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50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!! 

Written by fabiorojas

March 29, 2015 at 12:01 am

gen con stands up for gay rights

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In one the proudest moments in the history of nerdery, GenCon’s ownership has come out against Indiana’s SB 101 bill, which encourages private businesses to discriminate against gay customers:

The organizers of Gen Con, the city’s largest convention in attendance and economic impact, are threatening to move the event elsewhere if Gov. Mike Pence signs controversial religious freedom legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples.

“Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years,” said Adrian Swartout, owner and CEO of Gen Con LLC, in a letter sent to Pence just hours after lawmakers sent the measure to his desk.

Gen Con’s website describes the convention as “the original, longest-running, best-attended gaming convention in the world!” The conference attracted 56,000 people last year to the Indiana Convention Center and has an annual economic impact of more than $50 million, Swartout said in the letter.

“Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds,” she wrote. “We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention.”

Let’s hope that the governor sees the wisdom in vetoing this bill.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

March 27, 2015 at 12:07 am

Posted in current events, fabio

open borders… in the new york times?

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An op-ed in the New York Times makes the case for open borders. From Debunking the Myth of the Job Stealing Immigrant by Adam Davidson:

… Few of us are calling for the thing that basic economic analysis shows would benefit nearly all of us: radically open borders.

And yet the economic benefits of immigration may be the ­most ­settled fact in economics. A recent University of Chicago poll of leading economists could not find a single one who rejected the proposition. (There is one notable economist who wasn’t polled: George Borjas of Harvard, who believes that his fellow economists underestimate the cost of immigration for low-­skilled natives. Borjas’s work is often misused by anti-immigration activists, in much the same way a complicated climate-­science result is often invoked as “proof” that global warming is a myth.) Rationally speaking, we should take in far more immigrants than we currently do.

Outstanding. I hope this spurs more discussion of open borders.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

March 26, 2015 at 12:01 am

orgtheory puzzle: why does sears still exist?

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Puzzle for you all your org behavior/theory of the firm types: Why does Sears still exist? Normally, when we think about why successful firms exist, we think that they have a unique product, fill a niche, or have some sort of incumbent advantage. Or just overly aggressive management. But in a world of Amazon, Target, and Home Depot, it’s difficult to understand what Sears does well. Why aren’t they gobbled up by Lowes or Home Depot? Or dismembered by selling off its prime real estate holdings?

You see the occasional article on the topic. Forbes in 2011 claimed that it was generating good cash flow, which owners used to fund purchases of other firms. But the question is – where is the cash flow coming from? Yahoo readers claim that Sears is less a retailer and more of a holding company for a few brands (like Diehard batteries or Land’s End clothes) that just happen to be sold in Sears big box stores. But you’d think that competition would make this set up hard to sustain. The Forbes article does note a massive drop in sales… yet wiki reports that 793 (!) stores were open in 2014. Please use the comments.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

March 25, 2015 at 12:01 am

b-school profs read their worst evaluations

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Brayden, willing to contribute?

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

March 24, 2015 at 12:01 am

rational choice bleg

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Question for the weekend: I am searching for an example of a theory or empirical work that combines rational choice theory with some other style of social theory. A few candidates:

  • Analytical Marxism
  • Michael Chwe’s theory of ritual and interaction
  • A friend recommended Anthony Giddens’ structuration, as it has goal oriented actors who behave in endogenously created social structures

Other suggestions? Bonuses for recent work, work that is empirical, or accessible to general educated readers.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

March 20, 2015 at 12:01 am

Posted in fabio, just theory

how to judge a phd program

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When people look at PhD programs, they usually base their judgment on the fame of its scholars or the placement of graduates. Fair enough, but any seasoned social scientist will tell you that is a very imperfect way to judge an institution. Why? Performance is often related to resources. In other words, you should expect the wealthiest universities to hire away the best scholars and provide the best environment for training.

Thus, we have a null model for judging PhD program (nothing correlates with success) and a reasonable baseline model (success correlates with money). According to the baseline, PhD program ranks should roughly follow measures of financial resources, like endowments. Thus, the top Ivy League schools should all have elite (top 5) programs in any field in which they choose to compete, anything less is severe under performance. Similarly, for a research school with a modest endowment to have a top program (say Rutgers in philosophy) is wild over performance.

According to this wiki on university endowments, the top ten wealthiest institutions are Harvard, Texas (whole system), Yale, Stanford, MIT, Texas A&M (whole system), Northwestern, Michigan, and Penn. This matches roughly with what you’d expect, except that Texas and Texas A&M are top flight engineering and medicine but much weaker in arts and sciences (compared to their endowment rank). This is why I remain impressed with my colleagues at Indiana sociology. Our system wide endowment is ranked #46 but our soc programs hovers in that 10-15 range. We’re pulling our weight.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

March 19, 2015 at 12:34 am

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