Dani Rodrik on Bill Easterly:
As for Bill Easterly, I'm afraid Dingel put it best: "If you're overconfident about development, Bill Easterly pokes holes in your arguments. And if you're modest, he makes fun of you."
Sociologists on cities:
Is there anything negative about a global city?
Sassen: Global cities are two-edged swords. They bring economic dynamics - and that means jobs, life on the streets at night, vibrant restaurants, and so on.
But they do create 20 percent of the population which is extremely prosperous and a risk that they will take over key areas of the city with luxury office buildings, luxury housing and consumption spaces. This displaces smaller shopkeepers, the old modest middle classes. They lose.
My research suggests that ultimately cities are better off being dynamic (and hence global cities) but they do need political and civic leadership to balance out the extreme outcomes that markets left to themselves can produce.
European cities are much better than US cities. New York, the ultimate market town, has the highest share of very rich people and very powerful firms in the US and the highest share (over 20 percent) of officially counted poor ... and, according to the most recent count, over 100,000 homeless. That shows something about matters left to markets.
Peter Dorman has a challenge for fans of computable general equilibrium models:
I’m currently working with Sightline Institute in Seattle, monitoring the economic analysis phase of the Western Climate Initiative. WCI, which consists of seven US states and three Canadian provinces, is cooking up a common carbon emissions plan, and a consulting firm has been brought onboard to help clarify the economic implications of different policy alternatives. There are many issues specific to this project I may return to later, but for now I’d like to put the spotlight on the methodology WCI will be relying on, CGE modeling. I think these models are so dubious theoretically and unreliable in practice that there is no case for using them. In particular, I am issuing a challenge to their defenders: if no one can answer it, the case is closed. ...
Now for the challenge. As far as I know, there has never been a rigorous ex post evaluation of CGE models in practice, one that compares predicted to actual outcomes. ... My challenge is for those who think there is anything to CGE to come up with evidence that their forecasts add value—either careful retrospective analysis, market applications or both. ... [...more...]
I haven't played Budget Hero myself. Comments?
You could count on the fingers of both hands — no thumbs needed — the number of spring chinook salmon that swam through Willamette Falls Fish Passage on May 25.
There were eight of ’em. Just eight, bringing the total for the year to 4,794.
Read it and weep, if you fish for salmon — or care about a Northwest icon.
Eight salmon when the spring chinook run should be peaking. Eight lonely fish at a time springers normally are running so thick the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife falls far behind in posting daily counts.
“Please be patient,” says an ODFW notice usually posted in May. “Two thousand fish a day... can take two days to count” on videotape. ...
[T]he decline in the Willamette salmon run is stunning in its suddenness.
It was only four years ago, in the spring of 2004, that a record high — 95,968 spring chinook — was counted at the falls. On May 25 that year, 776 salmon passed the viewing window, bringing the cumulative total to 77,975.
Since then, the numbers have plummeted as follows (all counts as of May 28):
Year Adults Jacks 2004 80,510 513 2005 25,116 778 2006 25,002 130 2007 16,066 152 2008 5,120 52
What happened? Biologists are baffled.
“We’ve been scratching our heads and saying, ‘Man, that can’t be ... we must be missing ’em somehow,” district fish biologist Jeff Ziller said.
Theories range from disease to predation to ocean conditions. But hard evidence is lacking.
One inescapable fact is that hatchery-reared fish are returning at a much lower rate this spring than their naturally spawned cousins. ...
Ziller estimates the survival rate of the wild smolts returning as adults this year will wind up being five to 10 times higher than the hatchery smolts.
“You start looking at the mechanisms of loss and wondering about fitness, predation avoidance and disease resistance,” he said. ...