McDonald’s And Luxembourg – EU Says Paying No Tax Is Legal

The European Union has announced the result of its investigation into McDonald's and the deal the company had with Luxembourg. All entirely legal they say - despite the fact that no taxes were being paid. This will of course enrage the usual types but...

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Bigger Firms Are More Productive And Pay Better Wages

We've long known this was true about manufacturing firms. There appears to be a process of internal negotiation whereby goo profits lead to higher pay for the workers. Or maybe it's that hiring better workers by paying better wages increases productivity, who knows? But does this apply to services?...

Will Apple, Ireland Or The European Union Win The Tax Appeal?

Ireland has now collected the disputed amount of tax from Apple, as the European Union insisted it should. The next interesting stage is going to be, well, who is going to win on appeal? My betting is that Ireland and Apple will - although my record of prognostication on...

Assaulting 1,000 Women Seems A Bit Of An Overestimate

A story out of he US which is both horrific and also an interesting test of the numeracy of our journalistic class. That second being perhaps not all that great. A California surgeon and his girlfriend have been charged with two sexual assaults, and investigators suspect there could be "hundreds"...

Ask Agatha #23 Puttin’ On The Ritz, Puttin’ On The Style

Dear Aunt Agatha, I could use your help in improving my image. I've been mocked in the media recently because a couple of my tourist friends checking out Salisbury Cathedral were accused of some dastardly crime. I personally have been accused of stealing stuff from my neighbours, when the truth...

Official Statistics Are, You Know, Statistical Estimates….

We should all already know this but apparently some don't. From The Conversation: The problem with official statistics – and three ways to make them better What value do statistics really have when it comes to describing events in a country? For most people, statistics are a means to an end,...

Getting The Facts Wrong About US Manufacturing

It really is quite amazing how many factual errors it's possible to get into just the one analysis of what ails America's manufacturing economy. Take this from the Washington Monthly for example: Wage stagnation has impacted American workers more dramatically than those in most other wealthy countries. Since 2000, the...

Why Was Jim Crow The Law? Because Discrimination Is Costly, As Gary Becker Said

An interesting little historical question is, well, why was Jim Crow the law? If all white Southerners were racists then it wouldn't be necessary to have a law insisting that blacks be discriminated against. It would be possible to just leave it to the actions of individuals and the...

We Could All Learn From Pakistan Flogging Off The Politicans’ Cars

Imran Khan's pledge to flog off a decent portion of the State's assets has started with the auction of 61 cars from the government fleet. Given the financial problems in the country this is only a sop, of course it is, but a sop with value. As with India's...

As Usual, World Economic Forum Gets Robots And AI Wrong Over Jobs

The World Economic Forum is that gathering of the Great and the Good that takes place at Davos each year. One good explanation for why the world is in the state it is is that the WEF, thus the Great and the Good, don't actually understand the world we're...

Ocasio Cortez Is Only Half Right About Her $40 Trillion Spending Plans

Of course Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making stuff up about her spending plans and how to pay for them. She's a politician on the stump and the phantasm applies to her as much as it does to Ted Cruz when he's pandering for votes. The particular flavour might be different...

Benford’s Law Is Weird But Interesting

The weirdness being what makes it difficult for people to fake, thus giving us a marker for fake numbers: Using Benford’s Law to detect tax fraud in international trade Banu Demir, Beata Javorcik 17 September 2018 Smuggling, along with other forms of border tax evasion, is a substantial problem around the world....

Marty Feldstein Worries That We’ll Not Be Able To Deal With The Next Recession

It's entirely true that governments and central banks around the world don't have all that many tools left to try and deal with the next recession. We've not got a lot of fiscal space - national debts are well up there - and we've not really got much monetary...

Threats Make Society Less Liberal, Tolerant, So Should We Have Mass Immigration?

Doesn't this just test progressive mores? We've a finding - published in The Guardian no less as well as Science - that perceived threats to a society or culture make it more authoritarian. There's even the comment that the strict societal desires of such as the Front National are...

Giriraj Singh Insists India’s Development Is Pro-Hindu

This isn't quite how the Union Minister, Giriraj Singh, actually puts it but it is the clear implication of his statements about population. Development in India in recent decades has been - in effect even if not in intent - pro-Hindu. Actually, it's rather the opposite of what he...

Modi’s Mistake – A Falling Rupee Curbs India’s Current Account Deficit Anyway

It's entirely true that the average voter isn't entirely right up to date with the intricacies of trade theory. Heck, most politicians aren't and they set trade policy. Thus governments often enough pander to the misunderstandings of the voters rather than explain reality to them. Which is the explanation...

The Gravity Model Of Trade Isn’t Quite What You Think It Is

Of interest given Brexit is the gravity model of trade. This is the idea that countries closer to each other will trade more with each other. More formally, distance and size of GDP will tell us much about the volume of trade. This though isn't quite what the model...

Time’s Story, The EPI’s Report, On Teacher Salaries And Incomes

The trick, so often at least, is to work out what the trick is. This applies to magic shows as much as it does to partisan think tank reports. What is it that we're not being told? What's the trick being played upon us to make the assertions being...