Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Paolo Giuliano and Antonio Spilimbergo study (PDF) how the economic conditions an individual's youth influence enduring values - and find that the experience of an economic shock tends to lead to a greater appreciation of a fair redistribution of resources:
Consistent with theories of social psychology, this paper shows that large macroeconomic shocks experienced during the critical years of adolescence and early adulthood, between the ages of 18 and 25, shape preferences for redistribution and that this effect is statistically and economically significant.
Our findings are consistent with three broad interpretations. First, evidence from social psychology (and also neuroscience) shows that young adults are particularly responsive to the external environment, implying that later experiences are less relevant in shaping behavior.

A second interpretation regarding the persistent effect of macroeconomic shocks on beliefs is consistent with Cogley and Sargent (2008). The authors argue, in reference to the Great Depression, that macroeconomic shocks are “beliefs-twisting events,” whose influence can last long, because it takes a long time to correct the pessimistic beliefs induced by the depression, through the observation of macroeconomic data.

A third interpretation is consistent with theoretical work by Piketty (1995): the author argues that shocks could change people’s belief about the relative importance of luck versus effort as a driver of success. This belief, in his model, is related to the amount of taxes that people vote for and their preferences for government intervention. We find evidence consistent with his theory: the uncertainty created by macroeconomic shocks makes people believe that luck is more relevant than effort and, as a result, increases their desire for government intervention.
- And Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser discuss the strong correlation between trust and long-term growth - signalling how much damage is done to everybody's interests when elites instead focus on short-term extraction of wealth for themselves.

- Jon Schwarz rightly lambastes Apple for refusing to pay corporate taxes to the U.S. until it's able to extract what it considers a satisfactory discount, while the UK has announced what may be a significant move to limit the tax avoidance industry. Mike Bird, Vipal Mongaand and Aaron Kuriloff report on the trend of corporations handing out massive dividends - in many cases borrowing to hand shareholders more than a business has earned in income. And Gary Fooks, Karen West and Kevin Farnsworth trace the ballooning of executive pay to a concerted effort to transfer income from other workers to the executive class.

- Michael Walker and Sarah Kaine note that a strike at the UK delivery service Deliveroo offers an important example as to how workers with precarious jobs can engage in successful collective action. And Roger Baird discusses the potential for organization throughout the gig economy.

- Meanwhile, Dean Beeby reports on the misuse of unpaid interns by the federal government - though as with the failure to pay workers under the Phoenix pay scandal, the Libs' inclination seems to be toward prolonged study rather than quickly rectifying gross violations of employment law. And Alicia Bridges reports on the continued lack of workplace safety standard compliance in Saskatchewan.

- Finally, Christo Aivalis discusses how a postal banking system would fit into the values that should inform all of our decisions about the future of public services in Canada.

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