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What We Read Today 15 April 2016

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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Topics today include:

  • Damaging Economics of School Choice

  • Research Needed on Economics of Climate Change

  • TripAdvisor Does Increase Travel, Report Says

  • G-20 Threatens Action Against Tax Havens

  • Investment Banks Keep Cutting and Losing Revenue

  • Everybody Ganging Up on Donald Trump

  • Iran Wants its Money

  • South Africa Needs New Economic Curriculum

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • G-20 Threatens Penalties on Tax Havens After Panama Papers (Bloomberg)   Group of 20 economies threatened to penalize havens that don’t share information on their banking clients after the leak of the Panama Papers provoked a global uproar over tax evasion.  The G-20 will consider “defensive measures” against financial centers and jurisdictions that don’t commit to an international standard requiring the exchange of information about account holders, the group’s finance ministers and central bankers said Friday in a statement after meeting in Washington.  The group said it would work with the OECD to come up with criteria for identifying “non-cooperative jurisdictions” by July, adding that improving the transparency on who controls legal tax entities is vital to the international financial system.


  • Hope Springs From Goldman Sachs Cuts (Bloomberg)  Goldman Sachs continues to try to "cut" its way to a better future with cutting more deeply.  And as the cuts accumulate, the results are reflected in the weakness afflicting investment banking, with analysts estimating first-quarter revenue between a fifth and a quarter lower than last year.

  • Former TV 'Apprentices' say Trump unfit for White House (Reuters)  A group of former contestants on Donald Trump's reality television show "The Apprentice" put their old boss in the hot seat on Friday, saying the U.S. Republican front-runner had widened racial divisions and should not be president.  Trump's one-time admirers, most from racial minorities, urged the New York billionaire to tamp down his divisive rhetoric as he campaigns to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama in a Nov. 8 election.

  • Ted Cruz Says He Can Woo Trump's Supporters (Bloomberg)  Ted Cruz has a message for Republican delegates: I can win over Donald Trump's supporters even if I don't win over Trump himself.


  • Iran Seeks Access to Its $100 Billion Via U.S. Financial System (Bloomberg)  Three months after a nuclear deal was implemented between Iran and western powers, the Islamic Republic has been unable to tap about $100 billion held abroad and is seeking access to the U.S. financial system to help pay its bills, Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif said.  While Iranian deposits held abroad are supposed to be accessible, Seif said Friday that European banks are worried about running afoul of U.S. regulations. He wants the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to issue guidelines encouraging European banks to be more receptive to Iran. Seif met Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Thursday on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington to discuss his concerns.

South Africa

  • South Africa: Economics - Time to Design a New Curriculum (All Africa)  A good essay which concludes with questions about the relevance of mainstream economics to some of the greatest challenges in South Africa, and the author would add, the world. The call to change economics curricula is a global one.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • The Economics of Public Education in the Marketplace (Nonprofit Quarterly)  Giving parents the power to choose the schools their children attend is a key element of the nationwide effort to radically change the nature of American public education. Theoretically, a vibrant market would result in better schools replacing struggling ones, to the benefit of every child, and schools that compete will drive for efficiencies and operate at lower costs. For more than two decades, state legislatures and the U.S. government have fueled the growth of charter schools and tuition voucher programs in order to create local educational marketplaces to provide a wide range of educational options for parents to consider.  But, this author points out, there appear to be negatives not recognized in the general statement above.  See next article.

  • The Great Diversion (American Prospect)  Charter schools may or may not improve student outcomes—but they divert funds from other public schools.  This article says that the overall quality of education, at least for an extended period, is diminished as funding for elite schools diminishes funding for all other schools, based on the data derived from the Massachusetts experience.  Econintersect:  We suggest that there are two types of unregulated free markets:  (1) a laissez-faire free market with true competition; and (2) a "real" free market with information and opportunity asymmetry which often leads to the "rich get richer and the poor get poorer" outcomes.  The successful track between these two unregulated markets involves some sort of intelligent regulation. 

  • Society needs to better understand the economics of climate change, Stanford researchers say (Stanford News)  Scientists have made huge strides in understanding the physical and biological dimensions of climate change, from deciphering why climate has changed in the past to predicting how it might change in the future.  As the body of knowledge on the physical science of climate grows, a missing link is emerging: What are the economic and social consequences of changes in the climate and efforts to control emissions of greenhouse gases?  In a new paper in the journal Science, a team led by Stanford professors Charles Kolstadand Marshall Burke argues that relatively low funding for social science research has contributed to a knowledge gap about what climate change means for human society. This knowledge gap, they argue, renders the large advances in natural science less useful than they could be for policymakers.  The big roadblock to conducting this research, the authors say, is lack of funding.

  • The TripAdvisor effect: Online reviews generate £2BILLION in visitor spending and influence nine million trips to UK, study claims (The Daily Mail)   TripAdvisor reviews of tourist attractions, hotels and other sites have generated £2 billion ($2.9 billion) in visitor spending in the UK, new research has claimed.  Reviews written by previous visitors to places such as London, York and Edinburgh have influenced 8.7million trips by tourists, the study said.  It claimed the £2 billion in visitor spending has helped to sustain 55,000 jobs in the travel industry.  The study analyzed 2014 domestic and international travel data from TripAdvisor.  The US-based travel website, which has repeatedly denied allegations that fake reviews can easily slip through, commissioned Oxford Economics, a global research company based in Oxford, to conduct the study on its behalf.

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