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What We Read Today 21 October 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production (Nature)  A paper which attempts to recognize the differening effects between wealthy countries and poor countries in modeling the economic impacts of climate change.  In general the effects of global warming are greater in poorer countries but the research finds that overall economic productivity is non-linear in temperature for all countries, with productivity peaking at an annual average temperature of 13 °C and declining strongly at higher temperatures. The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agricultural activity in both rich and poor countries.  


"How is it a good thing to have price controls over the price of money?"

  • AP-GfK Poll: Republicans want principles, not compromise (The Big Story)  An Associated Press-GfK poll finds Republicans nationally prefer congressional leadership that will stand on conservative principles, not compromise — even if it leads to a government shutdown.  Neither party's supporters are particularly happy with their leaders in Congress, the poll suggests.  Among Republicans in the poll, 62% say they would prefer a new speaker who will stick with conservative principles even if doing so leads to a government shutdown. Just 37% prefer someone who will compromise with President Barack Obama and Democrats to pass a budget.


Petra Laszlo, the Hungarian camerawoman who drew international ire after footage emerged of her kicking and tripping refugees, may have apologized for her actions, but that isn't stopping her from filing suit.

In an interview with Russian news outlet Izvestia, Laszlo announced her plans to sue one of the individuals she was filmed kicking, and Facebook. She alleges the social media network failed to remove negative and threatening messages directed towards her, instead banning groups set up to support her actions, according to Mashable and an online translation of the original story.

The man she plans to sue is Osama Abdul Mohsen, a 52-year-old Syrian refugee who fell to the ground on top of his child after Laszlo tripped him. Mohsen has since found a job in Spain at the country's national soccer coaching academy.

Laszlo was fired by her employer, an ultranationalist online TV channel called N1TV, after the video was first made public. Although N1TV centers around a far-right party that wants all migrants deported, the station said she "behaved unacceptably," The Associated Press reported.



  • Syrian army denies Russian ground forces fighting in Syria (Reuters)  The Syrian army denied Russian ground troops are fighting alongside its forces, saying Moscow was deploying only air power in Syria.  In a statement issued late on Tuesday on the Syrian news agency SANA, a military source was quoted as saying that reports Russian combat forces were engaged in ground operations were "baseless and mere propaganda".


  • Japan export growth slows sharply, raising fears of recession (Reuters)  Japan's annual export growth slowed to a crawl in September as shrinking sales to China hurt the volume of shipments, raising fears that weak overseas demand may have pushed the economy into recession.  Ministry of Finance data showed exports rose just 0.6 percent in the year to September, against a 3.4% gain expected by economists in a Reuters poll.  That was the slowest growth since August last year, following the prior month's 3.1% gain. The weak yen helped increase the value of exports, but volume fell 3.9%, the third straight month recording an annual decline.  Bad for Japanese equities?  See next article.

  • Tokyo jumps, but Shanghai posts biggest fall in 5 weeks (CNBC)  Fears of recession increase and Japanese stocks soar.  See preceding article.  Remember when fear of a recession drove stocks lower?

What we know about the 92 million Americans who aren’t in the labor force (Real Time Economics, Twitter)  Hat tip to Bill McBride, retweet.

U.S. Housing Continues to Improve (Walter Kurtz, The Daily Shot)  Housing starts have almost doubled over the last four years (first graph below).  But this is not your father's housing market as single family starts (as a percentage of total starts) continue to decline while multifamily reach for new highs (second and third graphs below).



Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

This brief responds to the criticism that mainstream economics is currently facing due to its heavy reliance on models and narrow range of quantitative research techniques. It takes a broader view, identifying issues that are also relevant for heterodox and pluralist approaches to economics. By acknowledging that the world of theory is not the same as the reality that we are trying to understand, the brief focuses on three paths that generally receive little attention. These are: from theory to the real world; from theory to empirical analysis; and from empirical results to policy application. Each path highlights a range of related concerns and qualifications, and the focus on these transitions provides a strong basis for critical evaluation of analyses and potentially more realistic results and recommendations. It also provides a framework for synthesizing information from alternative schools of thought and across disciplines. In addition, the importance of framing and rhetoric is demonstrated. The brief addresses philosophical and methodological issues using a clear, non-technical approach that can be easily understood by a non-specialist audience.

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