Category: Miscellaneous

Adventures in Publishing, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Edition

An anonymous reviewer opens his or her remarks on an article I had submitted for publication in the following unintentionally hilarious fashion:

I am willing to accept the principal finding in this paper (food price levels matter more than price volatility in driving social unrest), in part because others (e.g., Bellemere [sic]) have drawn a similar conclusion.

Job Market Advice II: Interviewing at the Annual Meetings

It’s that time of the year again, when graduate students who are about to enter their final year in economics and related disciplines are getting ready to go on the job market.

Going on the job market is a harrowing experience for most people, however, so I thought I should help job-market candidates by sharing my advice.

This post is the second in a series of three. Today, I’d like to discuss what it’s like to interview at the annual meetings, and how you should prepare for it. The next installment will be posted in late fall and will cover on-campus interviews. Continue reading

Things I’ll Miss in Durham

As most readers of this blog know, I will be joining the Department of Applied Economics at University of Minnesota in a few weeks. Today is the day we drive off to the Upper Midwest. As such — and following Kim’s example — this is as good a time as any for me to take stock of what I’ll miss in what was, for better or for worse, my hometown for the past seven years, and the place where I’ve lived the longest after my hometown of Montreal. Continue reading

On the Road


I am off to Washington, DC this weekend for the annual meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA). I suspect many readers of this blog will be at the AAEA meeting. If you see me there, please come and say hi.

Once I am back from DC, my wife, our two dogs, and I will spend three days driving from Durham, NC to our new home in Saint Paul, MN. As a consequence, there will no new posts until August 19. See you on the other side!

A Theory of Value in “The Swiss Family Robinson”


Much like the content of Monday’s post, this has been in my “to-blog” file ever since I went on sabbatical in Belgium in 2009-2010 and read The Swiss Family Robinson, a book rich in social science content.

The following is from the original 1816 English translation, chapter 18. The emphasis is mine.

As we walked along, Fritz asked me if this handsome shell was of the kind so much valued in Europe for making into boxes, combs, &c.? and if it was not a pity to use it for a water-tub?

I replied that in our deserted situation the utility of a thing formed its greatest, and indeed only value. According to this way of reasoning then, were your water-tub of diamonds, it would be of no more worth to us than the rudest stone, if in such a form as to be able to contain water.