“What if the conventional account of the Haymarket protest and trial are wrong? The February 11 issue of National Review has an interesting article by John Miller on the scholarship of Timothy Messer-Kruse, author of two books (The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists: Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age and The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks) that challenge the dominant Haymarket narrative. Specifically, Messer-Kruse’s research questions whether the initial protests were peaceful, documents links between the protesters and violent anarchist networks, and — perhaps most importantly — shows that they were not railroaded by the state. Late 19th century justice would not pass muster under today’s standards, but — given the standard of the time — the Haymarket protesters received a fair trial. Prosecutors presented extensive evidence against them during the six-week trial, including forensic evidence that the allegedly peaceful anarchists were, in fact, responsible for the initial bombing.”
-Jonathan H. Adler, “Haymarket Revisited.” I’m sitting about a quarter mile from where the bombing occurred as I type this.
“The problem is that the discussions of sunk cost often seem to become normative: the reader is being told he ought not to worry about sunk costs. But how does one fit that in with subjectivism?”
-Gene Callahan, “Sunk Costs and Subjectivism.” Taleb has a line somewhere in The Black Swan where he says that it is good when economists get out of the business of description and get in the business of prescription. That’s a reason why I think it’s a good thing for informing people they are being stupid for caring about sunk costs. But it’s also why I tell people they should shop more at Walmart, so take that with a grain of salt.
“Abstract. The answer in a nutshell is: yes, five years ago, but nobody has noticed. Nobody has noticed because the majority of social scientists subscribe to one of the following views: (1) the ‘anomalous’ behaviour observed in standard prisoner’s dilemma or ultimatum game experiments has refuted standard game theory a long time ago; (2) game theory is flexible enough to accommodate any observed behaviour by ‘refining’ players’ preferences; or (3) it is just a piece of pure mathematics (a tautology). None of these views is correct. This paper defends the view that game theory as commonly understood is not a tautology, that it suffers from important (albeit very recently discovered) empirical anomalies, and that it is not flexible enough to accommodate all the anomalies in its theoretical framework. In particular it cannot accommodate the existing evidence about reciprocal behaviour in many classic game-theoretic contexts. I conclude trying to explain why it took so long for experimental game theorists to design experiments that could adequately test the theory.”
-Francesco Guala, “Has Game Theory Been Refuted?“
“We review the burgeoning literature on the employment eﬀects of minimum wages – in the United States and in other countries – that was spurred by the new minimum wage research beginning in the early 1990s. Our review indicates that there is a wide range of existing estimates and, accordingly, a lack of consensus about the overall eﬀects on low-wage employment of an increase in the minimum wage. However, the oft-stated assertion that recent research fails to support the conclusion that the minimum wage reduces employment of low-skilled workers is clearly incorrect. A sizable majority of the studies surveyed in this monograph give a relatively consistent (although not always statistically signiﬁcant) indication of negative employment eﬀects of minimum wages. In addition, among the papers we view as providing the most credible evidence, almost all point to negative employment eﬀects, both for the United States as well as for many other countries. Two other important conclusions emerge from our review. First, we see very few – if any – studies that provide convincing evidence of positive employment eﬀects of minimum wages, especially from those studies that focus on the broader groups (rather than a narrow industry) for which the competitive model generally predicts disemployment eﬀects. Second, the studies that focus on the least-skilled groups that are likely most directly aﬀected by minimum wage increases provide relatively overwhelming evidence of stronger disemployment eﬀects for these groups.”
-David Neumark and William L. Wascher, “Minimum Wages and Employment,” via E. Frank Stephenson.