Category: Economics

  • Are women more honest than men?

    The journal Science recently published a fascinating article from Alain Cohn et al, which looked at cultural proclivities for civic honesty around the globe. They employed a rather ingenious method: they “lost” wallets all over the world and recorded when the receiver of the lost wallet attempted to return the wallet to its rightful owner. […]

  • Is technical analysis and algorithmic trading a legal form of market collusion?

    Despite all dictates of logic against it, technical analysis actually works some of the time. I’m not talking about the random luck of any scheme working, but the fact that an uncanny amount of the time, “support” and “resistance” theories seem to be borne out in actual stock data. Assuming I’m not just imagining this, […]

  • Does the world really need MBAs?

    A few weeks ago I was sitting in a coffee shop writing my thesis. Next to me were two students from Harvard’s Business School, that esteemed institution responsible for many of the managers who have been doing such a bang up job of running our nation’s financial system. They were going over a case for […]

  • Why unions tend towards self-destruction

    As pointed out by Mish Shedlock, the public MTA union has brokered an 11% pay increase while municipalities across the country struggle to make ends meet. The callous disregard of public unions for their taxpaying “employers” is highlighted in this article by the candid comments of an Albany police union chief, who stated for the […]

  • It’s a buyer’s market for greater fools

    If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the financial crash, it’s that the efficient market hypothesis is utterly bogus. As a corollary, just as dead is the idea of buy-and-hold investing as a rational way to make money. Stock market results from Japan over the past two decades, and now America and Europe, are making […]

  • Why does volume mean one thing in housing and another in stocks?

    Housing numbers were just released, and the big news is that home sales were up 11% from the last month. That’s 11% up in volume, not price. Prices are still abysmal on a relative basis, down 12% from this time last year (and yet still too high, if you ask me). There are more foreclosures […]

  • Inflating with taxes?

    In the latest consumer price index (CPI) report, all seems fine. Core CPI went up 0.1%, suggesting the Fed is succeeding at holding back the evil specter of deflation, which brought down the economy during the Great Depression. But a closer look at the numbers reveals that were it not for the government imposing a […]

  • E*TRADE to liquidate all proprietary mutual funds this week to raise capital

    E*TRADE just sent a letter out to all mutual fund holders to the effect that they will be liquidating their entire family of index mutual funds this week. All funds will be cashed out by Friday: After long and serious consideration, E*TRADE Securities has made the decision to discontinue our family of proprietary index mutual […]

  • The other other shoe to drop: big government in-the-loop?

    This depression is historic in many ways, but one way that doesn’t get talked about a lot is that it’s the first time America has had a credit-based downturn with a government that is a major existing factor in the economy. Before the Great Depression, in the 1920s, government spending at all levels was around […]

  • Investment gains may become harder to find, long or short.

    I had an interesting discussion with some folks last night. The question was whether it is possible for all investments to go down in the short term if things get bad enough. One conclusion was that it’s a harder question to answer than you might think. Do you consider perceived value, or just market price? […]