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Wednesday Links

  1. Don’t believe the China hype (The Atlantic).
  2. The Trayvon generation (The New Yorker).
  3. COVID-19 was never “under control” in the US (Slate).
  4. What’s a coronavirus superspreader? (MIT Technology Review).
  5. What has the Trump administration done with half a trillion dollars? (The Washington Post).
  6. China’s Belt and Road urged to take the green route (The Financial Times).
  7. How the protests swept the world (New Statesman).
  8. Hong Kong’s special status: what’s happening and what’s next (CSIS).
  9. The state of U.S. strategic stockpiles (Council on Foreign Relations).
  10. Trade policy under a Biden administration (Cato Institute).
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Research Program

America’s Surveillance State

A recent Intelligence and National Security article by Adam M. McMahon on the United States surveillance state:

The U.S. Congress established the foundation of today’s surveillance state nearly a half century ago as it sought to regulate and prevent criminal activity: the Banking Secrecy Act to target tax evasion by individuals and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to create oversight of wiretapping activities by law enforcement. Over time, additional functions were layered onto the existing institutional infrastructure, such as combating illicit drugs. September 11th, 2001 served as a critical juncture, reorienting the regime yet again to support the counter terror mission, despite persistent inefficiency and simultaneous risks to the civil liberties of Americans.

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Tuesday Links

  1. Civil rights law protects LGBT workers, Supreme Court rules (New York Times).
  2. The Supreme Court upends the Civil Rights Act (Heritage Foundation).
  3. Renew Normal: life after COVID-19 (Demos).
  4. The geopolitics of Alaska (The National Interest).
  5. The racist roots of new technology (The Nation).
  6. What to do now if you sold in the March collapse (Ritholtz).
  7. The need for a climate smart foreign policy (CSIS).
  8. How brain scanners can help us revolutionise psychiatric drugs (New Scientist).
  9. The return of Patti Smith (Village Voice).
  10. 12 books by black women authors to add to your to-read list (Bust).

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Day Trading’s Return

Day trading – a Dotcom era symbol – has returned since March 2020 in Australia and the United States. Australians are using a COVID-19 policy to withdraw their superannuation, and to bet on airline and tourism stocks. Few have a system or understand the transaction costs involved. Sports betting maven Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) has launched #DDTG and mobilised Robinhood platform day traders using no-commission trades to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Hertz has responded to retail traders by announcing a secondary stock offering whilst also being in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It feels like deja vu, again.

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Monday Links

  1. Spike Lee’s most ambitious film yet (The Atlantic).
  2. The fossil fuel industry’s political influence (The New Republic).
  3. The grandmaster who got Twitch hooked on chess (Wired).
  4. The megacity is dead (Bloomberg).
  5. The glittering, exploitative global party circuit (Slate).
  6. Becoming and living as a happy academic (Duck of Minerva).
  7. COVID-19 and societal instability (CSIS).
  8. Jazz and freedom movements (MotherJones).
  9. CALPERS’ $80 billion leverage plan (Financial Times).
  10. We’re in a ‘liminal’ moment (Christian Science Monitor).
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Research Program

Tax Evasion and Financial Instability

Peterson K. Ozili has a new article in the Journal of Financial Crime on tax evasion:

The paper shows that tax evasion can reduce the tax revenue available to governments to manage the economy and can weaken the government’s ability to promote stability in financial systems, whereas on the contrary, taxpayers who evade taxes feel they can use the evaded tax money to rather improve their own financial stability.

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Sunday Links

  1. Architecture and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. What did you really read during lockdown?
  3. Jim Simons’ Renaissance hedge fund loses 20%.
  4. Facebook’s deepfakes database.
  5. The Minneapolis utopian sanctuary.
  6. Alex Garland may be too good for this world.
  7. Three takeaways on the protests for racial equality.
  8. Racism and the task ahead for the 2021 White House.
  9. Powers, norms and institutions in Southeast Asia.
  10. The age of magic money (Sebastian Mallaby).

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Saturday Links

  1. Shirley Jackson and the horrors of marriage.
  2. Coronavirus contract tracing and reopening.
  3. Plastic rain is the new acid rain.
  4. On mentorship and diversity.
  5. Why the United Nations needs its international partners.
  6. Another bad economic idea has come into fruition.
  7. The tragedy unfolding in Brazil.
  8. The violence didn’t start with the protests.
  9. Bosses are making coronavirus worse for their benefit (Noam Chomsky).
  10. The changes in JobKeeper.

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Research Program

Financial Integration and Growth in a Risky World

A new Journal of Monetary Economics article from Nicolas Coeurdacier, Helene Rey, and Pablo Winant on how financial integration can transform the capital flows between two countries:

We revisit the debate on the benefits of financial integration in a two-country neoclassical growth model with aggregate uncertainty. The framework accounts simultaneously for gains from a more efficient capital allocation and gains from risk sharing—together with their interaction. Global numerical methods allow for meaningful welfare comparisons. Gains from integration are quantitatively small, even for riskier and capital scarce emerging economies. These countries import capital for efficiency reasons before exporting it for self-insurance, leading to capital flows and growth reversals along the transition. This opens the door to richer empirical implications than previously considered in the literature.

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Research Program

Secular Labor Reallocation and Business Cycles

This is the title of a new Journal of Political Economy article by Gabriel Chodorow-Reich and Johannes Wieland which advances the current debate on business cycles, labour reallocation, and possible job losses. Here is the abstract:

We revisit an old question: does industry labor reallocation affect the business cycle? Our empirical methodology exploits variation in a local labor market’s exposure to industry reallocation on the basis of the area’s initial industry composition and national industry employment trends for identification. Applied to confidential employment data over 1980–2014, we find sharp evidence of reallocation contributing to higher local area unemployment if it occurs during a national recession but little difference in outcomes during an expansion. A multiarea, multisector search-and-matching model with imperfect mobility across industries and downward nominal wage rigidity can reproduce these cross-sectional patterns.