Monday, December 25, 2006

Another New Monograph on China

Not long after the publication of Barry Naugton's The Chinese Economy, now students of China will get a treat from another China expert Dwight Perkins at Harvard. His monograph entitled "The Challenges of China's Economic Growth", which will appear in print later, is now available at American Enterprise Institute's website.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Books I Recommend

If you enjoy Fooled by Randomness, probably you would enjoy Taleb's new book The Black Swan.

A few good law and economics works are out in the past few years, Don Wittman has just added another one to the list. It's called "Economic Foundations of Law and Organization."

Wary that it may take you too long to read Adam Smith's two great works, try this one then.

Just a reminder, John Taylor's Global Financial Warriors is out now.

Should Tax Payers Subsidise Family Farms?

Apparently some US politicians think tax payers should do so. Here is what Washington Post reported on today:

"In today's fast-paced, interconnected world, there are few industries where sons and daughters can work side-by-side with moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas," Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said last year. "But we still find that today in agriculture. . . . It is a celebration of what too many in our country have forgotten, an endangered way of life that we must work each and every day to preserve."

Read the whole story here.

Jerry's argument is flawed. If one really values the satisfaction derived from working with dad, mom, bro, and sis, then the one who benefits from this work arrangement should pay, but not unrelated third parties who gain nothing from such work arrangement.

His argument is also confusing in that it seems to imply that people have now lost their freedom to work with one's family members. This is not true. Modern folks can always choose to work side by side with their family members if they want to. But that work arrangement carries with it a hefty price tag in terms of lower productivity that few people will choose to do so today. So it is wrong on Jerry's part to call this work arrangement "endangered" as if we were being forced to abandon such institutional arrangement. No we don't.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

As Demand for Adoption Goes Up, So Does its Price

In introductory economics class, all students learn that price of the good in question rises if demand curve shifts rightward. And yes, it applies to child adoption as well.

A story in Wall Street Journal today reported that:

"China, the most popular foreign country for U.S. adoptions, is considering new rules that could disqualify thousands of would-be parents. Those new rules would bar people who are single, obese, over 50 years old, or currently taking psychiatric medications from adopting Chinese children, according to several U.S. adoption agencies that have seen the regulations. They would ban disabled people and families with net assets of less than $80,000. And they would set new minimums on length of marriage for couples seeking to adopt."

Why China would like to revise its adoption policy?

The story continues:

"China says its rationale for a change in rules is simply that it cannot meet the demand of prospective families. Birthrates are falling, and as the Chinese economy booms, fewer parents are abandoning their children due to poverty. A traditional preference for boys appears to be waning, so fewer girls are put up for adoption. And with the recent loosening of China's one-child rule, more families are keeping their second child. The result is that "the number of kids available for international adoption is naturally declining," says Sun Wencan, who runs the adoption department of the Social Welfare Division of China's Ministry of Civil Affairs."

Read the whole thing here.