Would you put in more effort if you thought you could win a large cash prize? What about if that prize was broken up into a series of smaller prizes - how hard would you work then? 'In praise of big prizes' at the Freakonomics site, had some advice for a professor at the University … Continue reading How to inspire people with prize money
The Economist evaluates a scheme to give poor people cash handouts at random, instead of through traditional aid programmes. Mixed results...http://www.economist.com/news/international/21588385-giving-money-directly-poor-people-works-surprisingly-well-it-cannot-dealFatalism, as described by Grid-Group Cultural theory, is more than merely the worldview that blind fate rules our lives. It takes this as a given and then seeks to make the world even more random. … Continue reading Fatalist development aid
“Since we have not more power of knowing the future than any other men, we have made many mistakes (who has not during the past five years?), but our mistakes have been errors of judgment and not of principle.” J.P. Morgan Jnr, 1933 A couple of months ago I was toying with the idea of … Continue reading The really real reason why banks have so many scandals
http://tuvalu.santafe.edu/~bowles/ Prof Sam Bowles has a couple of books that compliment the work of Richard Sennett on cooperation - one published in 2011, the other due later in 2012. Whereas Sennett takes a sociological approach, Bowles focuses on economics. In particular he has done some interesting work on computer modelling of property rights.
As predicted this time last year, mutualism is the new favourite political idea. It has been so ignored by policy makers over many decades that it has temporarily lost its left/right label and the Tories are also talking about it. But it shouldn't be thought that mutualism is a way of making money grow on … Continue reading Mutualism: Flavour of the month
Oliver Marc Hartwich of the Centre for Independent Studies wrote in the Australian about the academic journal industry. He was just as puzzled about it as Fourcultures has been. The case study he used to illustrate the point was the Australian Economic Review (but any journal from the Elsevier, Springer, Wiley-Blackwell, Taylor & Francis, and … Continue reading Puzzling over the economics of academic journals
Australian economist Andrew Leigh has entered into public discussion with Noel Pearson about Aboriginal inequality by proposing that randomised trials should be initiated for those educational innovations supposedly aimed at improving outcomes for disadvantaged groups. He takes his cue from Harvard economist Roland Fryer, who is well known for testing the effectiveness of cash rewards … Continue reading Tempting fate in schools: contrived randomness as educational policy
Alan Greenspan found a flaw in the model. What happens when you find a flaw in yours? Do you keep going with the old model as long as you can, right up to the point at which you experience your own local equivalent of the global financial crash? Or do you somehow try to extricate … Continue reading Flaw in the model
Listening to Australian historian Robert Mann's recent lecture at the Melbourne Writers' Festival on whether neo-liberalism has a future, I was struck by the deficiency of the rush to psychological explanation. In seeking to analyse the supposed inadequacies of the free-market ideology, there is an increasing tendency to rely on psychology as the master discipline, … Continue reading Why Psychology fails to explain the Global Financial Crisis
Individualist social organisation operates on the assumption that accountability structures and measures are the problem, not the solution. They act as a brake on the forward momentum of heroic risk. Who dares wins. The only accountability required is clearly success or failure in the market. Accountability is an obstacle to success that needs to be … Continue reading Accountability is the problem, now what’s the solution?