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Attractiveness, Crime, Ketamine, & More
1. New research shows that more attractive economics PhD graduates get better job placements. That’s partly because attractiveness and productivity are correlated and partly because attractive people receive favorable treatment.
2. Another recent paper found that unattractive hedge fund managers outperform their attractive peers by 2% per annum. Invest accordingly.
3. This paper looked at a Seattle program that relaxed residential zoning regulations but required developers to reserve some units for below market-rate rentals, but only in some areas, and found that developers responded by locating projects “in nearby blocks and parcels not subject to the program’s affordability requirements.”
I support policymaking that aims to hit one bird with one stone. Policy is hard! When we try to knock off two—like overly restrictive zoning and a lack of affordable units—with one throw, we usually miss both.
4. A study found that ketamine had life altering therapeutic effects for patients with moderate to severe depression—even the ones who were in the control group and only received placebo. Come for the interesting finding on the placebo effect, stay for the clever study design; they selected participants who already had surgeries scheduled so the ketamine (or placebo) could be administered when the patients were unconscious.
5. This New York Fed analysis on the resumption of student loan payments concludes that “…some student loan borrowers will surely struggle managing their debt obligations just as before the pandemic forbearance. Nevertheless, we expect the potential spillover to the broader economy to be limited…”
6. In the late 1960s, the United Auto Workers union had 1.5 million members. “These days, the "A" in UAW might as well include academia, as roughly 100,000 of the union's 383,000 members work in higher education. They include graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants, clerical and technical workers, adjunct professors and postdocs.” Full story from NPR.
7. This chart—from the new book You Are What You Watch by Walter Hickey—shows the rise of baby names in relation to when they appear in popular fiction.
8. From 2020 to 2021, workers earning $9.8 billion in adjusted gross income migrated from New York, where income is taxed between 4% and 10.9%, to Florida, where there isn’t a state-level income tax. California lost $5.6 billion in income to Texas, $4.4 billion to Nevada, and $2.6 billion to Arizona. Lots more of interest in this Economic Innovation Group piece on income flows, but the moral of the story is pretty straightforward: remote work is bad for states with high income tax rates.
9. Downtownrecovery.com uses cell phone data to rank how many unique visitors are going to a city’s downtown area in 2023 relative to 2019.
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