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Too much of a good thing?

My attention has been drawn (thanks Paul) to an article which describes how one might find the optimal number of members of parliament in a representative democracy. In a nutshell, a parliament with too few representatives is not “democratic” enough, possibly leading to an unstable political system, in which various undesirable forms of political expression, […]


Climate change policy

Bjorn Lomborg seems to be causing a stir again with his new book, ‘Cool It’. I haven’t read the book but the essence of it seems to be that the dangers of climate change are over-rated. Lomborg also proposes that trying to cut emissions might be part of a good policy response to climate change, […]


A framework for normative economics

This is a post that Matt really should have written, but unfortunately he’s snowed under at work at the moment. Having said that, it’s not really much more than a plug for Steven Landsburg’s fascinating new paper entitled “The Methodology of Normative Economics”. Economists tend to shy away from making normative judgments: when constructing a […]


Insiders vs outsiders

Government departments are constantly criticised for their lavish spending on outside consultants. Why, the newspapers ask, couldn’t they rely on the inside talent that taxpayers are already forking out for. This paper, mentioned by Eliezer Yudkowsky may give some clue. It turns out that people are not only incredibly bad at predicting how long it […]


Is New Zealand heading for a recession?

Well of course it is, a recession is a typical part of a business cycle and we need one to help our economy achieve some balance. Now that I have provided my conclusion, let me meat it out a little bit.  By recession I am thinking that NZ is going to have a growth recession […]


Democracy and growth

One of my favourite development economists, Daron Acemoglu, has a new paper out. Acemoglu is generally of the view that a country’s level of wealth can be traced back to the country’s institutional development. In a fascinating earlier paper he argued that the institutions set up by European colonists are a major predictor of the […]