Technology and society as chicken and egg

Is Twitter the cause or the by-product of our half-baked public discourse? Paper by Mark Kurlanksy is a thinly veiled rumination on this question. Not Twitter exactly, but whether technology shapes society or is instead shaped by it. Kurlanky comes down very much on the latter. It wasn’t paper and ink that spurred bureaucracy, philosophy, […]

The cost of affirmative action

We evaluate the effect of introducing a gender quota in an environment where high-performing women fail to enter competitions they can win. We show that guaranteeing women equal representation among winners increases their entry. The response exceeds that predicted by the change in probability of winning and is in part driven by women being more […]

Be more skeptical about fair trade

I’ve always been a bit skeptical of "fair trade". Supply chains are long and complicated, there’s little oversight on retailer margins and it’s unclear how much producers actually benefit. A recently published paper in World Development appears to back up some of these fears. The authors found that less than a third of the premium […]

Paying players pays

Is Stephen Curry actually worth more than $30 million a year? How about Lebron James, Russell Westbrook or James Harden? Five Thirty Eight make a pretty good case that NBA superstars are generally underpaid, relative to what they would earn in an open market. But that analysis is based on their impact on the court. […]

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