Pencil or peach, either way, a marvel of decentralized coordination

Many of you are probably already familiar with Leonard Read’s famous 1958 story I, Pencil. Told through the eyes of a pencil, it describes the process of producing a pencil and how many people are involved in doing so, but without ever having met or consciously, deliberately set out a plan under the control of … More Pencil or peach, either way, a marvel of decentralized coordination

Physical and virtual aren’t always substitutes

Lynne Kiesling Whether the topic is retail sales or higher education (or some other application), the role of digital technology raises the question of how, if at all, online activity substitutes for physical, face-to-face activity. That relationship differs case-to-case; you wouldn’t expect the effects of online shopping on bricks-and-mortar shops to have the same patterns … More Physical and virtual aren’t always substitutes

Disruptive innovation in education

Lynne Kiesling The disruptive digital innovations that have transformed music, movies, and news are now changing business models in higher education. This month’s Cato Unbound features a set of essays on the possible effects of changes like universities offering MOOCs (massive online open courses) at zero price. In the lead essay, Alex Tabarrok argues that … More Disruptive innovation in education

Economic understanding: “there’s a lot of confirmation bias out there”

Michael Giberson Do liberals or conservatives of libertarians tend to have a better understanding of economics? It is a question that Daniel Klein and Zeljka Buturovic investigated in a pair of papers appearing in Econ Journal Watch (one and two). The first paper appeared to show that a college education didn’t lead to much improvement in economic … More Economic understanding: “there’s a lot of confirmation bias out there”

Bainbridge’s broad brush criticisms on empirical legal studies slams all interdisciplinary legal work

Michael Giberson Criticisms of the growing field of empirical legal studies by UCLA law professor  Stephen Bainbridge were issued in such broad brush strokes that he ended up blasting just about every law academic engaged in any sort of interdisciplinary work, especially so if the academic seeks to examine data of some sort. The main … More Bainbridge’s broad brush criticisms on empirical legal studies slams all interdisciplinary legal work

John List’s $10 million crazy idea field experiment in education

Michael Giberson Bloomberg Markets Magazine has a feature on economist John List and his $10 million research project on education. Along the way we get an introduction to List’s work on field experiments in economics, a splash of lab-based economics back story, and the reaction of education specialists who think List’s project is wholly off … More John List’s $10 million crazy idea field experiment in education