Monday, November 18, 2013

Adjunct vs. tenured teaching quality

Thanks to a student who alerted me to the Times Sunday dialogue this week, which includes a bunch of opinions about interpreting a recent NBER working paper showing small gains in subsequent grades and increased probability of further study in the topic associated with adjunct teachers at Northwestern University. There is a lot one could say about this and broader issues about the move toward employing more part-time faculty especially at the lower end of the spectrum of schools. The specific question in the NBER paper stirred fond memories of Dr. Elizabeth Bogan at Princeton, now a senior lecturer there and probably still inspiring young students the same way she did back in the early 1990s. Adjunct faculty at outstanding institutions are outstanding; not a surprising result!

Friday, November 15, 2013

China eases one child policy

The Times reports that the change appears to be formal implementation of a plan allowing single children to have two children themselves. Not exactly a sea change in policy, but an interesting intergenerational compensation setup.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Robbing Peter to get out of a recession

Jens Weidmann admits that monetary policy hurts savers during recessions, an often understated fact. The belief is that the cost is worth the gain!

Friday, November 8, 2013

A sea of recession graphics

Thanks to Paul Krugman's column today, here's a link to a paper by three economists at the Fed presented at an annual IMF conference with unbelievable graphics showing the hit to potential GDP and employment caused by the great recession and its aftermath. The output gap in Figure 1.2 at the end is estimated to be about 4% (± 2% in the 95% confidence interval) currently.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Starbucks pledges veteran employment

Today Starbucks announced a new plan to hire 10,000 veterans and active duty military spouses. Former defense secretary Robert Gates is quoted as identifying the challenge of matching skills of veterans in the labor force with corporate needs, and this appears to be a promising step by a leading U.S. employer.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rand Paul and plagiarism

New allegations of plagiarism by Rand Paul or his staff are sad and troubling. This kind of behavior is not acceptable, and it's a very sad commentary on the failings in higher education to educate how and why. How pathetic is it that one of Paul's quotes is that he's now going to do it "like college" and footnote things. And why in the world does anyone view that as optional? Shameful, for Rand Paul and for higher education for not educating.

Update: Here's a longer article in the Washington Post that includes some Joe Biden context. Even more shameful, back from when I was about 15 and less aware of this.

SSB taxes in Mexico

Today's Times op-ed from abroad features a wry assault on taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in Mexico by novelist David Toscana. My favorite line: "Yes, we know we should disinfect water, filter and boil it, but it is easier to buy it in a bottle — maybe with some carbonation and sugar."