Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Are the experts wrong?

A recent crop where experts might be wrong.....

1. On the small matter of world poverty and hunger, here.
2. On high speed rail links in the UK, Henry Overman as wise as ever.

And two papers are last week's Royal Economic Society Conference Economics of Religion Session:

3. Anti-Semitism: the most amazing correlation I have ever seen by Voitlander and Voth.
My take on the paper. There are many expert analyses of 1930s anti-Semitism based on variation in the treatment of Jews (expulsion, violence, voting etc.) across German cities in the 1930s (there was quite a lot of variation).  The analyses postulate causation via isolation of the city, fraction rural workers, fraction Protestant etc.  What do Voitlander and Voth do?  They look at the correlation with, wait for it, cross-city variation in the persecution of Jews during the Black Death, 1348-50, when in some cities Jews were blamed for the Plague and expelled or burnt.  Amazingly, there is a very strong correlation.

Update: a link here.

4.Another nice paper on occupational choice presented there too by Maristella Botticini†and Zvi Eckstein.