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Updated: 2017-02-21T18:08:35-08:00

 



Reading: Sukkoo Kim (2006): Division of Labor and the Rise of Cities: Evidence from US Industrialization 1850-1880

2017-02-21T18:08:35-08:00

Sukkoo Kim (2006): Division of Labor and the Rise of Cities: Evidence from US Industrialization 1850-1880 _Journal of Economic Geography_ 6, pp.469-491. <> If commodities are fully rival and excludible—i.e., the resources devoted to the production of one unit are thereby used up, and cannot be used to aid in...



Reading: Alexander Klein and Nicholas Crafts (2015): Agglomeration Economics and Productivity Growth, U.S. Cities, 1880-1930

2017-02-21T10:19:35-08:00

Alexander Klein and Nicholas Crafts (2015): Agglomeration Economics and Productivity Growth, U.S. Cities, 1880-1930 <> ---- If commodities are fully rival and excludible—i.e., the resources devoted to the production of one unit are thereby used up, and cannot be used to aid in the production of a second unit; and...



Reading: Richard Hornbeck and Daniel Keniston (2014): Creative Destruction: Barriers to Urban Growth and the Great Boston Fire of 1872

2017-02-21T06:34:31-08:00

Richard Hornbeck and Daniel Keniston (2014): Creative Destruction: Barriers to Urban Growth and the Great Boston Fire of 1872 <> ---- If commodities are fully rival and excludible—i.e., the resources devoted to the production of one unit are thereby used up, and cannot be used to aid in the production...



Reading: Hoyt Bleakley and Jeffrey Lin (2012): Portage and Path Dependence

2017-02-21T05:21:23-08:00

Hoyt Bleakley and Jeffrey Lin (2012): Portage and Path Dependence _Quarterly Journal of Economics_ 127 (May): 587–644 <> If commodities are fully rival and excludible—i.e., the resources devoted to the production of one unit are thereby used up, and cannot be used to aid in the production of a second...



Lincoln's Birthday Blogging

2017-02-21T05:20:41-08:00

My Great^6 Grandfather James DeLong left his bones in Wichita. But he did so only after carrying out the first-ever extraordinary rendition on the past of the U.S. government, and then getting fired by Abraham Lincoln for being too aggressive in waging the Civil War on all possible fronts... ----...



On Marc Levinson and His "The Box That Changed the World": Hoisted from the Archives

2017-02-21T05:17:17-08:00

[The Box That Changed the World](http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/the-box-that-changed-the-world) (July 25, 2006): It is 40 feet long, 8.5 or 9.5 feet high, and eight feet wide. It carries up to 29 tons in its 2,000 cubic feet of recommended available space – goods worth roughly $500,000 (or more) when sold at retail. It,...




2017-02-20T17:10:27-08:00

**Live from the Economists' Self-Made Gehenna: Dani Rodrik**: _[On Twitter: "Once asked a job candidate][] how he'd teach macro at HKS: "I'd use an OLG model, and since this is an intro course, not include money in it." [On Twitter: "Once asked a job candidate]: https://twitter.com/rodrikdani/status/833055243587952640



Weekend Reading: Lyndsey Gilpin: Cancer Rates Are Dropping—But Not In Rural Appalachia

2017-02-20T17:08:32-08:00

**Weekend Reading: Lyndsey Gilpin**: _[Cancer Rates Are Dropping—But Not In Rural Appalachia | FiveThirtyEight][]_: "Just over a year ago, Natasha Lucas, an agent for the University of Kentucky’s Owsley County Extension Office... >...needed a local lung cancer survivor to speak at a popular annual cancer awareness event in Booneville, Kentucky....



Let's Think Harder About the Role of Globalization in Wage Stagnation

2017-02-20T10:36:07-08:00

It's disturbing. As we face the probable abrogation of NAFTA, possible trade wars with China, Germany, and others, and the total cluster**** that is the Trump administration's policies (if any) toward NATO and Russia, a number of really smart and really well-intentioned people are, I think, making rhetorical--and in some...



Monday Smackdown: Hoisted from the Archives: Levitt and Dubner's "Superfreakonomics": The Parable of Horseshit

2017-02-20T10:17:29-08:00

Outsourced to: **Elizabeth Kolbert**: _[Hosed][]_: "One commentator predicted that by 1930 horse manure would reach the level of Manhattan’s third-story windows... [Hosed]: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/11/16/hosed >...Then, almost overnight, the crisis passed.... By 1912, autos in New York outnumbered horses.... All the anxieties about a metropolis inundated by ordure had been misplaced. This...



Twenty-First Century American Nationalism Needs to Be Profoundly Cosmopoiltan

2017-02-20T09:07:40-08:00

It's disturbing. As we face the probable abrogation of NAFTA, possible trade wars with China, Germany, and others, and the total cluster**** that is the Trump administration's policies (if any) toward NATO and Russia, a number of really smart and really well-intentioned people are, I think, making rhetorical--and in some... It's disturbing. As we face the probable abrogation of NAFTA, possible trade wars with China, Germany, and others, and the total cluster** that is the Trump administration's policies (if any) toward NATO and Russia, a number of really smart and really well-intentioned people are, I think, making rhetorical--and in some cases substantive--errors that are degrading the quality of the debate and increasing the chances of bad outcomes. And they are doing it while trying to be forces for good, light, human betterment, truth, justice, and the American way... So let me do some boundary policing here. Let me ask people--all of whom are wiser than I am, or if not wiser smarter, or if not smarter more knowledgeable--to think about whether they really hold the positions they set forward, and think about whether they have set them forward in a way most calculated to guard against destructive misinterpretation. Today: Dani Rodrik. And--hopefully--more tomorrow... Let me start with Dani Rodrik. We find Rodrik beating his breast about how "Cosmopolitans often come across like the character from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov who discovers that the more he loves humanity in general, the less he loves people in particular.... The best way to serve global interests is to live up to our responsibilities within the political institutions that matter: those that exist..." In today's political context, that will be read as: "only weenies care about the impacts of policies on people outside national borders, and any consideration of those impacts has no place in any political debate." In today's political context, that will be read as: "the well-being of Mexicans and the stability of Mexico must have a zero--nay, a negative--weight in the U.S. discussion about whether to abrogate NAFTA." But the major reason to do NAFTA is and always was that it is an important and a big good deal for Mexico. Having a good relationship--i.e., being in a positive-sum gift-exchange relationship--with the country on our southern border is a matter of elementary prudence in international relations. And doing what we can easily and cheaply to increase the chances that the country on our southern border is stable and prosperous is elementary prudence as well. NAFTA is close to rounding error in terms of its effects on the U.S.--not one of the thirty most important things the U.S. government could do for good or ill for the U.S. economy. It has small net benefits, yes. It had some costs for groups that had flourished under the umbrella of the pre-1993 barriers to imports from Mexico, yes. Those costs should have been better cushioned--and would have been had not Americans voted for Gingrich as House Speaker and Dole as Senate Majority Leader in 1994--yes. But those costs are now sunk, and those firms and sectors have adjusted and moved on. Abrogating NAFTA would impose a new and different set of costs, and would have no net positive benefits as an upside, yes. But NAFTA is, substantively, not worth committing political capital to attack or to defend if one is required to limit one's view to its direct effects on the U.S. The rational strategy, therefore, if one is forced to look at the direct effects in the U.S. and at the U.S. only is to let the point go and keep your powder dry for more important struggles, rather than wasting energy and stressing political alliances. That's where Dani's rhetoric takes us. And that is, I think, very wrong. The indire[...]



Global Warming: Time to Call the Bad Intellectual Bets...

2017-02-20T08:16:18-08:00

**Eric Holthaus**: _[@EricHolthaus][]_: "Now that it's over, we can say for sure: 2016 was the warmest year we've ever measured on Earth." We need to remember who the deniers and the skeptics have been over the past 30 years: bad judgments and corrupt arguments need to be remembered. First of...



Procrastinating on February 20, 2017

2017-02-20T08:08:00-08:00

**Over at [Equitable Growth](http://EquitableGrowth.org): Must- and Should-Reads:** * **Paul Krugman**: _[Trump's Rosy Scenario][]_: "The claimed returns to Trumpnomics are close to the highest growth rates we’ve seen under any modern administration... * **Michael Berube**: _[Theory Tuesday III][]_: "Sean [McCann]’s account of [how]... * **Dietrich Vollrath** (2015): _[What Assumptions Matter for...




2017-02-17T05:56:15-08:00

**Must-Read:** The right moment for Republicans interested in health policy to intervene in the politics was back in 2010, when the "repeal and replace" meme was first decided on. They should have said: "Hell, no!--You really do not want to say that." My suspicion is that they thought the battle...




2017-02-17T05:43:57-08:00

**Should-Read: Ben Thompson**: _[DistroKid, The “Publisher’s Right”, Shopify’s Results][]_: "As I’ve noted... the old value chain had three parts: supply — distribution — demand... [DistroKid, The “Publisher’s Right”, Shopify’s Results]: https://stratechery.com/2017/distrokid-the-publishers-right-shopifys-results/ >...The value in that value chain derived from supply owning distribution, which let said suppliers bundle the content that...




2017-02-17T05:23:04-08:00

**Live from the Orange-Haired Baboon Cage: Duncan Black**: _[Does No One Tell Him?][]_: "Constant lying... about his massive electoral college victory... [Does No One Tell Him?]: http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/02/does-no-one-tell-him.html >...which was not large by any standards including the ones he claims, is not important, but since he keeps saying it... does no...




2017-02-16T06:34:57-08:00

**Should-Read: David Anderson**: _[A BFD that Passed amongst the Chaos][]_: "Repeal and Replace or Repeal and Delay and Pray is dead... [A BFD that Passed amongst the Chaos]: https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/02/16/a-bfd-that-passed-amongst-the-chaos/ >...There is no coherent coalition of 218 and 51.... The 2016 ACA Repeal bill defunded Planned Parenthood and knocked out Medicaid...



(Early) Monday Smackdown: Outsourced to Kevin Drum

2017-02-16T06:28:49-08:00

Why can't "fiscal conservatives" ever man up and take responsibility for their actions and their lives? When you try to starve the government, sometimes you succeed--and then things that need to be done don't get done. Shame on the LA Time for publishing this. Outsourced to Kevin Drum: **Kevin Drum**:...



(Early) Monday Smackdown: Garland Tucker: If We Don't Honor John C. Calhoun, We Will Forget How Awful He Was

2017-02-16T06:09:08-08:00

**Monday Smackdown:** This may be the stupidest thing I have read this year! Shame on the FT for publishing it! I get 4480 results on google for "Garland Tucker". I get no results before this morning for "'Garland Tucker' +Calhoun". The fact that Yale's Calhoun College has been named for...



Reading: Lisa Blades and Eric Chaney (2013): The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE

2017-02-16T05:37:59-08:00

**Lisa Blades and Eric Chaney** (2013): _[The Feudal Revolution and Europe’s Rise: Political Divergence of the Christian West and the Muslim World before 1500 CE][]_ <>: "We document a divergence in the duration of rule for monarchs... >...in Western Europe and the Islamic world beginning in the medieval period. While...



Is It Good If Your Work Becomes More Valuable?

2017-02-15T18:06:42-08:00

**When Something Is Valuable:** * You can either: * Work hard to make stuff and trade stuff * Steal it—by fraud, or force, or threat of force * When property rights are "endogenous", who endogenizes them, and how? * As with so much else, these historical arguments start with the...



Reading: Robert Brenner (1979): Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe

2017-02-15T17:52:11-08:00

**Robert Brenner** (1979): Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe, _Past & Present_ 70 (Feb.), pp. 30-75 <> **MOAR Readings:** * T. H. Aston (Editor) and C. H. E. Philpin, eds. (1987): The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe (New York: Cambridge University...



Reading: Suresh Naidu and Noam Yuchtman (2013): Coercive Contract Enforcement: Law and the Labor Market in Nineteenth Century Industrial Britain

2017-02-17T06:02:20-08:00

**Suresh Naidu and Noam Yuchtman** (2013): Coercive Contract Enforcement: Law and the Labor Market in Nineteenth Century Industrial Britain, _American Economic Review_ 103 (February): 107–144 <> **Degrees of "Freedom"** * Is “freedom” really free? Naidu and Yuchtman * The law of “master and servant” * Criminal penalties for what we...