Politics Roundtable

Politics Roundtable

Political blogs of interest to economists.

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Social Policy Bond Blog


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675654
'People say that problems cannot be solved by the use of force, that violence, as the saying goes, is not the answer.' So writes Benjamin Ginsburg:

That adage appeals to our moral sensibilities. But whether or not violence is the answer depends on the question ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675655
Toby Eccles earlier this year asked why uptake of Social Impact Bonds hasn't been spectacular. SIBs, you may recall, are similar to Social Policy Bonds, but they aren't tradeable.

And because SIBs are not tradeable, objectives have to be narrow, and so ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675656
A correspondent has kindly drawn my attention to President Obama's accreditation reforms for higher education, as outlined in his State of the Union address. There is much that seems of merit to me in these reforms, but these reforms have encouraged me to think more broadly about education.


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675657
Freddie de Boer, in a review of Jaron Lanier's Who owns the future? writes about the United States (and other countries), which he calls 'proceduralist':

A proceduralist views society not in terms of a necessary goal (say, happiness and opportunity for all its members) but ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675653
What happens when entrenched interests dictate government policy:

For most of modern history, your health care was a matter between you and your doctor. Since World War II, in much of the developed world, it’s been between you, your doctor, and your government. In America, ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675652
Despite its radical-sounding novelty, there's nothing really new here:

The UN Security Council should assign itself the power to put a $50 million bounty on the head of a tyrant, defined as someone who is subject to an International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment for war-crimes/crimes against humanity and ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675649
It lasts for generations. Helen Epstein writes about Dr Sara Josephine Baker of the New York City Health Department:

In her first year at the Bureau of Child Hygiene, Baker sent nurses to the most deadly ward on the Lower East Side. They were to visit every ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675650
Elizabeth Drew writes about US politics:

In 2009, for the first time, defeat of the incoming president in the next election became the opposition party’s explicit governing principle. If that meant blocking measures to improve the economy, or preventing the filling of important federal offices ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675651
It's a familiar, but disastrous, train of thought: government perceives a problem, government thinks it knows the cause of the problem, government pumps resources into the agencies that allegedly deal with the alleged cause of the problem. So we have, for instance, not-very-effective overseas aid agencies, bloated militaries, corrupt farm ...


September 19, 2016, 12:18 am, 1675648
Steven M Teles writes eloquently of the complexity and incoherence of US policy:

A "kludge" is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "an ill-assorted collection of parts assembled to fulfill a particular purpose...a clumsy but temporarily effective solution to a particular fault or ...