Contra Authoritarian Contribution Rules

This article contains technical meta-guidance based on my personal experience. I haven’t seen scholarly research for or against this guidance, but I would expect it to move in the same direction. This guidance is meant to be leveraged in general as a default best practice, but there may be times where exceptions are justified. The … Read more Contra Authoritarian Contribution Rules

Elon Musk, Secrecy, and Efficiency

It’s obvious in elementary economic theory that free information permits optimal competition, pricing, economic growth, and social health in many other forms. This theory, however, is often practically contested. This article gives a concrete example of secrecy impacting competition. Elon Musk has a company called SpaceX. This company can, among other things, launch satallites. The … Read more Elon Musk, Secrecy, and Efficiency

Expressive Voting, Rational Irrationality, and the Size of Government

A recent homework question asked: Expressive voting and rational irrationality seem to predict that local governments will be more efficient than state governments, which will in turn will be more efficient than federal governments. Are these predictions true? Carefully explain your answer. Is there any reason why we should expect this relative ranking to be … Read more Expressive Voting, Rational Irrationality, and the Size of Government

Two Dispositions in Economic Analysis

This article makes what I consider to be the obvious argument for what economists should do. As all people should, economists should do what is good. Peculiar to economists is the tool set of economic analysis. I propose that a good economist makes use of the analytical tools of economics to achieve good things. I … Read more Two Dispositions in Economic Analysis

Kaldor-Hicks Problems

This article discusses notions of economic efficiency, notes a main one employed by applied economists to be Kaldor-Hicks efficiency, and discusses a few issues with that concept. Here are some kinds of economic efficiency: Pareto efficiency – loved by theorists but not feasible It means a move which improves utility of at least one agent … Read more Kaldor-Hicks Problems

The Core Problem in Programming

Developers maximize productivity in the economic sense by finding an optimal balance between the quality of their product and the cost at which they produce it. Because the primary marginal cost in programming is labor, lower cost of production is very well proxied by ease of coding. Another major cost in programming is hardware, and … Read more The Core Problem in Programming

Vandivier-Coase Theorem

Having considered the Coase Thereom a bit more, I think I can phrase the principle being described better than even Coase did. I’ll call this the Vandivier-Coase Thereom: When transaction costs are sufficiently small relative to total surplus, an efficient and invariant outcome will prevail, and as transaction costs approach zero the result will become … Read more Vandivier-Coase Theorem

Was the Government Shutdown Good for the Job Market?

This article will argue that it is possible the government shutdown was actually good for the job market. Washington Post and many others report that in the month of October the US economy picked up tens of thousands of jobs more than were expected. The article goes on to talk about how the official unemployment … Read more Was the Government Shutdown Good for the Job Market?

Nash Equilibrium and the Prisoners’ Dilemma

This article will introduce Nash Equilibrium and the Prisoners’ Dilemma. I will argue that prima facie these provide proof that empathetic markets can produce Nash-Superior equilibria. Let me start off by saying Khan Academy is super awesome. See their short introductory video on Nash Equilibrium and the Prisoners’ Dilemma: First thoughts: The PD does not … Read more Nash Equilibrium and the Prisoners’ Dilemma