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Comment: Re:Political/Moral (Score 2) 305

by Lynal (#47356803) Attached to: How Often Do Economists Commit Misconduct?

...[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

by Lynal (#45967031) Attached to: Silicon Valley Workers May Pursue Salary-Fixing Lawsuit
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

by Lynal (#43631871) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What's Your Company's Marketing-to-Engineering Ratio?
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

by Lynal (#43039567) Attached to: Is Code.org Too Soulless To Make an Impact?
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

by Lynal (#41322177) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Much Is a Fun Job Worth?

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?

Comment: True Cost vs Cost on Paper (Score 1) 391

by Lynal (#34610570) Attached to: Is Going To an Elite College Worth the Cost?

Full tuition and fees may be $50K per year at some places, and the true cost to the university (per student per year) may be higher, but what's the true cost to the student?

The elite colleges and universities have need-blind admissions and financial aid that is entirely driven by a family's resources. That means the rich families who can easily afford that $50K don't mind the cost, and the families that can't, don't suffer it. Furthermore, the best school of those schools have been implementing no debt policies, where all the financial aid is in grants (instead of loans), so having debt after graduation isn't even an issue.

It's just dishonest to tell kids "Don't bother with Princeton, you can't afford it" when the reality is: for the elite colleges, if you can get in, they'll help you with the cost.

Comment: Re:What is wrong with scalping? Really? (Score 1) 425

by Lynal (#32810070) Attached to: Paperless Tickets Flourish Despite 'Grandma Problem'

If I buy 10 of the new Xbox 360 from the local Walmart where there are lots, and sell them on eBay for a profit, is that "scalping" 360s ?

That's not scalping, that is a strawman. To fix your example, Microsoft releases XBox's a very small number of consoles, well below market price (they make money on games). You give a bum 40$ to wait 5 days first in line. Then you buy all the consoles, turn around to the others in line, and offer to sell at a 500% markup.

If entropy is increasing, where is it coming from?

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