Theory and replication

Economics studies tend to replicate at a higher rate than psychology studies. Why? One possibility is that economics has a more unified theoretical framework to help guide researchers toward hypotheses that are more likely true, whereas theories in psychology are numerous and not well integrated. Joseph Henrich has made this argument, and wants psychology to …

The politics of diffusion

Last post I pointed to a study noting the huge costs of delaying the spread of beneficial technologies. But I ended by adding a caveat: When the rapid spread of a technology makes it harder to regulate (broadly construed) that potentially strengthens the case for moving slower. So what does that look like? And how …

The benefits of tech adoption

Dylan Matthews has a good column in Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter (can’t find a link) that gets at something I’ve been thinking about a lot: the potentially large, but unseen costs of slowing the spread of useful technologies. He’s writing about a new paper estimating the benefits of the Green Revolution: The [Green Revolution] was …

The innovation agenda

Ezra Klein has a column about the coronavirus agenda of economist Alex Tabarrok: Here’s a question I’ve been mulling in recent months: Is Alex Tabarrok right? Are people dying because our coronavirus response is far too conservative? I don’t mean conservative in the politicized, left-right sense. Tabarrok, an economist at George Mason University and a …

Loss aversion and politics

I was thinking this week about political economy and status quo bias, specifically how cognitive biases could fit into Mancur Olson-style models of bargaining. Well, there is a literature on everything, per Cowen’s second law, and sure enough here’s a paper by Alberto Alesina and Francesca Passarelli on loss aversion in politics. Here are some …