Saturday, January 16, 2010

Myth of the American Over-spending

I enjoy seeing a statistic that changes my preconceptions about an issue. Over this decade I've read many articles about the excess spending by American consumers and how people were buying cars, flat-screen TVs, etc...

This article by Doug Henwood shows the share of consumption relative to GDP with and without medical expenses. I guess the UK picture would look completely different given the impact of NHS.

I guess this yet another good reason to improve the health-care system in the US.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Poor Haiti!

Poor people in Haiti, who seem to have been hit by every possible man-made and natural disasters know to mankind.

Hope that they can receive as much help as they sorely need and can rebuild/improve their country quickly.

For those of you who would like to help, here is a Google-page with well-known organizations that are accepting donations for the relief effort.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So Long Holiday Feeling!

Wow, it doesn't even feel like I just came back from a very pleasant holiday break in Brazil! This is a gone be a busy couple of weeks!

This Friday there is a deadline (the 2010 FMA meeting in NYC in October), I'm finishing a revision to re-submit a paper to the RFS (fingers crossed for me!) and "own" things to three different sets of co-authors. in very orthogonal projects. Luckily - or not - one of them works right next door to me. so I can always negotiate a small extension...

I guess the alternatives to have to work a lot are much worse. Finding interesting and useful ideas were the most difficult aspect of the PhD (and always a challenge). Hope my (poor) time management skills kick in and everything gets done fast.

Anyway, dinnertime and then back to work!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Freezing Europe - From Space Edition

Most of you know about or having been feeling the effects of the cold snap hitting Europe and the US. The UK has been particularly hit by it and today the BBC showed one of the prettiest pictures I've seen so far:

I really wish that sub-orbital flights were cheap enough such that I could go take a peek of Earth from above. I wouldn't mind getting rich either... This company (based in Barcelona) has a really cool business model. I hope they succeed!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paul Krugman on Crises

For my (few) non-academic readers, every January Econ and Finance academics get together for the AEA/AFA meetings, the most important conference we have. (Off-topic: for anecdotes on how cheap economists are during these meetings, check this WSJ article)

This year they took place in Atlanta, where I heard was freezing relative to the nice weather in San Francisco last year. On top of presenting papers, interviewing job market candidates and going out for dinners with old friends, people also get to attend panels and luncheons with speeches by top people.

I just read Paul Krugman's summary of his Nobel luncheon speech on financial crises. It's a very good piece looking the effects of the current financial crisis relative to previous currency crisis.

Every time I think about currency crises, I think about Mark Twain's quote:  "History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes."