(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…

Modern Australia 2021

Seven observations on the Morrison — Frydenberg budget.

First, if you believe any of the numbers being tossed around about unemployment, I have a castle to sell you. A castle built on sand as it is. As you will recall the unemployment numbers were propped up by massive fiscal stimuli through the end of March and also through massive withdrawals from superannuation (accounting for about 40 percent of the JobKeeper fiscal stimulus). There is a good chance that by the end of the year we have a higher unemployment rate than the one currently reported (5.6%) for March reference period…

I previously wrote about the kerfuffle between Facebook and the Aussie government (namely its PM and his Treasurer) about a week ago here. I wrote that piece after Facebook had chosen the “nuclear option” of blocking all news content from its users’ pages. I concluded there and then:

“So, in sum, and to return to the question posted as title: Facebook banning the sharing of Aussie news: The evil empire at work? There is no doubt that Facebook flexes its muscles to improve its bargaining position but it does have good reason to be concerned about the proposed news media…

It’s complicated. Twelve observations. (Version 0.9 — draft)

First, Facebook is a powerful social media company which through its platform exerts considerable influence on the public discourse. (Contrary to what some people argue, it is not a monopolist as there are substitutes such as twitter.) The considerable influence makes it imperative that it becomes more transparent on consumer protection and privacy issues, for example. I believe the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) got that right in its Digital Platforms Inquiry report published almost two years ago. …

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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