Weekend econlinks: The quest for perfection

  • Gelman writes a useful overview on causality and statistical learning (caveat lector: I have only read through Angrist and Pischke’s book, among the three Gelman mentiones; that one is very well written, but aimed at junior graduate students at best: hence, the book’s tag “an empiricist’s companion” is overselling it; and that has nothing to do with Josh Angrist kindly “advising” me to change my PhD topic/focus, sometime in my beginning graduate years, because ‘nobody serious would be interested in structural modelling’ :-)).
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Sunday econlinks

  • An interesting debate in the latest issue of Capitalism and Society on the current status of Economics and other Social Sciences, worth reading especially for the two comments to the leading article on the theme. Unfortunately, Jon Elster, in his “Excessive Ambitions“, otherwise a welcome (and relatively informed) outsider’s critique, does not manage to rise up to his declared ambitions of debunking the status quo / portraying “the persistence in the economic profession and elsewhere of these useless or harmful models“, and eventually falls easy prey to his commenters: Pierre-André Chiappori (who, very elegantly, but unmistakenly, tackles most of the points raised by Elster in his criticism of economic theory and testing its predictions) and respectively, David Hendry (who virtually destroys Elster’s line of reasoning and conclusions on empirical modelling in Economics).
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Sunday night econlinks

  • Bilingualism and early child development: very interesting brand-new research in PNAS (institutional or individual subscription needed, else only abstract is free). And yes, bilingualism clearly pays off, if you were wondering.
  • Vienna and the largest Swiss cities top Mercer’s quality of living index for ’09, while Munich appears to be the winner if you account simultaneously for both quality of living (position 7) and infrastructure (position 2).
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Econlinks for the weekend

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Quote for week 13th to 19th of Jan ’08

[…]The gift of early insight into chess or math or music is often also accompanied by a growing obsession with those activities, simply because of the wonders of connection and invention that unfold in the young mind. The world itself, with its more messy human interactions, its complicated histories, its emotional conflicts, can be put aside, and attention focused on an intricate bounded cosmos.
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Importance of early environment for children’s cognitive development: Bucharest Early Intervention Project

A very important and welcome study on the cognitive recovery of socially deprived young children, using a randomized controlled trial with young orphans from Bucharest, Romania, has been published in Science, on the 21st of Dec ’07. You can read the abstract here→ Read more