal.
Meanwhile, over at Slate, Fred Kaplan thinks the debate over bureaucratic debate misses the point about personnel.
Teen sex and TV
This is one of those posts where I'm reporting something I wish wasn't true but appears to be so. Social conservatives, this is dedicated to y'all.
The RAND Corporation has a study suggesting that teenagers who watch large amounts of television containing sexual content are twice as likely to begin engaging in sexual intercourse in the following year as their peers. This is from the press release:
Here's a link to the actual study, published in the e-journal Pediatrics.
Ordinarily, I'm skeptical of studies like this because they tend to capture correlation rather than causation. One would expect teens who are more interested in sex to both watch TV shows about it and engage in sexual activity, so this kind of correlation would be unsurprising. However, in this case the authors control for some of the underlying demographic and social characteristics that would act as covariates. So I don't think this can be dismissed so lightly.
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Another comparative advantage of the blogosphere?
I've been remiss in not congratulating Kevin Drum for his first book review for the New York Times. He deftly critiques Arthus Schlesinger Jr.'s War and the American Presidency -- even though Kevin is undoubtedly sympathetic to Schlesinger's argument. Go give it a read.
As I was reading it, it occurred to me that Drum's review was probably enhanced by his blogger origins. Why? Because Kevin, unlike many other possible reviewers, was probably not concerned with ingratiating himself with Schlesinger. Which is why bloggers might be the best critics of them all. Bloggers, as the gatecrashers of the commetariat, are less constrained by personal or professional ties from providing honest appraisals. This is not to accuse non-bloggers of acting in an opportunistic fashion -- rather, it's simply more difficult, even at a subconscious level, to speak truth to power when you know what you'll say will hurt someone's feelings.
[So why does the post title have a question mark?--ed. Because some bloggers are not exactly gatecrashers. Read this Josh Marshall post, for example, and imagine him writing the same review Kevin Drum wrote about Schlesinger's book. But you liked that anecdote!--ed. True, but my current point is that the more bloggers are emeshed within the mediasphere -- myself included -- the more we face the same set of implicit personal and professional constraints that others "inside the tent" currently face.]
It's arrival day!!
Crooked Timber's Eszter Hargittai points out that today is the 350th anniversary of Arrival Day, "the first Jewish immigrants’ arrival in New Amsterdam (today’s New York City) on September 7, 1654." She has a lovely post about going to a Jewish wedding, and closes with these words:
Having spent most of my life in this country, but a few years in Europe, I must reluctantly concur with Eszter [Reluctantly?--ed. Why should anyone be happy about anti-Semitism in Europe?].
For more on Arrival Day, check out the Head Heeb.
Speaking of happiness, Tyler also has some additional thoughts about Heidi Klum and insurance markets.
I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Marginal Revolution is worthy of daily consumption.
Night of the living growth and stability pact
When we last left the European Union's growth and stability pact in the fall, it had been scuttled for both economic and ;political reasons. The economic reason was that the pact did not make a whole lot of economic sense in a world with a continent-wide monetary policy combined with business cycles; the political reason was that France and Germany were violating the Maastricht criteria of keeping their budget deficit within three percent of their GDP, and the EU finance ministers refused to sanction either country
Inexplicably, the European Commission then decided to sue France and Germany in the European Court of Justice. This was inexplicable because the Commission was guaranteed to lose either way. If the ECJ ruled against the Commission, then it undercut the power of the EU's principal policymaking body. If they won, they'd be in the awkward and intractable position of trying to force the two largest EU states into compliance -- a highly unlikely outcome.
The Economist catches up with what's happened since the fall:
So what does this mean for the debate over whether the EU is an international organization or a supanational one? I argued last year that this type of outcome would undercut the supranational line of argumentation. However, because of the underlying problems with the policy that was at issue, this outcome may be overdetermined.