Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Expected Effects of the Public Option and Mandated Coverage on Health Insurance Premiums and Total Medical Expenditures

I wrote a short paper for my Health Econ class, and for kicks put it up on Google Docs. I'd love to get your feedback on The Expected Effects of the Public Option and Mandated Coverage on Health Insurance Premiums and Total Medical Expenditures.

Don't be intimidated by the title—it's almost as long as the paper itself. :-)

Update: FWIW I've also posted the paper in its entirety to my other blog here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last regular-season game, er, exam tomorrow

The end of the semester (and quarter, and year) always gets busy and this time is no exception.

My third macro exam is tomorrow. Then I have a health econ paper due, then the health final exam. Plus another macro quiz and final somewhere in there, if I decide to take them.

I also have some super-exciting yet time-consuming stuff going on at work, and of course Thanksgiving, Christmas, and two kids' birthdays in the next few weeks.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Skidelsky on the Treason of the Economists

Robert Skidelsky is nothing if not quotable. From his column last April, The Treason of the Economists:

Most of today’s crop of economists are not defunct, but continue to work in the ideological vicinity of Chicago. Their assumptions should be ruthlessly exposed, for they have come close to destroying our world.

I've added his most recent book Keynes: The Return of the Master to my Amazon wish list. :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Econometrics to be required

The economics department just sent out an email noting changes to the 2010-2012 catalog. Most notably, all economics majors will be required to take Econometrics (ECO 341K), which "introduces the student to standard regression procedures of parameter estimation and hypothesis testing in economics."

I won't be declaring the new catalog, but I'll take 341K anyway. I can't imagine studying economics without any exposure to econometrics.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pre-commitment is for chumps

In my macro class we get to drop a quiz and a test (including the final), so assuming you've done well you can skip the last quiz and the final, and in fact the entire class after the Thanksgiving break.

Despite Dr. Sadler's pleas that no one actually do this it's tempting, especially for time-constrained students facing a full slate of final exams. However, I'm there not only for the grade but also for the knowledge, so I'll attend the last two weeks of class even if I don't get credit for it. I think.

The penultimate quiz is today, and it occurs to me that I could pre-commit myself to attending the post-Thanksgiving classes by skipping today's quiz. That way I'd have to take the last quiz on December 2 or risk a B in the class. Similarly I could pre-commit to studying hard for the final by skipping the next exam.

But I'm not going to skip either one. I'm fairly confident that I'll attend the classes and study for the final even if I'm not forced to, so the marginal benefit of pre-commitment is limited. Plus, skipping the quiz, the exam, or both would force me to put all of my eggs in fewer baskets, increasing the risk that I'd fail to get an A in the class. The risk simply outweighs the reward.

Also, pre-commitment is for chumps.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A dissenting view on specialization

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

—Heinlein, refuting Ricardo, in Time Enough for Love

I'm not THAT lazy

I like paying my bills online as much as the next guy, but this one I think I'll pay in person.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Health Insurance Sausage Factory

There's a new blog, written pseudonymously, called The Health Insurance Sausage Factory. Looks substantive.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to recover from a stall

If I'm going to republish disheartening charts I should give equal time to the heartening ones, like this one from Paul Krugman comparing world industrial production during the Great Depression and the recent Great Recession:


As any pilot knows, you recover from a stall by pushing forward on the stick, not pulling back, counterintuitive as that may be. Glad we've figured that out.

My, what pretty graphs you have

For drawing pretty graphs like these, OmniGraphSketcher is the bee's knees. Mac-only. $19.95 after educational discount. Highly recommended for econ students.



Monday, November 2, 2009