Monthly Archives: December 2019

The Legacy of Aaron Swartz: The Fight for Open Access

December 23, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about Aaron Swartz. Swartz was an internet pioneer who, in his teens and early 20s, made huge contributions to computer culture. Among other things, Swartz helped develop RSS (which organizes web feeds), Markdown (a simple language for … Read More

What If Scientific Impact Could Be Negative?

December 16, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. Scientists live and die by their scientific ‘impact’. For the uninitiated, ‘impact’ is a measure of a scientist’s contribution to their field. While there are many measures of scientific impact, almost all of them focus (in some way) on citations. So if more people cite your papers, … Read More

Bichler and Nitzan, ‘Making America Great Again’

December 11, 2019

ABSTRACT Trump has promised to Make America Great Again. As a self-proclaimed expert on everything of import, he knows exactly how to increase domestic investment and consumption, boost exports, reduce the country’s trade deficit, expand employment and bolster wages. And as America’s leader-and-policymaker-in-chief, he has taken the necessary steps to achieve every one of these … Read More

Fix, ‘An Evolutionary Theory of Resource Distribution’

December 9, 2019

ABSTRACT This paper explores how the evolution of human sociality can help us understand how we distribute resources. Using ideas from sociobiology, I argue that resource distribution is marked by a tension between two levels of natural selection. At the group level, selfless behavior is advantageous. But at the individual level, selfish behavior is advantageous. … Read More

Fix, ‘Personal Income and Hierarchical Power’

December 9, 2019

ABSTRACT This article examines the relation between personal income and hierarchical power. In the context of a firm hierarchy, I define hierarchical power as the number of subordinates under an individual’s control. Using the available case-study evidence, I find that relative income within firms scales strongly with hierarchical power. I also find that hierarchical power … Read More

Are We Measuring Inequality the Wrong Way?

December 9, 2019

Originally published on Economics from the Top Down. In a recent blog post called “How Not to Measure Inequality”, the anthropologist Jason Hickel argues that economists measure inequality the wrong way. Hickel thinks that standard measures of inequality (such as the Gini index), underestimate global disparities. The problem, according to Hickel, is that economists measure … Read More