Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Baptists and bootleggers and other news and views for Wednesday 23 April

23-04-2014 asteroids
  • Asteroid impact risks ‘underappreciated’
  • Earth Day: A Baptists and Bootleggers Story – “Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970. It is now observed in 192 countries, and is coordinated by the Earth Day Network. Bruce Yandle offers a hard-eyed look at how the original Earth Day affected U.S. environmental legislation in How Earth Day Triggered Environmental Rent Seeking… One of Yandle’s signature insights is the idea of a ‘Baptists-and-bootleggers’ coalition. Who favored prohibition of alcohol sales? Baptists, on moral grounds, and bootleggers, because government prohibition would limit competition and boost their profits. He makes a strong argument that Earth Day led to a similar environmentalists-and-industrialists coalition, in which environmentalists pushed for laws to reduce pollution, and industrialists pushed for anti-pollution laws that would hinder their competition.”
  • Tony Blair: ‘West should focus on radical Islam’ – “Western leaders must ‘elevate the issue of religious extremism to the top of the agenda’. And they must co-operate with other countries – ‘in particular, Russia and China’ – regardless of ‘other differences’.”
  • Human capital and income inequality: Some facts and some puzzles – “Most developing countries have made a great effort to eradicate illiteracy. As a result, the inequality in the distribution of education has been reduced by more than half from 1950 to 2010. However, inequality in the distribution of income has hardly changed. This column presents evidence from a new dataset on human capital inequality. The authors find that increasing returns to education, globalisation, and skill-biased technological change can explain why the fall in human capital inequality has not been sufficient to reduce income inequality.”
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