Books

"An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"

Free--short--Principles text by Mathew Kahn, who has left UCLA for the University of Spoiled Children, that has an unusual approach:

. . . I still see an open niche here for a challenging e-book. Unlike other Principles books, this book will be “data driven”. I will present you with an empirical economics puzzle such as “why do men earn 22% more per hour than women”? I will then walk the reader through possible economic explanations for the fact but then we will go a step further. Often there will be several possible explanations for a given set of facts. I will challenge you to work with me to devise a new experiment for figuring out which explanation is right. In this sense, we will start with a set of facts.We will use economic logic to sketch out the set of possible explanations. We will then, because we are scientists, devise a new experiment for settling which of the explanations is right. The new experiment will generate new facts and the “correct theory” should both be able to explain the first fact and the new fact while the incorrect theories can explain the first fact but not the later facts.


"Poison Ivy: Not so much palaces of learning as bastions of privilege and hypocrisy"

Unexpectedly strong words from The Economist.

AMERICAN universities like to think of themselves as engines of social justice, thronging with “diversity”. But how much truth is there in this flattering self-image? AMERICAN universities like to think of themselves as engines of social justice, thronging with “diversity”. But how much truth is there in this flattering self-image? . . .

Mr Golden shows that elite universities do everything in their power to admit the children of privilege. If they cannot get them in through the front door by relaxing their standards, then they smuggle them in through the back. No less than 60% of the places in elite universities are given to candidates who have some sort of extra “hook”, from rich or alumni parents to “sporting prowess”. The number of whites who benefit from this affirmative action is far greater than the number of blacks.


"Why Carthage Failed and Rome Succeeded"

The author, a history professor at UVa, decries what he sees as modern political correctness applied to the history of the Roman Republic.

It is a symptom of the deplorable state of intellectual life today that readers of this magazine can guess the lineaments of the story told in Hannibal the instant they read early in its pages that classical Carthage, the city on whose behalf the great captain of the title fought against Rome, was "diverse" and "multicultural."


A distinguished Berkeley sociologist goes to Lake Charles, LA

. . . to try to figure out what the heck is wrong with those people. Big business has destroyed their health and crushed their dreams, and the federal government just wants to help, but they are Tea Partiers and don't support expanded government. What the hell?!

Here are two reviews of the book she has recently published. 

A friendly review: "What a liberal sociologist learned from spending five years in Trump's America".

A critical review (in the Washington Post): "A Berkeley sociologist made some tea party friends — and wrote a condescending book about them".

I haven't read the book, but the review in the Post sounds right.