Friday, February 27, 2009

Hmmm .. what will Sarko say about this?

Ingrid Betancourt as seen by fellow hostages.

Perotti and Suarez Propose Tax on Financial Pollution

Enrico Perotti and Javier Suarez propose a Pigovian tax on financial pollution, similar to a carbon tax in its conception. The tax would create a liquidity insurance fund to prevent the kind of correlated runs on banks that precipitated the financial crisis. They also point out that some proposed regulatory reforms, such as higher bank capital ratio requirements, would be counterproductive. An interesting idea.

French Politics Is Child's Play

Via Mark Thoma:

Swiss adults unfamiliar with French politics were shown 57 pairs of photos of opponents from an old French parliamentary election and asked to pick which ones looked most competent. In a separate experiment, Swiss kids ages 5 to 13 played a computer game that enacted Odysseus' trip from Troy to Ithaca. Then, using the same pairs of photos, researchers asked the kids which candidate they'd choose to captain their ship. In both experiments, the adults and children tended to pick the winners of the election.

"Adults and children infer competence in precisely the same way, whether that [person] is six or seven — or 67. That is the shocking finding here," study co-author John Antonakis, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Lausanne, tells "This stereotype is already formed in young childhood, which leads us to suggest this mechanism is innate or develops very, very rapidly at a young age."

So, let me get this straight: Sarko is Odysseus? Is Carla Penelope? And this was published in Science? For the record, the work was not done by the French research establishment, which a certain French leader has dismissed as "mediocre." It comes from Switzerland. How did the Swiss fare in the Shanghai rankings?