Friday, October 31, 2008

Venice Architecture Biennale 2008

Here's a video report by Monocle on Venice Architecture Biennale 2008. Part I and Part II.

Although the report is critical of the Biennale, judging from the video, it seems to me much more interesting than Venice Art Biennale 2007, which I visited.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Impact of Successful Assassinations on Political Regime and Wars

My memory has been weakening recently. As an attempt to remedy this, I'll start writing down on this blog what I learn from reading papers, books, news media, etc.

Empirical findings from Jones and Olken (2008) "Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War":

When an assassination is attempted against the national leader...

1. If the dictator is killed, democratization is likely to follow.

2. It does not matter for subsequent political regime change if a leader in democracy is killed.

3. If the leader facing a small-scale war (less than 1000 battle-related death per year) is killed, the war is likely to be intensified.

4. It does not matter for the onset of a war whether the leader is killed.

5. If the leader facing a large-scale war (1000 deaths or more per year) is killed, the war is likely to be terminated.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A source of great research ideas in economics

I've decided to get this blog back in operation. But each post will be brief.

Reading Chris Blattman's blog for the first time in weeks reminds me of an important tip for applied economists. Hal Varian says, "Look for ideas in the world, not in the journals." Ray Fisman says, "I always tell graduate students that if they want innovative thesis ideas, to read the newspaper, not the economics literature. ... You usually don’t get exciting new research ideas while reading Econometrica."

I almost forgot this important tip. At least, when you think about building a model, the kind of assumptions you want to make should be what you have learned from world events, not from academic papers in economics.

And this reminder seems to have an immediate impact on my research today.

Friday, October 17, 2008

FT on rating agencies

A very good article from FT magazine on one of the causes of the current world financial crisis.