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Comment Re:what about skinny people? (Score 1) 378

No, game theory tells us that sociopaths do well in a society that is primarily composed of non-sociopaths, but do not do so well in a society where they are the majority (and that society also doesn't do well as a whole).

Please check your source on this, I do not think you can conclude that based on game theory, or even a reasonable application of game theory. Alternatively, how do you reach this conclusion?

Comment Re:Political/Moral (Score 2) 305

...[you need to] recognize his base assumptions from his math, or you're still not qualified to check his math.

As an economist, I want to reiterate that point.

That said, I wouldn't take the article at face value. Look at how they describe 'unaccepted research practice.' Playing devil's advocate, splitting research into smaller publishable piece makes sense if you want to get it out as quickly as possible. Or their statement about checking the contents of work cited? Do they mean ensuring that works cited are correct? Because that's ridiculous, no one can do that. Or do they mean glancing at the work cited? Because that's equally ridiculous.

Comment Re:IANAL, but... (Score 1) 130

It's a little more complicated than that. The issue is match quality between workers and firms. Match quality increases over a worker's tenure at a firm (as they learn the systems / practices / whatever). To better model the issue you'll want to include training costs and long term contracts.

For example, it won't work out if a firm trains workers and then those workers just find better jobs, so one solution is long term contracts. Long term contracts may be forbidden, so firms need other ways to retain workers who they've spent a lot of money to train. Anti-poaching rules may be another solution.

I'm not saying implicit anti-poaching agreements are good, but it's not a black and white issue.

Comment Re:I think they were just bored (Score 1) 225

An `irrational' person would answer (Yes, No, Yes), or (No, Yes, No).

Actually those answers could be perfectly rational depending on how hungry you are, how much cash is in your wallet, and which fast food restaurants are within walking distance.

I'm not sure if you're being pedantic, I'll assume you're not. Yes, that's true, rationality (complete and transitive preferences) is different from what they're testing. They're saying inconsistent without providing a baseline. The example I gave is one equating rationality to having a monotonic marginal utility for wealth gains, which is a pretty weak assumption as economics goes, I think it's weaker than the example given in the news article, which is an argument for prospect theory.

Comment Re:I think they were just bored (Score 2) 225

Did they correct for income?

Kids and young folks are more motivated to get $5 since they have low resources. If you are retired, why not take the chance on $20 vs a sure $5 you don't need?

Yes. They would need to.

The idea is this:

Would you take $1 or a coin flip for $2?
Would you take $5 or a coin flip for $10?
Would you take $10 or a coin flip for $20?

An `irrational' person would answer (Yes, No, Yes), or (No, Yes, No). Someone that answered all Yes or all No would not be inconsistent, nor would someone who answered (Yes, Yes, No) or (No, No, Yes), those people would be labeled as risk averse then risk loving.

As someone who has to sit through a lot of talks about research like this, GrumpySteen got it right in saying:

After a few dozen questions like that, I'd be so bored that I'd start choosing randomly without thinking about it just to get it over with. There's no way in hell I would seriously think about each and every question out of a list of 320.

A great paper on the topic is the 2001 paper "GARP For Kids", which asks the same question about children, and does a good job arguing that inconsistencies decrease with age going from young to college.

Comment Relevant Research (Score 1) 202

There's been research on the issue of advertising and marketing. On one hand advertising facilitates better matching (consumers learn about products that they want to buy). On the other hand, this is money spent that doesn't produce anything. For example, Coke and Pepsi's advertising budgets are huge, and it's hard to argue that these ads help consumers.

There have been papers investigating the welfare effects of matching and competition (matching is good, competition in advertising is bad). The current literature (and I can't find the citation) agrees advertising is bad in total, as the useless competition outweighs the better matching, but it's not obvious and it's not an overwhelming effect.

Comment Wrong audience (Score 1) 384

Whether or not posters on /. like code.org is inconsequential. We are the wrong audience. I think code.org is saying "it's not just nerds that benefit from knowing how to code."

The question is, might code.org get more people or less people programming. To give an example, how many people here idolize Enrique Iglesias? Probably close to zero. Yet in the broader world, I think there are some who take his (or some of the other leaders/trendetters') words as gospel, and those people might take his encouragement to program seriously. Is this a good thing? I say yes.

Comment Re:not really that simple. (Score 1) 120

Research has shown that in some markets if we outlawed advertising, prices would drop while demand wouldn't decrease as significantly, and everyone would be better off.

If you also consider that this may be a 'price as a signal' market, knowing marginal cost could let consumers make better choices, and we could get better outcomes.

I'm an economist so I might be biased, but this seems like a good thing.

Comment Re:Fun vs Happy (Score 1) 397

According to all known studies on happiness, there are only 2 things that affect happiness overall - everything else people adapt to after a while and get back to their normal levels of happiness.

1. Get a pet dog - people are always happier with this on average and the buzz doesn't wear off. 2. Have a long commute - people are always unhappy with this on average and they never get used to it.

I hadn't heard of this, is there a citation?

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972

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