In a recent column for The New York Times, economist Paul Krugman wrote about the ongoing effects of the Reagan era in the United States. In the opinion piece, he refers to an article written by fellow economist Austin Frakt, who dove into the increase of U.S. health spending from the 1980s. In most developed countries, Frakt writes, health spending coincides with the increase in life expectancy. However, for the US, things took a turn for the worse since the 1980s. Healthcare spending began soaring beyond that of other advanced nations, but without the same benefits in life expectancy. Krugman uses Frakt’s findings and uses them to paint a broader picture: he looks at inequality (by Gini coefficient), household debt relative to income soaring and party polarisation. Each of these categories worsened since the beginning of the 80s: inequality increased, household debt rose and political parties became more polarised. His hypothesis on how this happened?
“A good guess, surely, is that the whole story is connected with the rise of modern movement conservatism”, Krugman writes, “which brought with it unequalizing economic policies, retreat from antitrust, financial deregulation, and more.” (source)
A story in the New York Times on Friday shed light on the relationship between student debt and homeownership in the US. The amount of people under the age of thirty owning a home is hovering near a three decade low, according to statistics from the FED: only 35 percent of people younger than 35 own a home. According to census data, this is down from 41 percent in 1982. At the same time, the nation’s student loan bill has exploded to $1.4 trillion, surpassing credit cards to become the largest source of personal debt outside mortgages. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York researched this development and its conclusion suggests that student debt was responsible for up to 35 percent (again) of the decline in homeownership among people between the ages of 28 and 30 from 2007 to 2015. Moreover, the study says that, if the amount of student debt would’ve stayed at the level of 2001, more than 360,000 people in that age group would have owned a home in 2015. (source)
Amsterdam is drowning in tourists and (new) city dwellers. The city saw some 17 million tourists and (Dutch) visitors in 2016, up from 12 million in 2012. Some say the number of visitors could hit 30 million by 2025. And: every year 10,000 people move to the Dutch capital. The gif above, based on a video shot by photographer Thomas Slijper, shows crossing of the Kort Prinsengracht and the Haarlemmerstraat – about 5 minutes by foot from Amsterdam Central Station. Especially biking has become a balancing act. (source)
OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. Users of the app upload the data of their daily travels to OSM, and these roads show op the empty canvas. In 2006, this project started in Ireland, and as seen in the video above, roads lighten up the canvas and start to show the entirety of the island.
Many a true word is spoken in jest, they say. We feel we should not explain the joke above, but it would be interesting to find if there actually is truth to it, if there is a fundamental out-of-sync-ness between doing and funding research. Suggestions are much appreciated. (source)
Last week, the Dutch branch of Rethinking Economics published a study on the build-up of Dutch economics curricula (bachelor’s). Rethinking Economics is an international network of students, academics and professionals whose goal it is to diversify and renew contemporary economic thinking. The major conclusion this study draws is that Dutch economics education is dominated by the study of market mechanisms among rational, utility-maximising actors. This stems from the supremacy of neoclassical economics in Dutch economics education, with 86% of the theory course time assigned to that economic school. None of the other schools of economic thought have more than 4% of course time. Another area the study focuses on, as seen in the figures, is research methods. Rethinking Economics NL criticises the lack of qualitative analysis, and conclude that ‘students are effectively blinded by to all aspects of the economy which cannot be expressed in numbers’. Lastly, another big complaint is that three-quarters of the curriculum is dominated by abstract theory and methods, and not by real world economics. (source)
This graph, made and based in research by economists Annette Alstadsæter, Niels Johannesen, Gabriel Zucman, shows that in Scandinavian countries the top 1% – or even: the top 1% of the top 1% – manages to evade up to some 25% of the taxes owed, while the average is a mere 2.8%. The superrich can conceal their assets and income. These results are based audits conducted randomly by tax authorities and new data leaked, e.g. from HSBC Switzerland (the ‘Swiss leaks’). (source)
This visualization shows the population of Manhattan, block-by-block and hour-by-hour, throughout a typical week in late Spring – based on US Census data and a model of net inflows and outflows from subway stations. The visualisation was posted on Reddit by designer/programmer Justin Fung, and he made the whole tool and data available at manpopex.us. Monday to Wednesday seems to be the busiest and most dynamic. (source)
Yesterday, the CIES Football Observatory, a research group within the International Centre for Sports Studies, published a report on global football. The study focused on the amount of expatriates in global football. The figure above shows the results: Brazil is the most represented country in football, with football players playing in 78 out of 93 associations around the world. Both in Europe and Asia, Brazil leads the way in the amount of expatriates, but this is ironically not the case in the Americas, where Argentina has the most expatriates. With population size taken into account, the highest rate of expatriates per million of inhabitants was recorded for Iceland (180). This figure is above 100 only for one other association: Montenegro (134). It is also very high for double world champions Uruguay (96) and Croatia (80). Many other former Yugoslavian countries figure high in the table. According to the report, this reflects the outstanding training ability in this area, as well as the existence of well-established international transfer networks. (source)