Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bidding Farewell to Chicago School of Economics

HK University of Science and Technology professor of finance K.C. Chan has a piece in today's edition of Ming Pao (in Chinese) pretty much endorsing some sort of light-handed approach to industrial policy (his example is HK government's involvement in luring Disney to come to HK).

And I quote:


Ooops, I can almost feel George Stigler rolling his grave!

Granted that Chan got his Ph.D. in finance at Chicago, not economics, but still it is hard to believe that with big names like George Stigler and Sam Peltzman at Chicago's graduate school, Chan is not aware of these scholars' views on such matters.

And if you read the piece, you will get the impression that he is not familiar with the cutting edge research in industrial policy as well. Regina Ip, another big fan of industrial policy, does deserve some credit on that score, as research reports put out by her think-tank do refer to the cutting edge research in industrial policy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Exchange Rate or is it Exchange Rage

A buddy of mine since graduate school told me a joke the other day. Apparently one of the Ph.D. students at his school has exchange rate mispelled as exchange rage on one of her power point presentations.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Notable Books

1. Adam's Fallacy. And it has nothing to do with Adam and Eve.

2. Dynasties. A book on family businesses.

3. The Origin of Wealth. "There are thought-provoking ideas on almost every page...It is unquestionably the most important business book of the year." - John Kay, Management Today.
Read Chapter 1 and more reviews here.

4. The Authentic Adam Smith. Read reviews here and here.

5. And finally, here is Freakonomics, revised edition. Funny thing is, though the book is still listed as unpublished at Amazon, I actually saw a paper back version of it at a book store here in Hong Kong.

Monday, October 09, 2006


那天在網上看到論文指導老師 Richard Wagner 即將在母校工作坊上宣讀其撰寫中的新書的其中一章。


老師隔一天便給我回覆,內容主要都是一些客套話。 讀後心裏不知何解有一股屈悶。

數小時後, 老師再發一電郵說留意到我的電郵地址與過往的有分別, 查詢我的近况是否一切安好時,我頓時感到開懷了。

Edmund Phelps on Knight, Hayek, and Polanyi

It is official that Edmund Phelps at Columbia is the latest recipiceint of the Nobel prize in economics.

By now one should have some rough idea of what his contributions to economics are, if not, read this.

One thing probably many pundits have not mentioned, however, is that Phelps recently seems to have rediscovered the work of F. Hayek.

At this year's American Economic Association meeting held in January, Phelps presented a paper entitled, " Further Steps to a Theory of Innovation and Growth – On the Path Begun by Knight, Hayek and Polanyí." The paper can be accessed here.

Phelps is also the Director of the recently formed The Center of Capitalism and Society, part of the Earth Institute led by Jeff Sachs.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Folly of HK's Minimum Wage Debate

很多人把最低工資視為有效的扶貧手段, 支持者又常以 Card and Krueger 的研究作為支持其主張的理據。

這些人當中,究竟有多少人看過原著? 木宰羊!My bet is that 99.99 % of them have not.

Read this: The minimum wage is a blunt instrument for reducing overall poverty, however, because many minimum-wage earners are not in poverty and because many of those in poverty are not connected to the labor market. We calculate that the 90-cent increase in the minimum wage between 1989 and 1991 transferred roughly $5.5 billion to low-wage workers.... an amount that is smaller than most other federal antipoverty programs, and that can have only limited effects on the overall income distribution.

The source? Card and Krueger in Myth and Measurement (p.3).

Hat tip to Bryan Caplan at Econlog for the pointer.