8 Articles From Around the Web That Caught My Eye

“President Chaos” and a return to Congressional government The piece argues that it has only been since FDR’s election in the 1930s that the US government has become so President-centric, before that Congress drove policy. The authors argue we could be seeing a return to that mode especially if the recent bipartisan core that ended the shutdown endures.

The staggering scale of China’s Belt and Road initiative It’s big.

Reminder: Most Published Research is Probably Wrong! Fun piece that skewers most published academic economic research. The blog author, an academic economist, finds that if you replicate the work of a “big name” and find the results are wrong, then it is next to impossible to get the replication/comments paper published. It seems that to get published it’s who you knows, rather than how robust your results, that matter.

Did Communicating a Numerical Inflation Target Anchor U.S. Inflation Expectations? A Kansas Fed paper that looks at whether the FOMC formally setting a 2y inflation target in 2012 anchored inflation expectations. Guess what? It did (so the Kansas Fed thinks the Fed’s policy change has worked, see previous link above). Looking at the stats, though, it does seem positive inflation data surprises are leading to lower inflation expectations. It wasn’t statistically significant, but the trend is in that direction.

Reproductive behaviour at the end of the world: the effect of the Cuban Missile Crisis on U.S. fertility This paper basically found that people closer to bomb targets were more likely to engage in “reproductive activities” as they could die soon. The methodology of the paper was a bit suspect, but well done to the authors for discovering this!

The Questionable History of the Future A nice history of how we have seen the future. In prehistoric times, people assumed things would not change. Later, the Greeks like Plato and Aristotle saw time as cyclical like the seasons. Then with St Augustine established a more linear view of time and progress (at least in the spiritual realm). It took the Enlightenment, for the belief that the material world would always improve. And here we are today with the core belief in progress. But is that the right view?

How all-night raving can turn you into an Ironman A piece on the extreme triathlete Per Bittner. He argues that all-night raving in his youth give him the physical and mental skills to become a world-class athlete.

50 Cent realizes he’s a Bitcoin millionaire thanks to sales of a 2014 album Rapper 50 Cent accepted bitcoin for a 2014 album, forgot he had them, recently re-discovered them and found they were worth $8mn!

Bilal

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