I meant to get this one out last Friday. Ah well.
It is easy to find lots of economists who are down on protectionism, but the evidence turns out to be rather mixed on exactly what its effects are. There are countries that have done poorly with this policy, and countries that have done very well indeed.
Dani Rodrik is an interesting and thoughtful economist. This example from his article is illuminating:
In some sense we all know this. Consider another thought experiment: Suppose Harry and John own two companies that compete with each other. How do you feel about each of the following four cases?
Harry works really hard, saves and invests a lot, comes up with new techniques, and outcompetes John, resulting in John and his employees losing their jobs.
Harry gets a competitive edge over John by finding a cheaper supplier in Germany.
Harry drives John out of business by outsourcing to a supplier in Bangladesh, which employs workers in 12-hour shifts and under extremely hazardous conditions.
Harry “imports” Bangladeshi workers under temporary contracts and puts them to work under conditions that violate domestic labor, environmental, and safety laws.
From a purely economic standpoint, these scenarios are what economists call “isomorphic” — they are formally indistinguishable because each creates losers as well as winners in the process of expanding the economic pie in the national economy. (That is, Harry’s gains are larger than John’s losses.)
For economists to call these four situations in some sense identical is probably important for analysis, but it probably also warps the mind to do that too regularly.
I haven't used JASP myself, but I saw people talking about it on Twitter. I will give it a try, and perhaps report back. I am entirely in favor of easy to use stats tools.
This was a fascinating reflection on fatherhood, spurred by the climax of Return of the Jedi.
I like Dani Rodrik's work, but sometimes I also think he's nuts. This is a good example of why. I think really bad things would happen if we tried to implement this suggestion of globally free labor movement.
I have said my piece on Disney's decision to reboot the Star Wars universe, but in the time since, I have found the new novels pretty lackluster. There was some crap in the old EU, but the crap to good stuff ratio seems poor in the new canon. Thankfully, the animated series are making up for the deficit.
A retrospective of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, that is a case study of the failures of social science that led to the replication crisis. The first person, and the last person, Philip Zimbardo lied to was himself.
A perennial theme here at the blog: are we sure we really knew what we were doing?