Monday, April 18, 2005

Quality OK, Delivery No

Last week Faisal Basri and I joined a team visiting four export-oriented factories. It seems to me that our low competitiveness is not due to bad quality, nor it is on technology. It is because inefficiency in delivery. Among all, the most problematic culprit is transportation infrastructure. The trucks with containers from these factories have to waste several hours every day dealing with traffic jam and long queues in toll way gates and port gate. Once they enter the port, they have to fill in several documents, many of which are not required by laws, but by "convention". In addition, the corporate income tax return takes so long a time it hinders the cash flows of those firms.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Is potato Giffen?

Samuelson says yes.
Varian doubts it ("Samuelson reads too much Marx").
Statsny says it depends.
Rosen writes in JPE.

I'd say just call the whole thing off.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


The blogosphere welcomes Steven D. Levitt who is named "the most brilliant young economist in America" by the New York Times. [via Marginal Revolution].

Friday, April 01, 2005

Klein answers Thaler-Sunstein

As you might have noticed, I mentioned the Thaler-Sunstein "theory" on "libertarian paternalism" many times already (here and here are examples). I think it's a good paper, but at the same time, the term "libertarian paternalism" sounds like an oxymoron -- even though Thaler and Sunstein denounce it. Now comes a rebuttal from Daniel Klein. Klein accuses Thaler and Sunstein to confuse the terms libertarianism and paternalism (and the "oxymoronic gimmick", henceforth) with benevolence. The dessert placement in TS paper, arues Klein, has nothing to do with libertarianism or paternalism -- it is a mere benevolence. Klein goes on to take Thaler-Sunstein way of argument so as to fit with whatever: libertarian socialism, libertarian communism, libertarian dirigisme (sic!), or libertarian repression. To Klein, paternalism involves coercion. And that is where it is diametrical to libertarianism -- hence "libertarian paternalism" is non-existent.

My take: It is tempting to then replace the l-p with "benevolence" and that would fit the examples in T-S paper. But, I would have asked Klein, what should we call government planning endorsed by the house of representatives?
Looking forward to T-S's reply. Or better yet, some words from the rhetoric expert, Dee McCloskey.