Update on the Porter affair at the end.

(September 13–19) Different models make different predictions — who’d thunk it! / No-trade-off econs and public-health alarmists united, again / NSW still leading the way, with Victoria still following the NSW playbook, time-delayed by about 4–6 weeks / Porter finally on the ropes / How to max the number of enemies in one brilliant strike / Lies, damn lies, and ABS statistics

Even before the week had really started, an interview Sunday morning on Insiders ABC, “Australia’s Australia’s flagship political discussion program”, made a considerable splash. Said Waleed Aly, one of Oz’s more sensible public intellectuals and talking heads: “The politician’s job is not to follow health advice. Their job is to take health advice, consider it, place it in its proper context.” That apparently was news to many. As maybe it had to in world where every premier hides behind “health advice” but somehow the adopted policies widely differ. …


(September 6–12) Pandemic end-game now clear / NSW leading the way, with Victoria following the NSW playbook, time-delayed by about 3–4 weeks / The best minister in the world he apparently is not / Confidential to the pm: Never mess with a journo

So the pandemic end-game here in the land of Oz is now pretty clear. Not one minute too early, as people get restless and increasingly disobey the questionable rules that public-health medicos imposed and had the government enforce by police force, military assisting.

The charge, and dramatic shift in public discourse — within weeks — from zero-covid, no-trade-off madness to desperate attempts to slow down growth of cases and hospitalization numbers while pushing hard to get subgroups such as essential workers, and other at-risk groups, and then everyone else vaxxed, was pushed by the NSW state government and has since…


So, it seems that Albo finally managed to cut through: his $300 cash payment proposal dominated the news cycle yesterday. What’s the evidence that it works?

There is considerable evidence that cash payments work and are more effective than lotteries in experimental situations. That cash payments are a better incentive than lotteries (or random payment, aka lotteries) is also in line with results from experimental economics. And they may well be an excellent means to get important subpopulations (e.g., the young essential workers in the eight LGAs that have been put under harsher lockdown conditions by the Berejiklian government) to…


(Update at the end.)

A lot of questionable stuff — some of it outright rubbish — has been written, and tweeted (wouldn’t you know it), in the last 48 hours in anticipation of, and response to, the NSW government’s decision to tighten restrictions for the Fairfield, Bankstown-Canterbury, and Liverpool Local Government Areas (LGAs), to shut down for two weeks all construction sites, and to shut down (and define) non-critical businesses until further notice. …


Evaluating managerial performance is not an easy task, at least empirically. Part of the problem is that outcome measures of firm performance are not straightforward (short term profits? long term profits? market share?) Plus your typical organization is multi-layered which makes the influence of the top honcho, contrary to adages such as the fish rots from the head, somewhat less easy to identify.

A few years back I kicked around, with a frequent collaborator of mine and over some good Greek wine and ouzo, the idea of using data from soccer (and in particular the Bundesliga, Europe’s best premier league…


A look at the evidence.

Lockdowns are not lockdowns. A Melbourne lockdown is different from a Sydney lockdown, be it only because the two cities are not the same. On top of this, the rules are different. As is the enforcement of the rules.

Last but not least in light of the current “Fortress Australia” rhetoric about lockouts being preferable to lockdownsdisappointingly also pushed by Labor politicians — , here is my attempt to understand what lockdowns really do and, importantly, at what costs they come, citizen and civil rights being one sacrifice of many.

The basic idea of lockdowns is to slow…


A plan. The Morrison government finally has a plan on how to get the country out of the mess in which it, and Labor premiers, have thrown it. It’s the old plan it has failed to deliver on so far which is the reason why the supply of vaccines is currently the problem and not the demand. …


The chancellor candidates (from l to r): Laschet, Baerbock, Scholz

On 26 September 2021, Germany will elect a new parliament. There is considerable uncertainty about the outcome of the election although one thing is clear: When all the votes are tallied, the Bundestag (The German federal parliament) will elect a new chancellor: Angela Merkel decided a couple of years ago (after the 2017 election that ended rather poorly for her, her party, and her coalition partner) that it was time to go.

HOW DID WE GET WHERE WE ARE?

German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle has competently unpacked in this ten-minute video how Merkel has managed to stay in power for…


The new Kahneman et al book titled NOISE has generated considerable, well, noise, as evidenced by the Amazon reviews so far which are all over the place. Also, Andrew Gelman on his Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, & Social Science blog has taken an observation by Rachel Meagher to question the authors’ statistical chops. His comment prompted many comments (and counting) even by the standard of his blog. On Facebook, in the Behavioral Economist group, a contributor pointed out the questionable evidence that Kahneman paraded in his previous best-seller Thinking Fast and Slow (TFS) as well as Kahneman’s failure to correct…


An old review, originally published here on 25 January, 2018. Has aged well, me thinkst. I have discussed related issues in a handbook chapter (“on the Foundations of Behavioral and Experimental Economics”) that is forthcoming in Kincaid & Ross (Elgar 2021): A Modern Guide to Philosophy of Economics which I just posted on https://sites.google.com/site/professorortmann/publications

Here is the review, for your entertainment:

Tomer, John F. Advanced Introduction to Behavioral Economics. Elgar (2017). ISBN: 978 1 78471 991 3 (cased), ISBN: 978 1 78471 993 7 (paperback)

Tomer, an Emeritus Professor of Economics at Manhattan College, covers much ground in a fairly…

Andreas Ortmann

EconProf: I post occasionally on whatever tickles my fancy: Science, evidence production, the Econ tribe, Oz politics, etc. Y’all r entitled to my opinions …

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