More surprisingly, Posner spends significant firepower assailing
“The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.” This compendium (The Chicago Manual of Style for lawyers) might seem an unworthy target. Yet he is excoriating not just the Bluebook, but also the substitution of style over substance it represents. When created in 1926, supposedly by the great appellate judge Henry Friendly, the manual was 26 pages. A recent edition spans 511 pages. Posner appears to believe that following the Bluebook is about as bad as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic — and by reverse order of manufacture, no less. He casts the Bluebook as a neurotic reaction to external complexity; if you cannot control what is important, you make important what you can control.
One of the advantages of having really smart colleagues — the kind who exhibit genuine intellectual curiosity, and who are truly interested in doing things well — is that you get to learn a lot from them.
I was recently having a conversation with my colleague and next-door office neighbor Joe Ritter in which we were discussing the possibility that the (binary) treatment variable in a paper I am working on might suffer from some misclassification. That is, my variable D = 1 if an individual has received the treatment and D = 0 otherwise, but it is possible that some people for whom D = 1 actually report D = 0, and that some people for whom D = 0 actually report D = 1.
When the possibility that my treatment variable might suffer from misclassification (or measurement error) arose, Joe recalled that he’d read a paper by Christopher R. Bollinger about this a while back. A few hours later, he sent me an email to which he’d attached the paper. Here is the abstract: Continue reading
If you’re not familiar with the idea of a (clinical) trial registry, I suggest you read this first, then come back to read the rest of this post.
In case you are not a member of the American Economics Association (AEA), or in case you have let your membership lapse, the association sent the following email to its members last night:
Dear AEA member:
The AEA has launched a new site to register randomized control trials (RCTs). The AEA encourages all investigators to register new and existing RCTs. Registration is entirely voluntary and is not currently linked to or required for submission and publication in the AEA journals. Continue reading
American food policy has long been rife with head-scratching illogic. We spend billions every year on farm subsidies, many of which help wealthy commercial operations to plant more crops than we need. The glut depresses world crop prices, harming farmers in developing countries. Meanwhile, millions of Americans live tenuously close to hunger, which is barely kept at bay by a food stamp program that gives most beneficiaries just a little more than $4 a day.
So it’s almost too absurd to believe that House Republicans are asking for a farm bill that would make all of these problems worse. For the putative purpose of balancing the country’s books, the measures that the House Republican caucus is pushing for in negotiations with the Senate, as Congress attempts to pass a long-stalled extension of the farm bill, would cut back the meager aid to our country’s most vulnerable and use the proceeds to continue fattening up a small number of wealthy American farmers.
A great op-ed by Joe Stiglitz in last Saturday’s New York Times. The whole thing is worth reading, as Stiglitz manages to distill the essence of the political economy of US agricultural and food policy in less than 1,500 words. And in that op-ed, I recognize the Joe Stiglitz that become one of my intellectual heroes when I started studying development microeconomics and realized that he had written seminal contributions on many topics of importance to development.
Last week I gave talks — the same talk twice, really — in London and in Frankfurt on female genital cutting.
As it turns out, the nice folks at the London International Development Centre have a posted a nice summary of my talk (complete with a picture of me giving the talk) here, along with the slides for my presentation.
I have talked about this paper a few times already on this blog, but the paper keeps improving. The version of the paper in the slides available from the LIDC website covers both Senegal and the Gambia, and it discusses how and speculates about why the persistence of FGC differs between the two countries.