Indian bureaucracy

April 4, 2014

India has made enormous progress over the last 20 years, but even a casual look suggests it has a long way to go. If you want a taste of mind-numbing Indian bureaucracy, try the visa application. If you’re looking for something with a little more entertainment value, try this one from the always reliable Joe Foudy:

Over 600 complaints regarding the Delhi Police forwarded by the Central Vigilance Commission to an online portal have been pending for the past eight years. The reason: the Delhi Police didn’t know the password to access the portal or how to operate it, a lapse that went undetected since 2006.

More here.  Brilliant idea, really, to just throw out the complaints.


Innovation at UCLA

March 28, 2014

Venky, a UCLA grad, received a wonderful email from “the office of the vice provost and dean” of UCLA’s graduate division. It begins:

In an effort to recognize the academic achievements of graduate students who pass away near the completion of their degrees, the UCLA Graduate Council has approved a new campus policy for awarding posthumous graduate degrees and certificates of attendance.

Stan’s working on the punchline.


Two weeks off, continued

March 28, 2014

The provocative Cadillac ad now has a response from Ford. Watch them both, and let us know which appeals to you.


Life expectancy in the twentieth century

March 21, 2014

Angus Deaton points out that one of the great successes of the 20th century was the steep increase in life expectancy. In his words: “When I was born in Edinburgh in 1945, life expectancy in Scotland was lower than it is in India today; when my father was born in the Yorkshire coalfield in 1918, child mortality in England was higher than it is in sub-Saharan Africa today.” Even better, see for yourself: click here and press the play button in the lower right corner.


Education as branding

March 20, 2014

George Daly asks which you’d prefer: an education from Stanford and a degree from Cal State Northridge — or the reverse? It’s an old idea, but a particularly provocative version of it. Now ask yourself: Where’s the value in the education business? What do you want from an NYU degree? Where should our emphasis be? How does technology fit in?


The day the music died*

March 16, 2014

A post by Luis Cabral

You may have heard this one: the Internet is killing the music business. As “record companies” lose revenue to free downloads of mp3′s, their incentive to develop new talent disappears. Is this the day the music died?  Read the rest of this entry »


Ukraine: messed up with or without Putin

March 14, 2014

We’ve all been following events in Ukraine — so that’s where Crimea is! — but it’s useful to take a broader perspective. Ukraine has a long and distinguished history, but under the Soviets and since independence in 1990, economic performance has been underwhelming.   Read the rest of this entry »


Easterly on experts

March 9, 2014

Bill Easterly may be the most provocative economist at NYU. He’s a clear thinker with a wry sense of humor in an area — economic development — in need of both. I use this quote in class: “Mr Gates says you can’t eat GDP. He apparently missed the lecture on the components of GDP — for example, food.” His bio lists him as “the 11th most famous native of Bowling Green, Ohio.” (Raise your hand if you looked up the others.)  Read the rest of this entry »


The upside of only two weeks off in August

February 23, 2014

Stan Zin passes on this wonderful Cadillac ad, which he likes more than I do because it played during Canada’s Olympic hockey gold medal game. The “n’est-ce pas?” at the end is for anyone who took the Global Economy courseRead the rest of this entry »


Burning issues at NYU

February 20, 2014

Evidently we set a high moral standard at NYU. Consider:

1. Killer Coke.  I know next to nothing about this issue or NYU’s position on it, but spamming my inbox puts you somewhere between the 8th and 9th circles. Maybe Bloomberg was right, we should ban all soda — or pop, as we called it where I grew up.

2. United Auto Workers. With membership falling and the drive for new members running into trouble, the UAW is back to organizing our graduate students. From the Times: “This is something we’ve been working [on] for eight years,” said Matt Canfield, a fifth-year doctoral student in anthropology.


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