Link Love

Most links this week are coming from me reading my “to read” emails folder that I’ve just been stuffing things in since the pandemic started.  I’m down to 335 as of this typing.

Money and class from A Gai Shan Life

Covid 19 has persistently decreased labor supply.  (This one isn’t as flashy as the Brookings report, but it’s also got cleaner methods.)

I’d posited many years ago that one of the reasons DH’s extended family doesn’t save money is because when they do someone else in the extended family has an emergency and basically it’s gone.  Here’s an experiment in Cote d’Ivoire that shows there’s maybe some merit to that hypothesis.

Machine learning can predict shooting victimization well enough to help prevent it.

This is super depressing.  Basically once WIC runs out, food-insecure moms starve themselves to make sure their kids get food.

Someone asked if/which graduate degrees are “worth it”– here’s the earnings side to that question.  (See graph below– if you click it it should link to the paper.)  Note this is limited to full time earnings.  You should be focusing on the FE versions (the OLS don’t take into account that the kind of guy who gets a humanities advance degree was not going to earn a lot anyway– basically it’s comparing to all other guys, not just guys who would consider post-college humanities education).  The Y variable is ln(earnings) which means you can think of it as .4 as an increase of 40% (B*100%).  If you get the PDV (present discounted cost) of the loans and/or opportunity cost of the money and time, that would tell you if the degree is actually worth it or not.  So basically if graduate school was free and they paid you a stipend comparable to what you would have gotten if you weren’t in graduate school (or your current employer offers a tuition benefit), this would be the total benefit (in terms of % increase of your earnings).  Look at male nurses(!)  They should definitely go for the graduate degree.

Graph of how much value added a graduate degree has by gender for several graduate degrees. Fine arts and humanities degrees may decrease earnings. MDs increase earnings the most (then law, then MBA). Effects are bigger for men than for women especially for nurses.

19 Responses to “Link Love”

  1. Omdg Says:

    That bump you see with male nurses is bc many become Nurse Anesthetists who make $200/hr. Also bc of the glass escalator in nursing by which the presence of a Y chromosome leads to automatic consideration for leadership positions.

  2. revanchegs Says:

    Anecdotally I’m pretty sure your theory has legs. It’s probably a little more complex but I definitely saw similar behaviors in my family of origin where it’s expected that those who have more help those who have less. As a result, the idea of saving for yourself and your own future needs is almost preposterous. You can hoard things but there’s almost something shameful in hoarding money for yourself if / when someone in your family needs help. Naturally this resonated very strongly with me as an individual raised the way I was (hi Dorothy) but I also saw those behavior patterns repeated by many individuals in big and small ways which reinforced my sense of guilt-ridden duty. Now I realize that people who gave didn’t ever share the information about whether they had it to give or had more in reserve. I didn’t think about that back then.

    I still chose to learn to save but I have always hidden the act of saving and wouldn’t ever tell anyone in the bio family that we did or that we had substantial savings when that finally developed. I was proud of it but also very aware that it felt like I was resource hoarding and that I owed it to give to others at my own expense.

  3. Matthew D Healy Says:

    Had I stayed in Engineering (in which I got a BS) instead of changing fields and getting a PhD in Zoology, I’d probably be in a roughly comparable economic situation but also unhappy. And nothing I might have done as en engineer would have been nearly as satisfying as helping put five antiviral drugs on the market.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Seems important! (Though I will say engineers do life saving stuff too.)

      • Matthew D Healy Says:

        Failure to get the engineering right certainly can cost lives!

        And the Corsi–Rosenthal Box, which was invented by a couple of engineers, certainly can save lives if used more widely.

        Any readers who don’t know what a C-R Box is, google it.

        And if you are a PARENT OF A STUDENT, you should most definitely ask the Administration wherever that student attends whether they are using C-R Boxes or something similar!

        Here is a great resource: responses to specific objections often made by school administrators when parents inquire about improving indoor air quality to stop COVID:

        https://sites.google.com/site/whitneyrobinsonphd/clean-air-1-pager-aug-20-2022

  4. EB Says:

    Giving to family members who need it does have a downside, as you’ve pointed out. The upside is saving them from REALLY bad outcomes, like eviction, inability to get to a job, etc. And isn’t this willingness to operate on a sort of mutual aid society basis the reason why many immigrants succeed in small businesses? It is upsetting when the recipients of help seem to be forever needy (there have been some in my family), but if the family network also includes people who give as well as get, the whole group can benefit.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The problem is when people don’t put their own masks on before helping others with theirs. What ends up happening is lots of money gets lost from the family system to high interest debt rates.

  5. xykademiqz Says:

    The links are fire this week! Re getting monetary help from others, this is part (not the biggest, but a part) of why I’m no longer speaking with my mother. She would begrudge me any purchase because somehow she felt she deserved all my money before me because she’d given birth to me. She was would incessantly question me about my salary, while at the same time making fun of my nerdiness and my allergy to shopping. She’s always been a hateful, shallow, materialistic woman who’s always disliked and despised me, never properly loved me as a mother should have. There, I said it.

    Btw, my mother (w new husband), sister, and father all live independently, each in their own apartment. They are all professionals either working (sister) or now retired with a good pension (parents). I did send money in the past, including a pretty sizable chunk to help my sister pay off her place. I never had any illusion I would get paid back, nor did anyone offer — everything is always supposed to be a gift. There was a period years ago where my sister basically wanted me to send her a monthly stipend. Besides not knowing how the hell that would even work every month, given how complicated money sending internationally still is, fuck that noise.

    Whenever I tried to tell them about the cost of housing, healthcare, daycare, or college for kids, they conveniently didn’t hear any of it. My mother was the champion of selective hearing. She’d love to take my salary, imagine me having zero expenses or somehow not being part of the equation at all, and then translate my salary number to the cost of living where she is, and then begin to basically out loud fantasize about all the lavish things she wanted or needed and could buy with that money, presumably so I’d get them for her. When I didn’t, she’d periodically reward me with a torrent of insults about how ungrateful, cold, and selfish I was.

    That’s always the expectation where I come from — your money is not yours to do with as you please; your money must be spent on other people, and you are never to complain about it. I hate it all and am really happy there’s an ocean between us.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      It’s been easier for me to be selfish about everything since having kids. Like, my little family comes first and anyone who disagrees because they want something from me — it’s much easier to see who is selfish when it’s my kids who would be shafted instead of me.

      Yay distance! Your mom sounds awful.

  6. bogart Says:

    I worked briefly with a grad student who’d done work as a u’grad with your disciplinary colleague Charles Becker on mobile home markets (basically, how it “works” if you live in a mobile home — obviously may vary, but the structure of the typical park is kind of … weird relative to many other kinds of housing in the US). I read a paper Becker wrote (maybe they’d co-authored it, I forget) and that was definitely one of the things that was mentioned — that people purchasing a mobile home may know it’s not “the best way” to spend $45,000 (or however much) but that if spending that $45K gets it away from where others in your network can access it, it also might be far from the worst.

    • Matthew D Healy Says:

      The trouble with mobile homes is their disadvantaged legal status: in many places you’re not allowed to put one on land that you own, so most of them end up in trailer parks. A trailer park combines the downsides of renting and of owning: a thing one cannot easily move on rented land. In some States there are legal protections for the residents, but in most States those protections are minimal at best.

      In some rural areas, people are allowed to put mobile homes on land they own. But not in most urban and suburban areas.

      • EB Says:

        Several of my relatives have lived in mobile homes on land they own in a rural area. If that were forbidden, many would have to scramble in the rental market. The goal is to be able to build a house on that land (usually a prefab house brought in on a trailer), using the same electric hookups and septic system, and thereby turn a residence that only depreciates to one that appreicates in value.

        In the same county, the trailer parks are miserable places.

  7. bogart Says:

    As I remember it, possibly incorrectly, Becker focuses exclusively on the own the trailer, rent the spot in the park model. And yeah, it’s a pretty crazy system. Of course even if you can put trailers on land you own, and it is possible around me at least in the more rural parts, you still have to be able to buy the land. Plenty of people can’t do that.

    • EB Says:

      Yes, it does take a bit of start-up cash to buy the land, unless it is in a very undesirable spot (or very remote, which would describe where my relatives live). Also, you have to install a septic system.

      Re: renting a spot in a trailer park. Some states have better regulations of trailer parks, both in terms of tenants rights and also financial arrangements. There have also been efforts to organize co-op situations where the trailer owners obtain ownership of the park itself.


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