Giving an outlet helps everybody

Tay Tay linked to an interesting paper. It’s on sex work and whether adult establishments increase crime.

From the paper:

We find that these businesses decrease sex crime by 13% per police precinct one week after the opening, and have no effect on other types of crimes. The results imply that the reduction is mostly driven by potential sex offenders frequenting these establishments rather than committing crimes.

It seems that giving a legal outlet cuts down on crime. Don’t have negative externalities other than our values. Can’t help but see a link to legalized weed.

They also write in the abstract:

We also rule out the possibility that other mechanisms are driving our results, such as an increase in the number of police officers, a reduction in the number of street prostitutes and a possible reduction in the number of potential victims in areas where these businesses opened. The effects are robust to using alternative measures of sex crimes.

What accounts for an adult establishment I hear you ask?

The New York State Department of State classifies adult entertainment establishments as businesses that regularly feature movies, photographs, or live performances that emphasize ”specified anatomical areas” or ”specified sexual activities” and excludes minors by reason of age. We define such businesses more narrowly, only considering four types – strip clubs, gentleman’s clubs, adult entertainers and escort girl services.

The italics are mine because it’s a funny sentence.

UFO follow up

A follow up discussion to the UFO post.

The interesting part is that as I wrote in my post – there is something here. Not little green men, but a bigger issue. Something is causing these things and we don’t know what they are.

Tyler Cowen also thinks we should take this seriously and writes about how markets might react.

Now that the Pentagon takes UFOs seriously, it’s perhaps appropriate to consider some more mundane aspects of the phenomenon — namely, what it means for markets. UFO data will probably remain murky and unresolved, but if UFOs of alien origin become somewhat more likely (starting, to be clear, from a low base rate), which prices will change?

Ezra Kleins take is also good.

One immediate effect, I suspect, would be a collapse in public trust. Decades of U.F.O. reports and conspiracies would take on a different cast. Governments would be seen as having withheld a profound truth from the public, whether or not they actually did. We already live in an age of conspiracy theories. Now the guardrails would truly shatter, because if U.F.O.s were real, despite decades of dismissals, who would remain trusted to say anything else was false? Certainly not the academics who’d laughed them off as nonsense, or the governments who would now be seen as liars.

This week in podcasts #4

The External Medicine Podcast — The Invisible Graveyard: A Conversation with Economist Alex Tabarrok

This episode is good. Alex goes further into his thinking on covid. He has been right all along and it took a year and then New York Times pointed it out too. We have some of the same blindspots that he highlights in Norway as well. When he talks about externalities we should listen.

Bruce Meyer on Poverty — EconTalk

A good look into poverty in America, both practical and academic. How many stay in poverty for long periods of time and how do you measure that? Are you poor if you have a TV?

The Breakdown – Revisiting Paul Tudor Jones’ ‘Great Monetary Inflation’ Thesis

If you are interested in crypto this one is fantastic. NLW breaks down Paul Tudor Jones’s paper The Great Monetary Inflation(link to PDF) which starts as follows:

The depth and magnitude of the economic drop-off took modern monetary theory—or the direct monetization of massive fiscal spending—from the theoretical to practice without any debate. It has happened globally with such speed that even a market veteran like myself was left speechless. Just since February, a global total of$3.9 trillion (6.6% of global GDP) has been magically created through quantitative easing. We are witnessing the Great Monetary Inflation (GMI)—an unprecedented expansion of every form of money, unlike anything the developed world has ever seen.

The podcast covers:

– The context and previous attitudes towards bitcoin of both authors of the letter
– The “Great Monetary Inflation” thesis driving a focus on stores of value
– How money supply growth compared to real economic output growth hasn’t been this out of sync since inflationary periods in the 1970s and 1980s
– The “Inflation Race” – a list of 8 potential inflation hedges
– The four categories by which a store of value can be judged: purchasing power, trustworthiness, liquidity, portability
– A ranked look at bitcoin, gold, fiat, and financial assets in the context of those four categories.

All-In – Wuhan lab leak theory, India’s “traceability” law, Coinbase’s fact check, Big Tech’s Hollywood takeover

This week’s All-In is interesting when they talk about Coinbase going the media house route. I’m planning on writing a collection piece on this later. The other intriguing aspect was the discussion around the value of content. Does a user care that Hollywood made $100 million when you can get great content for free on TicTok, YouTube et al.?

Breakdown – Cathie Wood on Where Bitcoin Fits in a World With Deflation Rather than Inflation

There is another episode of the Breakdown that was interesting. It’s an interview with Cathie Wood and y’all know I find her fascinating. She sees things differently and puts her money where her mouth is.

Modern Finance – Brave, The Privacy and Crypto-Friendly Browser with Brendan Eich

The last pod this week is an interview with Brendan Eich, founder of the Brave browser (good browser). He also invented JavaScript, he’s kinda a big deal. While it’s from a crypto podcast I would still recommend the episode to those who aren’t interested in crypto. Most of the way we work and innovate is browser-based, but always apps in the browser. We seldom look into the browser itself, they work. So how do you innovate in the space?

Conversations with Tyler – David Deutsch on Multiple Worlds and Our Place in Them

David is a weird cat, in the best way. He pushes back a lot which is nice, that never makes for a fluid conversation – but we don’t listen to Tay Tay for that.

This tread from Michael Nielsen is good. More after you click.

This week in podcasts #3

Longfrom – Katherine Eban

Kathrine has written about the Lab-leak story for Vanity Fair. The starting line is:

Throughout 2020, the notion that the novel coronavirus leaked from a lab was off-limits. Those who dared to push for transparency say toxic politics and hidden agendas kept us in the dark.

The episode is interesting since Evan also tried to write this story, so he asks great questions.

We Study Billionaires – The Psychology of Money w/ Morgan Housel

Worst name for a podcast, lets just get that out there. They have interesting guest though.

I read Morgans book and found it to be good. Its always great to use podcast interviews as a spaced repetition learning tool. A nice and easy way to refresh your knowledge on a book or a subject. The interview covers more than the book and I found it interesting.

One thing they talk about here and in the book which I was unaware of is that Benjamin Graham said that his book, The Intelligent Investor, had formulas that was out of date. Obviously the main philosophy of the book stands and its still required reading, but could use an update. Morgan also wrote about it here, worth a look.

The Knowledge Project – Matt Ridley: Infinite Innovation

Kinda the same as the one above. Loved the book from Matt Ridley on innovation. This convorsation goes over some of the book but also breaks new ground.

The TED Interview – The end of our 50-year stagnation, Tyler Cowen

Tay Tay talks to Chris about whats stirring in the world. How the Covid-19 vaccines is on par with the moon landing and other monumental achievements. I have to agree, as he wrote in October 2020:

[…]experts were saying that a Covid-19 vaccine would take four years or more. [..]Vaccine production has been turned upside down forever, induced by a crisis. It’s not obvious now, but later observers will look back on today as a time when biomedical progress was remarkably rapid.

Tyler for Bloomberg

Right now, June 21, the industrialized world is well underway in the vaccine programs. There is an end in sight. Imagine if the vaccines took the reported 4-5 years. We would have 3-4 years left of lockdowns, how many would die and suffer? It’s truly astonishing.

This week in podcasts #2

Access to Excellence Podcast – With Emergent Ventures, Tyler Cowen puts money where his mind is

Tay Tay talks to the president of GMU. Didn’t know that EM with its comparatively small endowment out-innovated Yale.

GOOD OL’ GRATEFUL DEADCAST – Workingman’s Dead 50, Episode 1: Uncle John’s Band

Took some time for me to start this one. But it’s all you want. Stories and info on how Workingman’s Dead was made.

Rationally Speaking Podcast – Intellectual honesty, cryptocurrency, & more (Vitalik Buterin)

Vitalik talks to Julia. Vitalik is in general society overlooked. Thiel fellow that made Ethereum.

All-in Pod – Apple’s hypocrisy, America’s math failure, crypto’s regulatory correction, Clubhouse’s future, UFOs & more

The Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan – Niall Ferguson On Disasters

Interesting how Niall views corona up-against other crises. Also nice to hear Niall and Andrew talk about the old Oxford days.

Niall Ferguson on Histories, Networks, and Catastrophes

Niall again on Mindscape. Talks more about his new book Doom here.

Economist Radio – Money Talks: Berkshire after Buffett

Short and sweet about Berkshire after Buffet

The Munk Debates Podcast – Be it resolved: Beethoven, not Mozart, is the world’s greatest composer

Munk Debates with an unusual one. Not really a debate to be won. The good part is hearing the debaters highlight their composers with flourishing language and a few musical pieces.

Performance pay and substance abuse

Using US panel data on young workers, we demonstrate that those who receive performance pay are more likely to consume alcohol and illicit drugs. Recognizing that this likely reflects worker sorting, we first control for risk, ability, and personality proxies. We further mitigate sorting concerns by introducing worker fixed effects, worker-employer match fixed effects, and worker-employer-occupation match fixed effects. Finally, we present fixed effect IV estimates. All of these estimates continue to indicate a greater likelihood of substance use when a worker receives performance pay. The results support conjectures that stress and effort increase with performance pay and that alcohol and drug use is a coping mechanism for workers.