"Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking" - JMK
- The Nation reports on secret/corporate donors and their impact on liberal think tanks. This highlights the problem with soft-money research type organizations, where a lot of money is raised and put in an endowment or fund to push a broad research agenda. Although the constraints placed by competing for grants and contracts on doing the research you want to do can be frustrating, the advantage is that you avoid stuff like this. It can be useful to take the big pot 'o money (a technical term, of course) approach to financing research. Often research grants and contracts can't really focus on the interesting scientific question. But there are major risks as well, particularly when that's how the whole organization is financed.
- We have a demand problem, not a skills problem.
- Gene on Plato on radical ideologies.
- Bryan Caplan has an interesting discussion of IVs. My skepticism of IVs should be familiar to most readers here. I have a comment on the post that repeats the skepticism. They persist because the problem that motivates IVs is very real and it's substantial. The way to proceed, I think, is (1.) to be more critical of IV choices, (2.) to look for discontinuities and natural experiments that provide a much clearer identification of the model, and (3.) to look at a lot of different studies - think of any given IV more as a sensitivity analysis than a solution to an endogeneity problem.
- Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong on Charles Lane.