Friday, December 19, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I just discovered free video lectures on the Internet. While covering a wide variety of disciplines i am concentrating and linking to the economics lectures. I started watching Mark Thoma's Introduction to Econometric Lectures from Winter 2008 (University of Oregon). [His class web page is here and he blogs here.]
I think the lectures at freevideolectures could be very useful for many to brush up on something or learn it from scratch. Perhaps some of these could be linked from professor's course syllabuses.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I am still playing with the data from the WSJ in my previous post. Letting D2008 and D2004 be the gap between the democrat and republician, and pctinc and pcthouse be the percentage change in income and house prices (all of this by state) I get no significance for pcthouse if I control for D2004 and I do get significance if I only control for whether the state was a bluestate.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I was moved to post, but it was late, so...
This morning Greg has modified his post since: "The presidential transition website to which I linked above no longer uses the word 'require.' The passage quoted above was copied and pasted from that website (with bolding added by me). But within a few hours after I posted it here, the wording changed to "setting a goal."I am delighted to see this blog having so much influence on the policies of the new administration. That's change I can believe in!"
I hope bloggers do continue to have influence when this positive. What at first struck me about the posting on the Obama website was that this was the kind of economic policy change that can not help the overall economy. I have been troubled by the constant statements from the campaign (and I suspect still) that the way to grow an economy is from the bottom up.
I suspect we are in for a lot of these kind of proposals.
Friday, November 07, 2008
See the article from the WSJ
For more information on this great resource go to the TED webpage.
And thanks to Steve Greenlaw for leading me to this resource via his presentation on Engaging the Next Generation to be given to faculty at Manchester College in Indiana. He makes some excellent points about Web 2.0 methods that can really help in the classroom.
While You Were Voting: FCC Frees Up The White Spaces
While the country fixated on the historic presidential election on Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) quietly expanded the use of unused airwaves, or "white spaces." The move, one which EDUCAUSE has supported for several years now, will free up this high quality spectrum for unlicensed uses such as WiFi. The white space issue has become increasingly important as the national transition from analog to digital television wraps up in February 2009.
Supporters, including Microsoft and Google, said freeing white spaces would allow for greater innovation in wireless technologies and provide better access to consumers. However, some expressed concern that usage of the spectrum would create interference with wireless microphones. Churches, Broadway producers, and the Walt Disney Company opposed the measure, arguing that there would be interference in church sermons, live musical performances, and university lectures. The FCC, though, says they conducted tests and could not prove there was any interference.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
From: Economist.com <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2008 14:15:34 -0500
Subject: From the desk of John Micklethwait, Editor - 6th November 2008
This was a remarkable week for America. In our cover leader we celebrate Barack Obama's famous victory but we also worry about the unreasonably great expectations of his supporters and the outside world. The president-elect should use the next ten weeks to recalibrate people's hopesand also to send a clear message that he will govern from the centre of American politics.
Here are some other pieces from this week's issue you might also be interested in. You can click straight through to each one and read it online at Economist.com using the links below.
Editor in Chief
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS:
Nanotechnology and cancer
How treatments could be delivered by clever nanoparticles
The end of the fiesta
A 14-page special report on Spain, still one of Europe's success stories
A green New Deal
Sometimes the easy answer is the wrong one
In defence of credit-default swaps
The case for an unloved derivative
Don't expand Heathrow
Enlarging the world's busiest airport does not make sense
Highlights from this week's edition of The Economist
Subscribers have free access to all content on Economist.com
America's election | The challenges facing Barack Obama | Spain's morning after | Treating cancer with nanoparticles | Expanding Heathrow | The charm of big cities | Clean technology in the downturn | In defence of credit-default swaps | Dmitry Medvedev speaks to the nation | Brazil's economy and its banks | The worsening crisis in Congo | Taiwan and China boost economic links | Putting Patty Hearst in context | Studs Terkel, recorder of America's voices
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
For me, the political world has taken center stage. I can not believe our choices this time and the risks to the economy if either win, however, the risks of the democrats to the economy are higher than I can ever remember. Capitalism is under full attack and siege. GDP down only .3 today (not a permalink).
The consensus forecast was -.5% and this from briefing.com:
"This has not been a recession - yet. Third quarter real GDP will be near flat. Regardless of whether it is a slight increase, as we expect, or a slight decline, the fact remains that the US economy has been far stronger than generally perceived. This has been due in large part to strong exports and a resilient consumer. Gas prices, home prices, and higher unemployment didn't lead to a recession in the first three quarters of 2008. Of course, everyone knows that it "feels like a recession." This is in part because the stock market is down, and it is often taken as an indicator of the economy (even more so than GDP). GDP is also now likely to support the recession argument. We expect fourth quarter real GDP to decline. The outlook into 2009 is for a sluggish economy at best, but the specifics depend highly on how well the liquidity crisis on Wall Street is addressed. That remains highly uncertain."
The uncertainty now is political. Don Boudreau, asks today in the Christian Science Monitor "Is Barack Obama really a socialist? (subtitled) Not exactly, but his 'socialist-lite' policies should still be cause for concern." This is a well written thoughful presentation at a time we should be paying attention to this.
I caught wind of Boudreau's letter to the editor in a blog presentation by Arnold Kling called Subtile Wisdom.
"To many people, the fundamental conflict in the economy is between the behavior of individuals (selfish, irrational) and the greater good. Shifting power from markets to government represents a move toward the greater good. (But) ... individual political leaders have less knowledge than is aggregated by markets. They face perverse incentives. And they pervert the incentives of others. Witness today's economy, in which everyone is asking not how they can create wealth but how they can get their share of a bailout."
Wasn't it President Kennedy that proclaimed: "Ask not what your country can do for you...?"
What I left out of Arnold Kling's words above in order to highlight them is his reference to the Masonomist position (worth reading). The George Mason school of thought is incredibly important today and in this election. Here is why. Take the words of Professor Kling to heart...
"At the University of Chicago, economists lean to the right of the economics profession. They are known for saying, in effect, 'Markets work well. Use the market.'
"At MIT and other bastions of mainstream economics, most economists are to the left of center but to the right of the academic community as a whole. These economists are known for saying, in effect, 'Markets fail. Use government.'
"Masonomics says, 'Markets fail. Use markets.' ... Masonomics worries much more about government failure than market failure. Governments do not face competitive pressure. They are immune from the "creative destruction" of entrepreneurial innovation. In the market, ineffective firms go out of business. In government, ineffective programs develop powerful constituent groups with a stake in their perpetuation."
"Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it." Will Rodgers.
"Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." Ronald Reagan
"Man is not free unless government is limited." Ronald Reagan
Friday, October 17, 2008
This is on Sean Flynn's web site: Learn-Economics.com which is the companion to his Economics for Dummies book. Check out the last three chapters in particular. Never thought I would buy a ...for dummies book, but I may head out and get this one.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Today I marked up documents my students had submitted to their dropbox. I used the pen feature on my HP tablet PC. My plan was to send the papers back to my students using the Feedback feature in dropbox. However, when I later checked on those files going back to my students I found that for some of the documents my markings had slipped down on the document and therefore made no sense. My editing marks were not in the right place on the document. I'm not sure but I believe the problem was with files that were in Word 2007 (docx). I am using Word 2007 but I have noticed that the pen feature does not work the same on 2007 as it does on 2003. In fact my pen seems to work a lot better in 2003 than it does in 2007. Has anyone else run into this problem and, if so, do you know of a solution?
The problem is the way Word formats and treats annotations versus text formatting. You can usually see this by marking up a Word document (2003 and 2008) and then going back to the beginning of the Word document and adding text -- usually the annotations move.
What is the best work around? Well there are two, one free and one that will cost about $30 (for academics).
The free solution. Retrieve and open the word file from the drop box. Then select File/Print and select the printer called Journal Note Writer. This will copy the word file to Microsoft Journal and allow you to use your pen and annotate the document on each and every page. When finished you must print the Journal file to pdf (using Adobe Acrobat Pro) or supply the students with the free MS Journal Reader (click here for the web page) so they can read the files. This requires the students to be genuine MS Windows users.
The best solution and the one I use is Bluebeam PDF Revu. This will cost about $30 for an educational discount pricing and is the best $s I have spent on software since my Sudoku download to my phone (thanks Astraware.com). Bluebeam Revu will allow you to annotate the word documents (or any other document and save and return to the students in a pdf format that everyone can read if they have Acrobat Reader.
Why not use Adobe Acrobat Professional and then how does one use Bluebeam Revu?
Adobe Acrobat Professional has terrible ink annotation tools, but you are welcome to prove that to yourself if you already have it. Adobe Acrobat Professional is also expensive. Even the on campus discount price is many multiples of the Bluebeam PDF Revu Educational Discount Price. See a video of Bluebeam.com's reason here (The Acrobat Alternative). Full disclosure-- Bluebeam.com has chosen to highlight my review on one of their pages, but it was not compensated. Perhaps this professor's review was ... click here for his electronic grading solution.
To use Bluebeam PDF Revu, open the document (Word, Excel, ... anything) you want to mark up. Then open the document as a pdf file using the printer 'Bluebeam pdf" which is installed with the installation. That is, if you have a Word document open, select File/Print from the menu, choose the "Bluebeam pdf" printer and the word document will be saved to pdf and opened in the Bluebeam Revu product. The pen annotations in Bluebeam's product are excellent and will allow you to grade the paper and save the annotations in a pdf file that all the students can read.
Information on Bluebeam PDF Revu:
If you like it, then buy your license here for $30. You get two seats (one for your work computer and one for your home). Buy the standard edition unless you use CAD software.
I presented how to grade with a Tablet PC at the 2008 CELT (see here for the full presentation -- choose the first presentation under CELT 2008) and blogged about it (actually did a review of Bluebeam on October 2007 (here)).
Let me know if this helps or if you agree or disagree with this electronic grading fix.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Thanks for the tool Bill.
The relationship is pretty intruguing. But I wonder whether he has captured the entire story. What about that elusive third factor that drives both? What about the amount of time 'recession' occurs in the old media, how many times by politicians. There appear to be two reversals around 9/14/07 and 10/26/07 -- are these correlated with major events or stories? I had just blogged about a great data problem for student econometricians and I think this one is even better. Again this one could be loosed on students for a PBL exercise and I just may.Aaron goes on to posit a relationship and I wonder if the relationship has trend or drift. Facinating stuff. Thanks Aaron.
Friday, January 18, 2008
What does this attached graphic tell you... intriguing anomaly or danger sign?
This graphic shows a huge run-up in the PPI and an increasing volatility. What is the underlying cause of this increasing volatility? Does this portray the normal functions of markets? Is it unstable? Perhaps the source is oil. Maybe it is rare metals. One possible source is in the agriculture sector:
"Continued speculation and skyrocketing commodity prices also threaten the business of agriculture. We've got all the makings for the destruction of the marketplace here." Rich Sauder, manager of the Tremont Cooperative Grain Company, says this as reported in
Commodity prices in 'Star Trek' land (January 15, 2008) by Steve Tarter
of the Journal Star (PEORIA).
I thing the graph holds a terrific problem for economic students. This will exercise their inductive powers and how they might solve the problem. This could be a nice authentic problem for some team based learning from the lowest level of classes to graduate students in time-series econometrics.
The data are from economagic.com. This great resource offers free access for economics instructors. (click here for the graph shown above)
Using a blog in class is potentially a great use of technology and there are other examples of this. Steve Greenlaw has actively used his blog (and later a wiki) to support his class. (see here and here) Greg Mankiw uses his blog to keep in touch with his current and former students. (The fact that it is ranked 3rd among all economics blogs is just a bonus for all of us). I have reflected on a problem based learning experience in my econometrics class in this blog.
Steve Greenlaw gave a presentation at Cambridge University last year called Augmenting Teaching and Learning With Social Software which is available as an online paper and a blog to support the presentation. Seeing what is possible with Web2.0 software for teaching economics is fun to watch and I encourage others to try.
I wonder how students take to blogs and how important they really are to the teaching and learning process for them. It is clearly important to many professors. As with many uses of technology the measurement of learning is very difficult. My mantra is always not to use technology unless you enhance student learning or you make professors or students time more efficient. I think the key is really whether students engage more with social software (blogs included) and thereby provide for deeper learning.
Last week I attended a lecture by Don Tapscott on his book Wikinomics. He focuses on the corporation in the wiki world, but he made a comment that he could have been talking about higher education. My mind started racing towards whether his four drivers (1) Web2.0, (2) The Net Generation. (3) The (online) Social Revolution and (4) The Economic Revolution couldn't be applied towards higher education and in particular to the teaching of economics. My head is still swimming on this so perhaps I will post some thoughts soon.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
At the AEA poster session, Dirk Mateer, Penn State University, showcased his you tube site "Teaching Economics With You Tube." At the conference, just days ago, he had 20 subscribers, as of today he has 34 and 1,900 views. I highly support this site and hope that many others add to it or provide links to their video content as well.
"Teaching with You Tube: An Economist's Guide to Free Web-Based Content"
AEA/CEE Poster Session, Janyary 5, 2008 (G. Dirk Mateer)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
From their webpage: Last October, readers of The Economist selected three education-related propositions for debate:
- The first proposition, "The continuing introduction of new technologies and new media adds little to the quality of most education", was rigorously debated and OPPOSED.
- The second, "Governments and universities everywhere should compete to attract qualified students, regardless of nationality or residence", was overwhelmingly ACCEPTED.
- Now we address the final proposition: "Social Networking: does it bring positive change to education?"
Your comments shape the debate and your votes decide the winner
Monday, January 07, 2008
This paper has three goals: (1) to describe the general guidelines for programmatic assessment, (2) to describe our experience in requiring our majors to meet the Hansen Proficiencies and (3) to report results of a national survey of economics program assessment.
Sixty five percent of 208 economics department chairs report that they have a formal assessment plan for their economic program. Our survey results suggest strong confirmation for the actual stated Hansen proficiencies in the discipline, but not necessarily a strong awareness of the work of Hansen.