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Showing posts from February, 2011

The economics zeitgeist, 27 February 2011

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This week's word cloud from the economics blogs. I generate a new one every Sunday, so please subscribe using RSS or the email box on the right and you'll get a message every week with the new cloud.

Back to normal this week - we seem to have successfully connected to most of the blogs as usual. The words moving up and down the chart are listed here, but be aware that since last week's list is not representative, this week's moves are also unusual. Next week will be back to normal.

I summarise around four hundred blogs through their RSS feeds. Thanks in particular to the Palgrave Econolog who have an excellent database of economics blogs; I have also added a number of blogs that are not on their list. Contact me if you'd like to make sure yours is included too.
I use Wordle to generate the image, the ROME RSS reader to download the RSS feeds, and Java software from Inon to process the data.
You can also see the Java version in the Wordle gallery.
If anyone would like…

Behavioural economics of paywalls #paywalls11

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I couldn't make it to Paywall Strategies 2011 today, but it's a subject that's very interesting to me so I thought it was a good time to write about it. The whole question of paying for online news - and other information - combines two of my main research areas. First, it's all about pricing, and one of the most interesting and important new phenomena in pricing at that. And second, because the argument can only be resolved with a deep understanding of cognitive incentives (and disincentives).

In fact, the area of micropayments was one of the earliest case studies I considered when getting into the pricing world several years ago. It's one of the clearest departures from conventional supply and demand dynamics. Here's an example:

13% of people say they would be willing to pay for content online. And yet only 4% do. Why the gap? Yes, there's always a difference between what people say they'll do, and what they actually do. But from experience with other p…

The economics zeitgeist, 20 February 2011

Image
This week's word cloud from the economics blogs. I generate a new one every Sunday, so please subscribe using RSS or the email box on the right and you'll get a message every week with the new cloud.

Bit of an unusual one this week - we have a new server and the software is much stricter about XML validation, so lots of the blogs aren't currently coming through in our feed. So our data set is much smaller and looks unrepresentative. So take "production" and "oil" with a pinch of salt. Anyway, the words moving up and down the chart are listed here.

I summarise around four hundred blogs through their RSS feeds. Thanks in particular to the Palgrave Econolog who have an excellent database of economics blogs; I have also added a number of blogs that are not on their list. Contact me if you'd like to make sure yours is included too.
I use Wordle to generate the image, the ROME RSS reader to download the RSS feeds, and Java software from Inon to process the…

Unsubstantiated assertions

I should have known better than to read this article by Joss Garman of Greenpeace (Obama's new fear is a cleaned-up China), but having done so I need to respond to this point:
In Cancun, European leaders were often left on the sidelines, with little new to offer beyond their 20% emission cut, agreed in 2008. This carbon target is now insufficient to make Europe a player in the clean tech markets – a 30% target is the minimum needed to drive private sector investment into the sector.This assertion seems to be supported by no evidence whatever. Why would a 20% emissions cut not be enough to drive private investment in green tech, but a 30% cut would? For that matter, why would Europe's emissions targets even be a major influence on private investment - presumably if there's a market in the US and China, European companies will still want to capture a share of it?

After 19 years on the Internet, I shouldn't be all that outraged that someone published an unsubstantiated opi…

The economics zeitgeist, 13 February 2011

Image
This week's word cloud from the economics blogs. I generate a new one every Sunday, so please subscribe using RSS or the email box on the right and you'll get a message every week with the new cloud.

The words moving up and down the chart are listed here.
I summarise around four hundred blogs through their RSS feeds. Thanks in particular to the Palgrave Econolog who have an excellent database of economics blogs; I have also added a number of blogs that are not on their list. Contact me if you'd like to make sure yours is included too.
I use Wordle to generate the image, the ROME RSS reader to download the RSS feeds, and Java software from Inon to process the data.
You can also see the Java version in the Wordle gallery.
If anyone would like a copy of the underlying data used to generate these clouds, or if you would like to see a version with consistent colour and typeface to make week-to-week comparison easier, please get in touch.

The economics zeitgeist, 6 February 2011

Image
This week's word cloud from the economics blogs. I generate a new one every Sunday, so please subscribe using RSS or the email box on the right and you'll get a message every week with the new cloud.

The words moving up and down the chart are listed here.
I summarise around four hundred blogs through their RSS feeds. Thanks in particular to the Palgrave Econolog who have an excellent database of economics blogs; I have also added a number of blogs that are not on their list. Contact me if you'd like to make sure yours is included too.
I use Wordle to generate the image, the ROME RSS reader to download the RSS feeds, and Java software from Inon to process the data.
You can also see the Java version in the Wordle gallery.
If anyone would like a copy of the underlying data used to generate these clouds, or if you would like to see a version with consistent colour and typeface to make week-to-week comparison easier, please get in touch.

Turbulence ahead, and externality entrepreneurs

I have just remembered to link to Turbulence Ahead, the blog of Gerard O'Neill, who spoke on a panel with me last year at the Geary Institute.

His latest post has a nice quote from Sean Corrigan:
"...prosperity cannot be forced, but must be built one exchange at a time as individuals further their own self-interest by catering to the interests of others..."Corrigan intends this as an argument for his Austrian, laissez-faire philosophy. And it does support that case. But when we think about it a little more deeply, it also illuminates a different view.

The quote hints at, but perhaps underplays, the role of the entrepreneur. Presumably each consumer knows about a certain range of available goods, and they are already choosing whichever subset is best for them (I'd usually insert a critique about economic rationality here, but this time I'll leave that alone and make a different point). Given this starting point, in order to get economic growth we need one of two th…

National Rail oops

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Oops. I have just tried to check out some train times on the National Rail website. Seems they have been doing some maintenance and deployed something slightly wrong to the live server. As soon as I try to enter the station I'm going from...

This makes it ever so slightly impossible to use the site.
Of course, anyone who's written a web app has done this at some time, but it's very reassuring to see one of the busiest sites in the UK making the same mistake. And the best thing is the smug feeling of knowing exactly what they have just done and why it happened. Maybe my web development days are not entirely behind me...