Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Debt

I'm often asked about the "problem" our debt represents. Below is a largely good video explaining who holds the debt and the "problem" it presents. One VERY important caveat. While the author gets the idea correct that what matters is publicly outstanding debt, since inter-government debt is merely a wash, he does not accurately address this same issue when talking about bonds as financial assets. Remember that a US government bond is an asset to the holder, but a liability to the tax payer. We care about our net position as tax payers. Also, from an economic perspective, bond holders and tax payers are not the same people, so there are distributional consequences to changes in the level of the debt. But with that said this might help somewhat.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Useful Posts

Here are a few posts that BUS 230 students should find useful over the coming weeks.

Nancy Duarte on "Creating Waves" in presentations.

Seth Godin on making graphs that work.

Garr Reynolds on the art of the "Focal Point" and the art of "Less" in presentation design.

And two on the value of data visualization. Here and here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Great Questions

Pulled from Marginal Revolution:
What will result from the intersection of two possible trends: insistence on a greater equality in health care outcomes, and the development of new technologies -- some at the genetic level for the individual -- which will lead to a greater inequality of health care outcomes?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sales Tax

The Tax Foundation has updated their data on state and local sales tax here.


More interesting discussion of the placebo effect. Side effects that change with the drug being tested? Here is a good explanation on the possible source:

So, was the "nocebo effect" really making people feel worse? It could well have been, although there are other interpretations. People might just be more willing to report symptoms that they believe are drug side effects. Researchers might be more likely to write them down. And different kinds of people end up in trials of different drugs . . . Nevertheless, there's an important lesson here. Anecdotal evidence about drug's side effects shouldn't be accepted at face value, any more than anecdotes about their benefits. Drugs do, of course, cause adverse effects. But some drugs have worse reputations than they deserve in this regard. In such cases, nocebo effects might account for some of the reported problems.

Pricing Bareback

A new take on the Levitt's prostitution paper.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Credit Scores

Credit Scores by email address. Google beats Yahoo.

Monday, October 12, 2009