Steven Levitt just won the John Bates Clark Medal for a series of amazing papers. In one he shows that 50% of the crime rate drop of the 90's was explained by the legalization of abortion. In 1973, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the U.S., but earlier in 1970, several states had already legalized abortion. These early adopters showed a drop in the crime rates several years before the rest of the U.S. saw it. Less unwanted babies makes for less crime.

And to anger the other politicals, he also showed prison really does work, as it successfully serves as a deterrent to youth. Over the last 20 years, juvenile crime has increased as juvenile sentencing has gotten lighter. 60% of the increase in juvenile crime is explained by the reduction in youth sentencing.

Worked on my ceo plan for BUS584 today. The goal is to get people to a consensus, so I'm trying out Influence's methods:

  1. Scarcity - couldn't figure a way to use this.
  2. Commitment & Consistency - get people to say they're open to the idea, while preventing people from saying they're against it.
  3. Liking - wear a smile. Weak, eh?
  4. Authority - Set up the rules for the discussion first, and get people to assent to the rules. My rules are an extension of My power. BTW, rules are "Let the person speaking finish speaking." and "Signal non-verbally your wish to speak.".
  5. Reciprocation - I'll introduce the problem (outsourcing 14000 jobs to Asia), and then make concessions to their points. Get them to meet me halfway.
  6. Social Proof - After defining the problem, I'll ask everyone to nod if they are open to discussing the problem. Since we'll be seated in a circle of 12 people and I know that 8 are already open to the idea of outsourcing, it will seem like everyone is nodding. ;)
Other than that, I just need to set the stage for rational discussion, which is why I need everyone to agree to abide by the rules of discussion.

The only really odd thing is that the panel has an economist who espouses Mercantilism, i.e. keep jobs in America. To use an existing situation, we pay more for oranges than other nations because we subsidize orange farming in the US. In addition to paying a higher price for an orange, some of our taxes are also given to orange farmers. Is a ready supply of oranges necessary to national survival? Is it worth what we pay?

I'd argue that no industry is worth protecting. We must rather work on emphasizing life-long learning, to help our workers retrain into more valuable jobs. In case of war, technological advances will help us beat our opponents, and in the case of peace, the more we trade, the quicker the global standard of living increases.

Ever wonder why the Gulf Stream warms the shores of Northwestern Europe?
As the warm water current flows north, it suffers a large amount of evaporation, making the water more saline than water outside the main current. As the Gulf Stream (GS) traverses the Atlantic, it's renamed to the North Atlantic Drift (NAD). As it reaches Iceland, the relatively saline water cools enough that it becomes denser than the surrounding water, and it falls 2-3 kilometers down. It then suffers another name change to the North Atlantic Deep Water. It then reverses direction, and flows directly underneath the NAD and GS all the way back to the east tip of South America. As it flows south, it becomes less saline and warms up. Neat, eh?