Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mary Poppins and the financial crisis

Nothing new under the sun...

Fidelity Fiduciary Bank
Mr. Dawes Sr, Mr. Banks and Bankers:
If you invest your tuppence
Wisely in the bank
Safe and sound
Soon that tuppence,
Safely invested in the bank,
Will compound
And you'll achieve that sense of conquest
As your affluence expands
In the hands of the directors
Who invest as propriety demands
You see, Michael, you'll be part of
Railways through Africa
Dams across the Nile
Fleets of ocean greyhounds
Majestic, self-amortizing canals
Plantations of ripening tea
All from tuppence, prudently
Fruitfully, frugally invested
In the, to be specific,
In the Dawes, Tomes
Mousely, Grubbs
Fidelity Fiduciary Bank!
Now, Michael,
When you deposit tuppence in a bank account
Soon you'll see
That it blooms into credit of a generous amount
And you'll achieve that sense of stature
As your influence expands
To the high financial strata
That established credit now commands
You can purchase first and second trust deeds
Think of the foreclosures!
Bonds! Chattels! Dividends! Shares!
Bankruptcies! Debtor sales!
All manner of private enterprise!
Shipyards! The mercantile!
Collieries! Tanneries!
Incorporations! Amalgamations! Banks!
You see, Michael
Tuppence, patiently, cautiously trustingly invested
In the, to be specific,
In the Dawes, Tomes
Mousely, Grubbs
Fidelity Fiduciary Bank!
The bank run scene is here (around 1:25).
HT to Niall Fergunson. BTW, his new book (The Ascent of Money: a Financial History of the World) seems pretty interesting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Tomorrow I will go back to my normal personality: cynical and pessimist. But today I just can't...
"Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we all can fly."

Wealth of the Nations in the Long-run

Before 1500...
Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 B.C.?
Diego Comin, William Easterly, Erick Gong

We assemble a dataset on technology adoption in 1000 B.C., 0 A.D., and 1500 A.D. for the predecessors to today’s nation states. We find that this very old history of technology adoption is surprisingly significant for today’s national development outcomes. Our strong and robust results are for 1500 A.D.determining per capita income today. We find technological persistence across long epochs: from 1000 BC to 0 AD, from 0 AD to 1500 AD, and from 1500 AD to the present. Although the data allow only some suggestive tests of rival hypotheses to explain long‐run technological persistence, we find the evidence to be most consistent with a model of endogenous technology adoption where the cost of adopting new technologies declines sufficiently with the current level of adoption. The evidence is less consistent with a dominant role for
population as predicted by the semi‐endogenous growth models or for countrylevel
factors like culture, genes or institutions.
(dica do Shikida).

After 1500...
Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality
Louis Putterman, David N. Weil
We construct a matrix showing the share of the year 2000 population in every country that is descended from people in different source countries in the year 1500. Using this matrix, we analyze how post-1500 migration has influenced the level of GDP per capita and within-country income inequality in the world today. Indicators of early development such as early state history and the timing of transition to agriculture have much better predictive power for current GDP when one looks at the ancestors of the people who currently live in a country than when one considers the history on that country's territory, without adjusting for migration. Measures of the ethnic or linguistic heterogeneity of a country's current population do not predict income inequality as well as measures of the ethnic or linguistic heterogeneity of the current population's ancestors. An even better predictor of current inequality in a country is the variance of early development history of the country's inhabitants, with ethnic groups originating in regions having longer histories of agriculture and organized states tending to be at the upper end of a country's income distribution. However, high within-country variance of early development also predicts higher income per capita, holding constant the average level of early development.

I can not say that the papers deal with the veeery long-run because the brilliant Michael Kremer set a new standard.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

8th Spatial Econometrics and Statistics workshop

Dear colleagues,

We are very pleased to invite you to Besançon, France, to participate to
the 8th edition of the Spatial Econometrics and Statistics Workshop,
which will be held on June 1-2, 2009. This workshop aims at reinforcing
and stimulating the interactions between well established and young
researchers involved in spatial statistics and econometrics.
Both theoretical and empirical contributions are welcome.

You are invited to submit your paper or long abstract (6 pages)
electronically to the following email address:
spatial2009@univ-fcomte.fr. The deadline for submission of
abstracts/papers is February 15th, 2009. Notification of acceptance will
be sent by March 20, 2009. The call for papers is enclosed.

More information concerning the workshop is available at :
http://sew2009.univ-fcomte.fr/index.htm or

We are looking forward to meeting you in Besançon.

Best regards,
Julie Le Gallo

(for the scientific and organizing committees)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Landes versus Crafts

They have a long history of arguments. The tone is quite rude sometimes, but I was not expecting this.
Landes on Crafts:
I am struck by the fact that I have no place in his bibliography. (I know he reads me, if only to disagree.)


Money on the Brain by Tim Harford

Tim Harford on Neuroeconomics at BBC Radio 4. You have only 2 days to listen to it! (Or you can download (ou então baixe the podcast)