Archive for January 1st, 2010

Economics of Crime

January 1, 2010

Here is classic piece by Gary BeckerEconomics of Crime (it is a heavy pdf file around 7 MB). Becker got the Nobel prize for precisely this kind of work –

for having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behaviour and interaction, including nonmarket behaviour

I am afraid I have not read much of his work.  So this piece was a big welcome. He discusses the economic approach to crime and how people are rational while committing a crime. They usually know the costs and benefits before committing a crime. He also suggests policy options.

Quite refreshing.


I was thinking of putting this as the first post for the day but decided against it. It would not really have been the ideal way to start this new year with a blogpost on crime.

Breakthrough ideas for 2010

January 1, 2010

Paul Romer of Stanford University and in the charter cities blog points to a super article from Harvard Business Review. The article  is about 10 breakthrough ideas for 2010. I thought reading the piece could be one of the things to read starting 2010.

The 10 ideas in brief are:

  1. What really motivates workers? It is Progress of employees
  2. Technology that can revolutionise healthcare? Using technology (like email, video conferencing and health e-kiosks) to remotely monitor patients health conditions. This would avoid patients visit to doctors and help doctors serve more number of patients as well. This I thought was a pretty common idea in healthcare facilities.
  3. How to managing financial innovation so that it doesn’t disrupt the entire economy like in this crisis? Build a R&D centre that designs, analyses, prototype and troubleshoot financial innovations
  4. How to ensure less failures and get the drugs we want in pharma industry? A common standard for sharing drug asset data
  5. How to build green technology/areas? As all greening business is capital-intensive, it does not take off without govt support. The idea here is to issue clean energy bonds to fund these projects
  6. How to get university ideas faster into market? Lots of univ ideas get stuck because  of licencing issues. In US most univs have their licencing office which take time. Let the univ professor to choose his own university affiliated licencing body for his idea.
  7. How to prevent hackers? Well simple, let them be  a part of the system
  8. How to spot financial bubbles? Sendhil Mullainathan, Behavioral economics professor at Harvard Univ suggests building a lab based on beh eco principles to try and identify bubbles early.
  9. How to help countries develop? Build Charter cities. the essay is by Paul Romer himself
  10. Why should only nation states shape international affairs? Let’s make some room for international diplomacy.

Useful stuff. But reading the whole thing is quite good. Though some ideas you think should already have been implemented, but never mind. May be 6th idea needs to be pressed hard.

Four ideas are based on economics and two on preventing financial crisis in future. So economics does form bulk of the list.

Useful way to begin 2010.


TTR Blog points to FT’s 2010 outlook. This is also an intersting read

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