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Nobel Economist Esther Duflo Says 1980 Miami Mariel Boatlift Proves the Effect of Low-Skill Immigration on Wages Is "Zero"
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Recent (quasi) Nobel in Economics laureate Esther Duflo is out hyping her new book using her absolute certainty that the Law of Supply and Demand doesn’t apply to low-skilled immigration, as proven by David Card’s study of the 1980 Cuban Mariel Boatlift influx into Miami. Duflo notes that wages didn’t much decline in Miami over 1980-1984 despite the sudden increase in supply compared to a control group of otherwise similar cities such as Atlanta and Houston.

Of course, Card’s control cities weren’t otherwise identical to Miami’s trajectory in 1980-1984. For example, Houston’s oil-driven economy collapsed in early 1982. But that’s relatively obscure economic history compared to the lurid enduring fame of what was going on in Miami at the same time as the Mariel Boatlift.

Yet, after all these years, professional economists remain wholly ignorant of what else was going on in Miami in 1980-84 other than the effects of the Mariel Boatlift, even though the fact that the 1980 Mariel Boatlift coincided with Miami’s 1980-1984 Cocaine Boom was the subject of one of the most influential movies of the 1980s, Scarface.

As I wrote in VDARE.com way back in 2006:

Now, I’m not the world’s worldliest man, but I did spend a week in South Florida during that summer of 1980. And even I noticed that in every bar I visited, the locals greeted rapturously a certain annoying Eric Clapton recording:

“If you wanna hang out
You’ve got to take her out;
Cocaine.
If you wanna get down,
Down on the ground;
Cocaine.
She don’t lie,
She don’t lie,
She don’t lie;
Cocaine.”

Eventually, it dawned on me that Miami was the ultimate cocaine-importing boomtown.

And this fact is not an obscure bit of local economic history—it had a vast impact on popular culture. You might think that economists and economic journalists like Lowenstein would remember the highly memorable 1983 movie Scarface, with Al Pacino playing Tony “Say hello to my little friend” Montana, a Mariel boatlift refugee who becomes the kingpin of the Miami cocaine rackets. Scarface has since become the favorite film of gangsta rappers.

Or, if economists don’t get out to the movies much, perhaps they saw an episode or two of the enormously influential 1984-1989 television series Miami Vice, which fetishized the ludicrous amounts of drug money flowing through Miami in the aftermath of the Mariel boatlift.

Just to prove to economists that I’m not Making It All Up about 1980s Miami and cocaine, here’s an academic paper on the topic:

The Economic Impact of Andean Cocaine Traffic on Florida
Robert Grosse
Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Winter, 1990), pp. 137-159
Published by: Cambridge University Press

Something I’ve noticed is that economists tend to see the vast fame of an economic event as a reason for ignoring it. I once got an economist to actually respond to my examples:

Steve Sailer on December 15, 2015 at 4:21 pm said:
Has nobody in the history of the economics profession remembered what was happening in Miami to boost wages locally in the years immediately following the Mariel Boatlift of 1980? Has no economist ever watched “Miami Vice,” “Scarface,” or the new Netflix series “Narcos?” Ceteris was very much not paribus in Miami in the early 1980s due to the most famous Cocaine Boom in history.

David Roodman on December 15, 2015 at 6:49 pm said:
I did just read about how Marco Rubio’s brother-in-law was a drug dealer. But I don’t see how anecdotal evidence like that or fiction would help me assess the impact of the Mariel boatlift on wages in Miami.

I gather that the assumption is that precisely because there are so many anecdotes and so many works of famous fiction about the Miami Cocaine Boom that began in 1980, that that is precisely why we certified economists cannot allow ourselves to take notice of it.

I’m fascinated by the psychology of why economists have been so adamant about refusing to notice the Miami Cocaine Boom after 13 years of my nagging them about it. Any suggestions?

It strikes me that a lot of not that bright academics see my ability to engage in pattern recognition by integrating disparate sources of information as some kind of witchcraft that they’ve been warned to resist.

 
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  1. anon[441] • Disclaimer says:

  2. The documentary “Cocaine Cowboys” is super worth a watch.

    • Replies: @Polynikes
    , @Charon
  3. res says:

    I’m fascinated by the psychology of why economists have been so adamant about refusing to notice the Miami Cocaine Boom after 13 years of my nagging them about it. Any suggestions?

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Upton Sinclair
    https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/11/30/salary/

    P.S. Any thoughts on an over/under for how many times this quote gets posted in this thread? I’ll go with five.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  4. Anonymous[332] • Disclaimer says:

    the Law of Supply and Demand doesn’t apply to low-skilled immigration

    You’re alluding to the wage-fund doctrine, which economists haven’t subscribed to for more than 150 years:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wage_fund_theory

    The wage–fund doctrine is a concept from early economic theory that seeks to show that the amount of money a worker earns in wages, paid to them from a fixed amount of funds available to employers each year (capital), is determined by the relationship of wages and capital to any changes in population…

    The economists who first stated this relationship assumed that the amount of capital available in a given year to pay wages was an unchanging amount. So they thought that as the population changed so too would the wages of workers. If the population increased, but the amount of money available to pay as wages stayed the same, the results might be all workers would make less, or if one worker made more, another would have to make less to make up for it and workers would struggle to earn enough money to provide for basic living requirements.

    Later economists determined that the relationship of capital and wages was more complex than originally thought. This is because capital in a given year is not necessarily a fixed amount, and the wage–fund doctrine was eventually abandoned in favor of later models.

  5. Anonymous[208] • Disclaimer says:

    Professional Economics is a highly demanding inverse of engineering.

    They must pass professional scrutiny that everything is correctly wrong.

    • Replies: @Anon
  6. Eyeless In Miami?

    Women in the workplace –
    Tony Montana [speaking to wife]: You got nothing to do with your life, man. Why don’t you get a job? Do something, be a nurse. Work with blind kids, lepers*, that kind of thing.

    Tony has a problem with family formation:
    https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/a685aaea-3ec3-4529-9c83-257b2ffaf332

    Any data on rents in Miami?

    * fingerless in Miami & Gaza?

  7. glt says:

    I gather that the assumption is that precisely because there are so many anecdotes and so many works of famous fiction about the Miami Cocaine Boom that began in 1980, that that is precisely why we certified economists cannot allow ourselves to take notice of it.

    If they’re anything like financial academics, it’s more the lack of (or difficulty in obtaining) relevant data for analysis. There is a lot more published on what is quantifiable than what is important. If so, a (unworkable) suggestion to get the economists on board might be an experiment using strict e-verify enforcement in some metro areas but not in control areas. I think you could get some economists on board with this – but of course no politicians.

  8. J.Ross says:

    Why do economists appear to reject widely known things?

    Economists see themselves as a counterpart to the cartoon representation of a scientist, revealing to bumpkins that their fairy tale explanation of natural phenomena is wrong, but that the truth is accessible and exploitable, provided they merely listen attentively. You thought the mechanism of action was X — and if you based policy on that, you’d fail, because it’s really Y. When you memorize that as a ritual it is inevitable that what “everybody knows” must be shoehorned into the slot where it is the rooster that makes the sun come up. If we already know the crucial thing, what do we need the economist for? And of course there’s plenty of cases where a wrong or downright dumb belief is widespread. I’m not sure I can present a case where an economist was objectively right, though. But I do recall that with all the economists I’ve read, in lectures, articles, books, and textbooks, they almost all rely heavily on the template “everybody thinks it’s X but it’s actually Y.” This is the frame in which economic explanations are presented. Galbraith presented leftish economics this way, Hazlitt presented rightish economics this way, a recent BBC radio feature presented brief histories of innovation in about this frame, and Hudson talls about economics in ancient history in these terms.

    • Replies: @Neil Templeton
    , @Pericles
  9. Nobel Economist Esther Duflo Says 1980-84 Miami Proves the Effect of Low-Skill Immigration on Wages Is “Zero”

    Actually, “zero” is the goal, not the effect.

    As in zero wages.

    Miami was about the last major airport to install rental baggage trolleys. The (Hispanic) porters’ union managed to keep them out for decades. For almost 20 years after Mariel. Cash, or carry.

    Esther Duflo = Feedlot rush.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  10. Steve2 [AKA "StillSteve"] says:

    Challenge her analysis on basis of documentation regarding money supply in Miami at that time. Did it go way up?

    Did the Marielitos even work. Why assume they did? Were there actually more people working?

    Mainstream Economists are slags. Why does anyone believe these people?

    • Replies: @reactionry
  11. This one study just won’t die. As expected, bad research that fits the Narrative persists indefinitely. See also Gould and his “debunking” of the skull study.

    Anyway here is Borjas pointing out that native Americans matched to the skills of the immigrants suffered a 10%-30% wage drop, depending on which city is used as a control:
    https://www.nber.org/papers/w21588

    Anyway anyway, the economist from the post also said low-skilled immigrants were replaced with mechanization. I’m not sure how that increase in productivity can be considered a bad thing.

  12. fnn says:

    This interview is a great example of a scientist using her status to paint her own political opinions as scientific facts by 1) misrepresenting the evidence and 2) drawing conclusions that wouldn't follow even if she had not misrepresented the evidence. 1/n https://t.co/FBmzfm8As2— Philippe Lemoine (@phl43) November 14, 2019

  13. @Steve2

    “Did the Marielitos even work?”

    Immigrant upward mobility and entrepreneurial ambition in Miami:

  14. anon[315] • Disclaimer says:

    I’m just another anon, doing the job nobody else will.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    , @El Dato
  15. bjondo says:

    Think with the arrival of the feared and fearsome Marielitos
    Miami hired lots more police. Took a few bums off the streets.
    Put ’em into cars with AC and big trunks to hold “stuff”.

    The Marielitos got more press than
    the Libyan hit team coming to America.

    https://www.wrmea.org/the-libyan-hit-squad-hoax.html

    Good old days the early 80s.
    Could drag a duffel bag fulllll of money
    into a bank no problem.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  16. Michael S says:

    The fallacy is so obvious that “economists” missing it can only be attributed to crimestop: wages may not have gone down, but how do we know that wages would not have gone up without the immigration?

    Answer: because immigration obviously doesn’t drive down wages. The argument is inherently circular once you scratch even an inch below the surface.

  17. Polynikes says:
    @Paleo Retiree

    That’s the first thing I thought of. It does a great job of laying out how the cocaine money fueled an economic boom in Miami.

  18. Naturally. That’s why the sources of unskilled immigration are always economic dynamos.

    • Agree: ben tillman
  19. anon[315] • Disclaimer says:

    You thought the mechanism of action was X — and if you based policy on that, you’d fail, because it’s really Y. When you memorize that as a ritual it is inevitable that what “everybody knows” must be shoehorned into the slot where it is the rooster that makes the sun come up.

  20. The late great Sam Kinison once told this joke:

    “I had a cocaine problem so I moved to Miami.

    Once I got there cocaine was forty bucks a gram.

    No fucking problem.”

  21. Is Esther Duflo an ex-men?

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Rob McX
  22. @J.Ross

    That kind of societal analysis used to be a high risk occupation. I believe the title was Shaman.

  23. J.Ross says:

    Return To Clown World, The Revenge: Drowning In Clowning
    Some of you may recall the controversy-avoiding satirical cartoon “South Park” from its episodes about necromantic huckster Jon Edward literally being the biggest douche in the universe, media-controlling Jews snorting cocaine from each other’s rear ends, Hollywood producers being pedophiles (this one turned out to be debunked-by-snopes by the way), or Pokemon being a Japanese Imperial re-activation plot. However, as the cutting edge journalism at sonething called “Too Fab” discovered, “South Park” has veered into controversial territory with a controversial topic: should men be paid to publicly beat women?
    https://flipboard.com/@TooFab/south-park-sparks-controversy-with-jokes-about-trans-athletes/a-WYxo1utySzKNUB9h0F4L9A%3Aa%3A2224230501-fa21d5e2d8%2Ftoofab.com

  24. newrouter says:

    “There is no reason to fear low-skilled economists.”

    • LOL: Rosie
  25. Anon[126] • Disclaimer says:

    One of Steve’s superpowers is the very simple instinct to not take at face value the results of a manipulation of data using various assumptions and filters, but to dig down a little deeper and ask if there might be some factor that wasn’t considered by the researchers that affects the position of a piece of data in the sort. With large databases you cannot think of everything, but you can look at the key results, the top results, the results at the tails, or surprising results in the middle that you thought would be at the tails, and ask dig a little deeper. Add some more fields to the database records and see if they change anything. Percentage of population living on Indian reservations. Weird stuff like that that would never make the first cut in a research protocol, but which may explain everything.

  26. David Roodman on December 15, 2015 at 6:49 pm said:
    I did just read about how Marco Rubio’s brother-in-law was a drug dealer. But I don’t see how anecdotal evidence like that or fiction would help me assess the impact of the Mariel boatlift on wages in Miami.

    It’s not supposed to help you assess that impact. It’s supposed to tell you that you can’t.

    • Agree: kaganovitch
  27. Neoconned says:

    Several years back, I engaged with a masters level economist who posted on a message forum that I frequented. We’d discuss economics, politics etc in the off topic general discussion forum. Anyway, when I posted a news article about how NY Bank Mellon was trying to CHARGE people a fee to hold their money at the bank instead of YOU KNOW THE BANK PAYING YOU INTEREST he smugly laughed and said the interest paying accounts were a recent creation or some such.

    Although he came from an upper crust background he always seemed to magically think that the laws of supply/demand somehow didnt apply to labor.

    For instance I tried to explain how I was pro union and how the aging of the population would make low skilled and even mid skilled jobs go up in cost due to older workers retiring or moving on to new jobs, careers or trades that werent as physical and demanding.

    No, he said. I was full of sh*t. Labor cost wasnt a function of demographics or immigration he chided me….he showed me some paper that proved it. After a while I figured out he was like most claimed Democrats or progressives…..he only cared about gave a crud about abortion, LGBT whatever issues, and other social wedge issue stuff like gun control.

    To him Bush dropping 3 ton bombs on young brown children in the Middle East in the name of democracy didn’t matter. When Obama dropped bombs on 3 year old Arab kids because Bush neocon holdovers at the CIA said it was proper to do so then that was cool because he was a Democrat.

    Fighting terrorism was okay damn tje kids who died inn the process

  28. @Anon

    Does the recent trend toward preregistration make statistical analyses dumber by restricting factors to ones the researchers were aware of before they started?

    For example, when I started analyzing Raj Chetty’s data a half dozen years ago, I wasn’t yet aware that the northern Great Plains were booming in 2010-2011 due to Chinese demand for resources, while North Carolina was still hammered flat by 2008. But that turned out to explain a lot of Chetty’s results.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  29. Anon[126] • Disclaimer says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    Is Esther Duflo an ex-men?

    This is the first thing that occurred to me, that face, a super-macho academic field, even the voice. But wouldn’t the headline be “First Trans Nobel laureate”? Well, maybe not, I thought. Outing and deadnaming trannies is verboten in the mainstream media. Even “Bruce Jenner” in reference to the Olympics gets criticized.

    But she seems to be a she, with two kids.

    • Replies: @TheMediumIsTheMassage
  30. Esther Duflo’s Nobel Prize may be deserved — she has in fact been doing pretty interesting work in the area of social experiments to determine incentives, using basic science principles such as establishing control groups to test single variables — such as,

    will stupid poor people in malaria infested hell holes use mosquito nets if they pay for them, or if they don’t pay for them, will they use them for fishing nets instead? (since food may be more important than malaria, all other things being equal, as the saying goes).

    In the same way we might ask if Paul Krugman’s work on economies of scale and economic geography deserves the Nobel Prize he won.

    Either way, we don’t want either of them making social and economic policy, because they are both shitlibs.

  31. Neoconned says:
    @Anonymous

    In other words another variation of the “lump of labor” hypothesis nonsense.

    This really isnt that hard a concept to grasp(forgive me ahead of time if I’m reading you WRONG but I get the impression you think the laws of supply and demand somehow magically don’t apply to the labor force)……but it does seem you talking elaborate nonsense to explain away common sense.

    There are only “x” number of jobs in the economy…..thats why there are something like 90 to 100 MILLION Americans “not in the labor force”….

    Now, the number of unskilled jobs thats available to Jane and Joe Jackass on the street is denoted “x=y” where y is the number of SKILLED OR CREDENTIALED JOBS that Sam and Sara Snob can apply for and get….

    If a local McD’s franchise and say a Wendy’s and a Subway are the ONLY 3 employers by an interstate exchange…..and let’s say in total these 3 employers only employ COMBINED 150 ppl….and I’m being generous…..and there are 4k adults in said town OBVIOUSLY there will be say AT LEAST 5 to applicants for every job opening but whatever you already knew that.

    Where as like in big cities you have more crap service jobs than takers…..like in LA…..well the minimum wage can be 15 to 20$ per hr an hour and you can still have a SHORTAGE of job takers.

    The fact you dont get this basic concept tells me you probably have never broken a sweat in your bourgeoisie life. Much less youve never flipped a burger or pressure washed ANYTHING in your life….

    I can….i have the burn scars and the partially carpal tunneled calloused hands to prove it

    Up til recently my trade has been what you’d probably deride as “Mexican work”….

  32. Sean says:

    http://www.hungarianreview.com/article/20170125_how_much_is_too_much_reflections_on_paul_collier_s_exodus

    Both the narratives that immigration drives down wages for indigenous workers and that immigration is economically necessary are false. The truth is that moderate migration has economic effects on the indigenous population that in the short and medium term are mar- ginal and most probably positive. Any long term effects are negligible. In contrast, sustained rapid migration would most likely lower the living standards of most of the indigenous population, both through wage effects and through the need to share scarce public capital. So while controls on migration are important to protect living stan- dards, moderate migration is modestly advantageous. (Paul Collier)

    “In the medium term the tendency of immigrants to succeed raises incomes but may squeeze indigenes out of glittering prizes. In the long term any economic effects are trivial. The one clear long-term effect [in a country with limited territory like Britain] is that there is less open space per person.”14 He dismisses the oft quoted need for immigrants to replace the workers lost to retirement as a problem caused by the “ineptitude” and cowardice of politicians, who have failed to raise the pensionable age in line with rising life expectancy. In any case, working migrants have both children and parents, which means that the dependency ratio may not decrease. Indeed a Danish professor has concluded that sustained migration may render Scandinavian levels of welfare unsustainable “because of the higher dependency ratios and lower skill levels of migrants”. Collier is also refreshingly robust in his attitude to businesses that prefer importing ultra-cheap labour to training indigenous workers and paying a decent wage: as he remarks drily, “The divergence of interest between business and citizens should make people sceptical of its pronouncements on migration policy” [….}. “Nations”, says Collier, “are [today] challenged from above both formally by the transfer of power to larger entities such as the European Union and culturally by the emergence of globalised educated elites that mock at national identity. Yet that identity is enormously important as a force for equity.” Some of our leaders and top intellectuals seem determined to learn this profoundly true remark the hard way.

    • Agree: ben tillman
  33. Mr. Anon says:

    Even apart from any effects due to the Miami Yayo Rush of the Snortin’ 80s, isn’t it kind of silly to base such a sweeping hypothesis on data from just three cities over just four years?

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  34. @Anon

    A bit of research seems to indicate Ms Esther was slightly more feminine-looking when younger, so ‘she’ may in fact be the right pronoun:

    Still, in that video Ms Esther literally looks like a dude in a wig. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more masculine-looking white woman. I’m amazed she’s doesn’t appear to be a lesbian either. And in economics! I’m experiencing pattern recognition cognitive dissonance.

    • Replies: @SimpleSong
  35. @Anon

    Yes, look at the low probability events. Miami is inundated with cocaine. Fracking. Meteor annihilates dinosaurs. Successful constitutional republic commits suicide in decision to admit titanic numbers of immigrants without shared values. Key on low probability events to explain Britain and its diaspora.

  36. Any suggestions?

    Autism

  37. @MikeatMikedotMike

    Mr. Esther Duflo.

    Aka Abhijit Banerjee, he was a co-winner of the prize.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  38. @Anon

    Steve’s superpower is that he grew up before the internet.

    Ignorance is a survival mechanism in the face of an overwhelming flood of data. It will take a generation or ten to adjust to it, just as it did with the Printing Press.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan
  39. Altai [AKA "Altai_3"] says:

    I’m fascinated by the psychology of why economists have been so adamant about refusing to notice the Miami Cocaine Boom after 13 years of my nagging them about it. Any suggestions?

    It strikes me that a lot of not that bright academics see my ability to engage in pattern recognition by integrating disparate sources of information as some kind of witchcraft that they’ve been warned to resist.

    One reason that it often seems like economics is full of priests is because it’s the same kind of psychology that motivates them.

    They will deliberately come up with counter-intuitive ideas in order to maintain their status as gatekeepers of the sacred economics knowledge. It’s part of their identity. You see a similar attitude in a lot of doctors too. You see it increasingly with a lot of people in other fields, ie the ‘X-ologist here! Actually…’ responses you see increasingly on the internet. (Americans born after 1980 more and more sound like quirky 19 year old girls on the internet no matter their sex or age.)

    You’re just some former marketing guy, you don’t have a PhD in economics, therefore you never made your sacred communion with the economics gods and cannot speak the truth on such issues.

    In no real field would anybody still look at a single study from nearly 40 years ago on something as unstable as the dynamics of wage growth and be satisfied that there is no more work to be done. (Except Sociology or Psychology)

  40. @Anonymous

    You’re alluding to the wage-fund doctrine, which economists haven’t subscribed to for more than 150 years:

    No. He is refering precisely to the law of supply and demand, exactly as he said.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  41. Altai [AKA "Altai_3"] says:
    @Anonymous

    The problem is, massive influxes of capital or endogenous creation thereof, are extremely rare. So the more predictive model over time is to assume that a stable enough amount of capital resides in an economy. And even if you do have some, there is no guarantee that this capital will flow through the economy. All that money that exists in the banks in the City of London means there is theoretically lots of capital there, but it’s frozen like a glacier in those banks and doesn’t make it’s way out much except to shareholders. (Rich people worked out the way to be rich is to hoard and accumulate capital, go figure!)

    Look at China, right now there is a massive influx of foreign capital that won’t ever be repeated. Eventually the GDP will stablise somewhere, likely well below what the CCP would like it to, but it will be like a balanced chemical reaction, there just won’t be a logic for more massive capital flows.

    For an example of two economies that demonstrate the pattern given in the wage fund model, Egypt and the Philippines whose governments make explicit mention of the problem of rampant population growth to economic prosperity.

  42. @PiltdownMan

    More seriously, Esther Duflo, her husband Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer were awarded their prize “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

    Some of that work is quite neat, but Abhijit Banerjee’s principal contribution seems to have been to organize a global poverty reduction institute at MIT. The Swedish Bank and the Nobel people made much of a husband-wife team getting the prize.

    Banerjee used to be married to a fellow Indian professor at Harvard, and the much-younger Duflo used to be his graduate Ph.D. student.

    My friend, who is a working economist who has worked on global poverty for decades, said that a couple of people who were widely expected to win the prize alongside Duflo lost out to Banerjee.

    John List came up with many really cleverly designed field experiments, and Senthil Mullainathan, a data scientist, developed the subtle math and data analysis techniques that made it all possible. Both are professors at the University of Chicago.

    • Replies: @Altai
    , @Nicholas Stix
  43. anonymous[282] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    On a separate immigration issue, the London Review of Books, in a review of Stephen Smith’s “The Scramble for Europe”, details the significant military effort the Europeans are putting into intercepting migrants at the south end of the Sahara – a not insignificant effort with thousands of troops from various countries. The reviewer doesn’t like the effort, but what I think is remarkable is that the media of all sorts has been totally dark about this.

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n21/thomas-meaney/whos-your-dance-partner

    • Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian
  44. Abe says:

    Low-skilled migration does not reduce wages. Stopping low-skilled immigration does not increase wages. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not aware of the facts.

    Listen to the Nobel prize-winning economist Esther Duflo explain the truth here.

    So there. Listen to The Truth. Kneel before it. Worship it. Does anyone else get the distinct impression by the writer’s tone that the next step is to silence anyone who does not wholeheartedly accept The Truth, whether it be The Truth of Say’s Law (supply creates its own demand) or The Truth of Lamarckism (stick anyone in an elite job or college program and by virtue of repeatedly performing the tasks of that new job or program they develop the mental traits necessary to excel at it).

    Funny how 100 years after Einstein’s discovery of relativity, serious, elite physical scientists with 160+ IQs are still taking him at his word to ‘prove me wrong’ and conducting the sort of experiments that can only shatter what’s been built without necessarily replacing it with something new- and at exorbitant multi-million $ cost! But in the bizzaro sciences of sociology and economics and anthropology it’s always- “Here is The Truth (so stop your questioning). End of subject (if you know what’s good for you).”

    • Agree: jim jones
  45. @Reg Cæsar

    It would be inconceivable for a movie maker today to open his movie with the explicit premise, opening shots, and opening text of Brian De Palma’sScarface — that an uncontrolled influx of refugees into America can and will include a significant proportion of criminals and social misfits.

    I wonder if that’s where, way back in his New York City days, President Trump picked up on the idea that he put forth a couple of years ago, about uncontrolled illegal immigration over the Mexican border? I watched the movie in New York City on Christmas Day in 1983, and the subject matter very much fit in with a certain zeitgeist that was around.

    The other opening scene that would cause people to have a fit today is the clip that Mr. Sailer posted above. It depicts immigration officers doing their job professionally, taking a skeptical and hard-nosed approach to questioning Tony Montana, but ultimately, being helpless in unmasking his lies.

    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe
  46. Esher Duflo is, of course, full of it. I observed the exact opposite; low-skill immigrant labor definitely does depress wages.

    Between 1990 and 2010 I did business as an independent long-distance mover, and as such, was a heavy user of casual, low-skill labor. I was based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but a lot of my business involved runs to Portland and Seattle.

    At the time, the great brown tide had swamped the Bay Area, but had yet to indundate the Pacific Northwest — so the supply of low-skill immigrant labor had mushroomed in the Bay Area, but it was still basically white kids up in the Northwest.

    Now, the cost of living back then was a lot lower in the Pacific Northwest…yet the going rate for casual labor was a lot higher than in the Bay Area. Back in the Bay Area, I could get away with paying $10 an hour but usually used to pay $12 if the guy did a decent job. Up in Portland/Seattle, it was always more like $15.

    This is still the situation — and not just for low-skill labor. Back in the Bay Area, I could get a perfectly competent Guatemalan carpenter-and-general-builder for $100 a day — this in an area where rent for an apartment could easily be $2000 a month. Up here in provincial Oregon where I live now, rent for an apartment is still more like $600 a month — but you’re going to have to pay more like $200 a day if you want someone who works hard and knows what they’re doing.

    …Of course, everyone around here is still white. Coincidence, I guess.

  47. @anon

    Miami Vice was, of course, inspired by Scarface.

    That TV show’s opening credits electronic synth-pop tune by Jan Hammer immediately set the mood in the audience in late 1984, who remembered Debbie Harry’s Rush Rush electronica-pop song from Scarface from the previous year, composed by the German Giorgio Moroder.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  48. I’m fascinated by the psychology of why economists have been so adamant about refusing to notice the Miami Cocaine Boom after 13 years of my nagging them about it. Any suggestions?

    It is considered bad luck to write about the 1980’s cocaine traffic.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Webb

  49. Anonymous[348] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    The question is, supply and demand of what?

    By supply, he means the number of laborers, and by demand, he means the fund or capital available to be paid out in wages to the laborers.

    The formula is Wage = Capital / Laborers.

    The implication is that as the divisor, the number of laborers, goes up, the quotient, the wage, goes down. As laborers go down, the wage goes up. There’s an inverse relation between wages and laborers.

    This is precisely the wage-fund doctrine.

  50. See the numbers of the Federal Reserve for cash surpluses in the Miami area then.
    Hundreds of millions of dollars–unexplained and unprecedented.

    This is exactly what spurred the new laws that force banks to report shenanagins.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  51. Altai [AKA "Altai_3"] says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Another way economists are more like priests than professionals or scientists, it becomes hereditary and a special class, economists marrying other economists having children and grandchildren who also become economists. So many examples of these families, like Janet Yellen’s.

    This just intensifies the guru-ism and schools of thought that characterise the profession, which is itself an echo of religious philosophy.

  52. PapayaSF says:

    What astounds me is that Duflo is proclaiming an exception to a basic principle of economics with so little evidence. It’s like saying that total vehicle weight doesn’t effect fuel mileage because some studies in the real world couldn’t measure it. OK, but so what? We know that basic principle is happening.

    If she’s going to claim that there’s an exception to Econ 101 basics, I need more than one arguable example.

  53. @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    Reminds me of an anecdote about the mathematician Emmy Noether; I am possibly remembering this incorrectly, but apparently some mathematician wrote to his colleague saying, “I have heard something extraordinary, that you have a female mathematician, Emmy Noether, of the highest caliber at your institution.” To which his colleague replied, “I can confirm for you that Noether is a mathematician of the highest caliber, but whether she is a woman I am not sure.”

  54. @PiltdownMan

    Back in 2003, Senthil Mullainathan was co-author, with Marianne Bertrand, of an influential academic hoax.

    https://nicholasstixuncensored.blogspot.com/2017/06/scholarly-research-asserting-racist.html

  55. @Steve – “It strikes me that a lot of not that bright academics see my ability to engage in pattern recognition by integrating disparate sources of information as some kind of witchcraft that they’ve been warned to resist.”

    That’s a good question, because the same has happened everywhere.

    Medicine is an example – with the rise of ‘Evidence Based Medicine’ – which means, in practice, that doctors Must practice according to guidlines developing using large randomised trials (and the meta-analysis of such trials) as the ONLY source of information. (This is made explicit to the consensus committees such as NICE in the UK.)

    Since more than 90% of Randmoised trails of this kind are Big Pharma funded, and since it is possible/ normal for such trials to be ‘fixed’ by various well known means, then this hands over medicine to Big Pharma.

    But the relevant consequence to your question is that – in order to practice ‘good’ i.e. legally defensible medicine; doctors Must ignore ‘anecdotal evidence’ – i.e. what actual individual patients tell them.

    And doctors must also ignore their own personal experience of treating actual individual patients. Indeed to take notice of individual experience is disdained as dangerously naive incompetence.

    You see, it’s the same psychology.

    Where it comes from is the replacement of science (and of academic work generally) by bureaucracy – because it is bureaucracy which sets narrowly descriptive, restrictive, quantifiable rules and procedures – that are devised and enforced by consensus, voting and though hierarchical authority.

    Of course, bureaucratic consensus has Nothing At All to do with truth seeking or truth telling, and has zero track record of significant accomplishment – but that is the world now.

    The Nobel Prize is itself an example. 50 years ago the Nobel recognised high scientific status due to high scientific achievement. Now, in this genuis-free age; Nobels and other similar prizes confer status upon often obscure and mediocre/ mainstream scientific achievement (perhaps especially so in economics where high achievement is so rare).

  56. @Harry Bergeron

    Right, there is plenty of economic data evidence for the Miami Cocaine Boom.

  57. Paul says:

    Some of the Marielitos wound up just west of the north end of the Las Vegas Strip — an area known to Las Vegas locals as crime ridden.

  58. Charon says:
    @Paleo Retiree

    Miami metro has been sort of shocking for decades now. A stupefying flood of Latin American narco-dollars buying up everything in sight.

    It’s great if you’re selling carriage-trade goods though the level of taste isn’t quite up to Edwardian standards.

    No matter, though: they’ll buy anything and everything. Then they’ll ask for a safe place to store it, because they don’t really want it; they’re just parking dólares.

    One learns early on never to be so gauche as to enquire as to the nature of their ‘business’. Funny how the Great and Good get all worked up about things like “Blood Diamonds” and now “Blood Gold” but can’t be bothered about South Florida.

  59. @PapayaSF

    The actual prime directive is not to find the truth about X in economics (assuming, like the proverbial can opener, that the “truth” about X is knowable). The prime directive is:

    Mass non-White immigration harms White people, and will eventually erase them. Therefore it must continue, by any means necessary, and any bizarre Twister-like intellectual contortions in service of this goal is justified, because harming White people is the purpose of the exercise.

    For some weird reason, back in the 90s, I knew an unusually large number of academic economists from top universities. The weird thing about this bunch that you’d never guess was, they were mostly retired Irish ex-cops who got their Ph.D.’s in economics at night school while they were beat cops, then went on to serious academic work. Strange, huh?

    Nah, just kidding, they were exactly who you figured they’d be.

    • Agree: jim jones, ben tillman
  60. @PapayaSF

    The actual prime directive is not to find the truth about X in economics (assuming, like the proverbial can opener, that the “truth” about X is knowable). The prime directive is:

    Mass non-White immigration harms White people, and will eventually erase them. Therefore it must continue, by any means necessary, and any bizarre Twister-like intellectual contortions in service of this goal is justified, because harming White people is the purpose of the exercise.

    For some weird reason, back in the 90s, I knew an unusually large number of academic economists from top universities. The weird thing about this bunch that you’d never guess was, they were mostly retired Irish ex-cops who got their Ph.D.’s in economics at night school while they were beat cops, then went on to serious academic work. Strange, huh?

    Nah, just kidding, they were exactly who you figured they’d be.

  61. Steve,

    you’ve made this argument a number of times, but you never seem to say what the exact link between the drug trade and the noneffect of immigration on wages is supposed to be. The best I can think of is that immigrants are employed in the drug trade and are hence not driving down wages in the legal job market (because they do not compete in that market). Or is it that the drug trade brings money into Miami that, in part, ends up with local employees? Or what?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  62. Anonymous[401] • Disclaimer says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Economists ignore cocaine money in Miami for the same reason certain bloggers ignore the cinematic oeuvre of a certain actress and rock band frontwoman who was born in Miami.

    • Replies: @Old Prude
  63. eah says:

    Sep 1985 — FIVE YEARS LATER, OVERRIDING CRIME IS MARIEL LEGACY

    Five years ago today , Cuban President Fidel Castro closed the harbor of Mariel, ending a five-month boatlift that dramatically changed the face of South Florida.

    Most of the 125,000 Mariel refugees who sailed into Key West in the “Freedom Flotilla” have managed to adapt to American life, starting businesses, marketing their skills and raising families.

    But their successes have been overshadowed by the actions of an estimated 16,000 to 20,000 criminals and other misfits who have contributed to an alarming increase in South Florida crime.

    On any given day, there are 350 to 400 Mariel Cubans in Dade County jails, according to a recent report by the Dade-Miami Criminal Justice Council.

    This year alone, the county will spend more than $6 million to house those criminals.

    So approx 1/5 of them were criminals — I guess people who are in/out of jail don’t have as much of an effect on wages.

    The Wikipedia page on Duflo is full of mundane-sounding bullshit that most people would ascribe to common sense where no “research” is required, eg “Her Ph.D. dissertation focused on effects of a natural experiment involving an Indonesian school-expansion program in the 1970s and it provided the conclusive evidence that in a developing country, more education resulted in higher wages.”

    Frauenquote.

  64. Pericles says:
    @J.Ross

    “everybody thinks it’s X but it’s actually Y.”

    “Why you ask? You see, I have this little graph without units on the axes where a red and a blue line intersect … right … here. Any more questions?”

  65. Pericles says:
    @MikeatMikedotMike

    There’s a Bruce Jenner vibe going on there.

  66. @bjondo

    Electronic Fund Transfers from out of country are a wonderful thing, bro.

  67. @Mr. Anon

    Not if that sample size gives you the results you want.

  68. @LemmusLemmus

    David Card compared Miami in the late 1970s to four other cities in the late 1970s such as Houston. Then Miami got a sudden labor supply increase in 1980. He says wages in Miami weren’t lower in 1980-1984 than in the other 4 cities, which didn’t get the Mariel Boatlift influx. (Borjas says they were. I haven’t looked into it.)

    What I do know is that ceteris wasn’t paribus in Miami because the Mariel Boatlift, a supply increase, wasn’t the only thing going on in 1980. There was also a huge demand increase in Miami that began in 1980 due to the giant Cocaine Boom. According to the recent TV show “Narcos,” Miami was puttering along in 1979 but then exploded with money in 1980 as cocaine poured in. The early 1980s in Miami remain famous everywhere except in Economics Departments for vast amounts of money being spent in Miami.

    Miami in the early 1980s was notorious for giant cash deposits being made in local banks. The banks recycled the money into real estate loans and the like.

    Look Jeb Bush was smarter than an economist. He moved to Miami in late 1980 to get in on the boom in real estate. I actually don’t believe Jeb was involved with cocaine, but even he rightly noticed that Miami in the early 1980s was a good place to be a real estate developer.

    • Replies: @LemmusLemmus
    , @J.Ross
  69. eah says:

    OT

    “Can you imagine if this was Don Jr.?” — Leaked Bank Records Confirm Burisma-Biden Payments To Morgan Stanley Account

    The newly leaked records show 45 payments between November 2014 and November 2015 totaling $3.5 million, mostly in increments of $83,333.33.

    “Imagine thinking any of these institutions are worth salvaging”

  70. @Anonymous

    No, I think by supply he means the number of available labourers, and by demand he means the number of available jobs.

    If the supply of labour increases and the number of available jobs does not, competition for jobs increases.

    If competition for jobs increases, workers will tend to accept lower wages, so wage costs fall.

    Employers are then able to keep a greater share of the added value generated by their workers.

    Similarly, when the supply of labour falls to a point of scarcity wages rise, because employers are forced to compete for workers.

    See for example the period following the Black Death in 14th century England.

  71. @Steve Sailer

    Thanks,

    that makes a lot of sense.

  72. Rob McX says:
    @TheMediumIsTheMassage

    She reminds me of Alan Alda in M*A*S*H.

  73. I’m fascinated by the psychology of why economists have been so adamant about refusing to notice the Miami Cocaine Boom after 13 years of my nagging them about it. Any suggestions?

    All social scientists are, give or take, opportunists. And small minority among them are prophets, like Marx. Therefore, there is no “science” in a meaningful sense among those people, with a few exceptions that can be cowed into submission.

  74. Hodag says:

    Maybe take a look at the economic development of Hong Kong after The Opium War and what it did for low level wages of their natives.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  75. Paul says:

    The Marielitos cost Bill Clinton reelection as Arkansas governor after they set fire to a detention facility they were being held at in the state.

  76. Rob McX says:
    @Hodag

    All the Chinese had forced on them was the opium the British insisted on selling. Americans and Europeans have millions of immigrants dumped on them that they don’t want.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  77. Bruno says:

    Duflo argument is interesting . I d love to have more data. For example, countries in Europe who did have low skilled migration (Scandinavia) used to have very expensive restaurants (cooks and waiters) and cleaning people. So it would be important to see how the comparison are done bégaies the price structure wouldn’t necessarily move in all market segments .

    Some barbers shop in Paris offer 5 euros cutis when it’s 20euro in local barbers shop. So the markers are segmentated but I used to get every 6 weeks at 20e, and now I go every week at 5. So I have augmented the cost by 50% Improved the amount of service I get. But all this money goes from the hand of French working class male to Tunisian and Afghan people.

  78. craig says:

    “Duflo notes that wages didn’t much decline in Miami over 1980-1984 despite the sudden increase in supply compared to a control group of otherwise similar cities such as Atlanta and Houston.”

    Houston, at least, also had two major increases in labor supply in the late 1970s/early 1980s: (1) Rust Belt transplants fleeing regions where union parasites killed their hosts; and (2) thousands upon thousands of Vietnamese boat people. I’m sure an economist would call it mere anecdote, but it is notable that for the last thirty years Houston elections have had ballots in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

  79. This woman’s argument is classic “homo economus” — don’t fear the hordes of brown migrants speaking foreign languages and sporting strange cultures that are invading your country because wages won’t go down. Hmmmmm…assuming that is true (it’s not), any non-economic reasons this invasion might not be a good idea? Oh right, I get it. I’m just an economic unit. I have no culture, and I don’t live in a society. As for those who wonder why she thinks this way and looks the way she does, I can explain:
    https://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/three-jews-from-us-and-france-to-be-awarded-dan-david-prize/2013/05/08/

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  80. Ms. Cristina drives a nine four four
    Satisfaction oozes from her pores
    She keeps rings on her fingers
    Marble on her floor
    Cocaine on her dresser
    Bars on her doors
    She keeps her back against the wall
    She keeps her back against the wall

    So I say
    I say welcome, welcome to the boomtown
    Pick a habit
    We got plenty to go around
    Welcome, welcome to the boomtown
    All that money makes such a succulent sound
    Welcome to the boomtown

  81. @anonymous

    And to think, these were the same people who helped get that guy who was providing them this very service for free, that Ghadaffi fellow, shivved up the ass with a bayonet.

    We didn’t hear much about that redeeming quality to the man and his nation from the sainted, all-seeing media back when the regime change operation that has now led to the necessity for the European intervention was being cheered on. At that time, the media were performing PR for the similarly sainted, all-seeing politicians, as is their wont; and now when the absence of control of population flows at the southern edge of (what used to be) Libya is recognized as a big problem, well, mum’s the word in media reportage. Die Lügendpresse covers for the politicians coming and going, but slyly, through omission.

  82. @Anonymous

    The question is, supply and demand of what?

    Labor.

    The formula is Wage = Capital / Laborers.

    Geez. Seriously, Anon, you don’t even seem to understand what the debunking of the Wage Fund idea is. It is precisely that there is not a fixed “fund” but rather supply and demand curves for labor. This does not mean, more workers don’t suppress wages, it means that demand is not fixed either. Business may or may not hoover those workers on up–depending on business conditions, capital available, market demand, factors of production, etc. etc. etc.

    I.e.
    — more workers –> lower wages
    — lower wages –> employers may look to expand production to take advantage

    To trot out “wage fund” in response to Steve is particularly stupid, because Steve’s whole point is precisely that Miami in the early 80s is–and obviously is–a particularly bad place to claim as normative for “impact of influx of immigrants” because Miami’s local capital was in fact skyrocketing because of the drug trade. I.e. Steve is precisely pointing out that the capital to be employed in Miami was not only not fixed, but rapidly expanding. And, of course, generating demand for workers in bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, in other leisure activities and luxury goods, in personal services (as the money trickled down), in construction.

    Claiming you’ve repealed the law of supply and demand for labor by looking at Miami in the 80s, is just openly bogus. It was a boom town. But instead of the oil patch, the cocaine patch.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan, El Dato
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  83. @Anonymous

    Any economic study that purports to draw sweeping conclusions by comparing one city’s economy to another city as a “control” is going to be useless.

    There are a million unaccountable variables in both your subject city and the control.

    There is simply no way to prove wages would not have been higher in Miami if the boatlift didn’t happen.

    You can’t even whether the influx of boatlift immigrants actually increased the local labor supply — perhaps they just displaced other workers who moved out, or who decided not to move to Miami in the first place.

    • Agree: El Dato
    • Replies: @El Dato
  84. Anonymous[338] • Disclaimer says:

    Cuban immigrants have their citizenship revoked 3 months after moving to Israel

    Anna Salomon and her husband immigrated to Jewish state under Law of Return, only to be arrested later under order of Population and Immigration Authority

    Two Cubans who immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return have had their citizenship revoked, with authorities claiming a mistake in their paperwork.

    Anna Salomon was raised as a Jew in Cuba, with her family attending a Havana synagogue, she told Channel 12 news in a report broadcast Thursday…

    Um, hello, didn’t she have to send a photo with her application?? She definitely doesn’t look Turkic from southern Russia and Ukraine. At all.

    …She received approval from authorities to immigrate within a year and moved to Israel with her husband, Jorge. The couple received standard blue Israeli identification cards, registered for health care and national insurance, opened bank accounts and started working.

    Three months after they entered the country they received a letter from the Population and Immigration Authority revoking their status.

    OMG, it’s like 1939 and the St. Louis all over again!

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe
  85. Eric Clapton’s version of Cocaine was huge, but it was only a little different from the original by J.J. Cale, recorded and released a few months before Eric Clapton’s cover.

    I suppose Clapton was much better known than J.J. Cale (though not necessarily in the mid-70s — that was Cale’s era of maximum visibility) and his version became big, while J.J. Cale’s version is relatively unknown.

    As for Miami types liking it in the early 1980s, Clapton did live in Florida in the mid-1970s, famously fighting trying to detox after heroin addiction, so that might also have a bit to do with it. AFAIK, not a lot of big-name Sixities rock stars had homes in Florida.

  86. Mike1 says:

    Dumb academics repeat “correlation is not causation” with a grave look on their face (well, grave plus “you couldn’t possibly understand what a wise thing I am saying). In reality where there is a correlation there is usually causation running in some direction.
    Economists also tend to be shockingly dumb. Most don’t even understand the basics of their belief system.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  87. anonymous[251] • Disclaimer says:
    @res

    Well, you have to admit, it’s a great quote, depressingly accurate.

    It’s like expecting the audience of a live speech by Stalin to be objective, applauding only when they hear something they really agree with.

    Or, it was the same when Israeli PM Netenyahu was invited to speak to both houses of the US Congress – nonstop standing ovations of applauding. No one wanted to be the first one to stop applauding.

    Such a terrible time we live in – no decent, original new movies, terrible popular music, domestic politics – our Presidential elections NEVER END, even the past Presidential election isn’t over, it’s still being reviewed by video review.

    Terrible time to be alive.

  88. El Dato says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    Currently “Climate Change” models are assesses by running rather coarse-grained atmospheric simulations in huge numbers, changing the constants between each model, then hoping that the statistical results over the models may tell us something about the behaviour of reality.

    This is not worth all that much (except that one often gets a temperature increase).

    However, I wonder if there is a similar project in economics. It would certainly occupy a message-passing supercomputer with masses of discrete computations.

  89. Alden says:

    There’s a great documentary in the history channel about greater Miami and the 1980’s cocaine boom. The conclusion is that it was good for Miami.

  90. @PapayaSF

    Exactly. If a theory is correct (like the law of supply and demand), it trumps the “facts” every time.

    • Replies: @PapayaSF
  91. Back in 1987 when the NY Times was to the right of Trump on immigration issues, they ran a long hit piece on Miami that featured such gems as:

    The effect of the Mariel invasion – so called because most of these immigrants left through Cuba’s port of Mariel – can be read in the murder statistics. In the first five months of 1980, the city of Miami had 75 murders. Then came the Marielitos. In the last seven months, there were 169 murders. In 1980-81, Miami had the highest murder rate of any city in the world.

    And:

    Miami–where voodoo is practiced by many and an estimated 50,000 people are devotees of Santeria, a religion that requires animal sacrifice -has definitely taken on a quality that outside critics call ”foreign” and inside boosters call ”exotic.” Either way, the quality can be costly and abrasive and inconvenient.

    Also, wages did decline, based on comments from local political leaders:

    “Before the influx of Latins,” he said, ”virtually all of the hotel and restaurant jobs were held by American blacks. When the Cubans came they worked for less because they could supplement their pay with stipends from world church organizations. Why pay $2.10 an hour for a dishwasher when you can get one for $1 an hour?”

    It’s possible this piece ran because back in ’87 these developments were seen as Bad for You Know Who. Jewish political power in Dade County took a big hit with the arrival of the Mariel Cubans. These new interlopers were right-wing and wanted conceal carry permits. They also took great delight in beating up pro-communists protesting aid to the Contras.

  92. anon[162] • Disclaimer says:

    Is there a way to issue H1B’s to econ PhD’s? I’m sure that plenty of universities have students rotting in the classroom and would benefit from an addition of younger blood in the faculty. Even more efficiency could be gained by retiring the emeritus profs and elimination of the tenure track.

    Let’s make all econ profs employed “at will” and import 5,000 or so South Asians who will work for lower pay. I’m sure that would have no effect on the market for Econ PhD’s at all, but we can’t know for sure if we never experiment.

  93. Anon[421] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Very true. Much of economics’ mathematical sophistication is bogus, and despite the supposed econometric sophistication, most significant results come down to p-value mining and data massaging.

    The field would be much better off relying on a combination of Operations Research/Simulation-based approaches and more modern ML techniques, which drop any assumption of sacred statistical significance and are measured by out-of-sample predictive ability. The axiomatic assumptions of human behavior, which are the modern foundations of economic theory, have held the field back. It’s a big reason why outside of academia and government, no one takes econ PhD’s seriously.

    Compare Duflo’s “discoveries” to say, Maurice Ralph Hilleman’s discovery of 40 vaccines in the field of medicine (still not enough for a Noble Prize in medicine). You can go ahead and lump the Economics Nobel in with the Literature and Peace Prize.

    I suspect that Economics’ high-water mark was 2004, when people thought Greenspan was god. In hindsight, we realize most of them were clueless.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  94. @Bragadocious

    Thanks. This article provoked a Dave Barry retaliation: “Can New York Save Itself?”

  95. @Bragadocious

    Thanks. This “New York Times” article provoked a Dave Barry retaliation in the “Miami Herald: “Can New York Save Itself?”

    • Replies: @Bragadocious
  96. Alden says:
    @Anonymous

    She and the husband look White. But the son looks a bit black like so many Cubans. The Population and Immigration Authority must not have taken a good look at the son before they approved the application.

    Still, the son is lighter skinned than many of the indigenous Mizrahi Jews. But his hair is curlier. Maybe if he got rid of the mustache.

    They can always get themselves snuggled to Los Angeles. The local Jews will find them an apartment furniture and jobs working for one of the many Jewish NGOs in LA. If he checks mixed black Hispanic on applications, the son will have his pick of college and grad school applications and jobs.

  97. J.Ross says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Could you have imagined, in the 80s, having to explain (and argue) to people about the Miami cocaine scene, which was at the time the topic of hit movies and TV shows? It’s like a much sadder version of “I was at Woodstock.”

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  98. J.Ross says:
    @Rob McX

    And Gavin McInnes’s defense of CIA smack applies: the British merely wanted the product made available, consistent with 19th century free trade thinking. They did not tackle people into a first exposure like in Porgy and Bess. They did not hold people down in underground prisons and inject them like in Enter the Dragon. They did not put it in all the food without telling anybody and then throw a huge lawfare fit when asked to disclose anything like Monsanto did with GMO corn and soy.

  99. Anonymous[344] • Disclaimer says:
    @Interested Bystander

    Only the article headline you linked to (not the article itself) identified Duflo as Jewish. The actual article does not. It does however identify Duflo’s co-winner as such, even though he’s not Israeli. Since writers rarely write their own headlines, I assume an editor with questionable reading skills. lack of time, and being employed by a parochial Jewish website made the mistake.

  100. Anonymous[344] • Disclaimer says:

    Maybe for her next trick, Esther Duflo can figure out some way to eliminate the inequality between two people: one born to indigenous tribesmen in the Amazon rainforest, another born to a pediatrician and an eminent mathematician(invited to address the ICM) in France. Now that would be worth a Nobel.

    • LOL: jim jones
  101. @Steve Sailer

    What’s funny about the Barry rebuttal is that it’s equally anti-immigrant. Just different immigrants. (Barry went off on Africans as I recall.)

    So basically you had 2 media titans (the Times and Herald) trying to outdo each other on who could be more insulting to immigrants. Millennials will never understand where this country’s head was at in 1987.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  102. Anonymous[139] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnotherDad

    You’re wrong about the wage-fund doctrine and its refutation.

    The doctrine includes both the supply and demand for labor.

    The refutation of it is based on the notion that wages are paid out of production.

  103. @PiltdownMan

    It would be inconceivable for a movie maker today to open his movie with the explicit premise, opening shots, and opening text of Brian De Palma’sScarface — that an uncontrolled influx of refugees into America can and will include a significant proportion of criminals and social misfits.

    In the Mariel Boatlift, Castro explicitly opened up all of Cuba’s prisons & mental hospitals, and sent those folks to Florida. Even the woke might have to grudgingly admit the possibility of that being a less than ideal outcome.

  104. @J.Ross

    “I watched ‘Miami Vice’ on TV!”

    • Replies: @El Dato
  105. @Anon

    “It’s a big reason why outside of academia and government, no one takes econ PhD’s seriously.”

    Amazon hires many econ Ph.D.’s. At last word, Jeff Bezo’s bank account isn’t hurting.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @El Dato
    , @J.Ross
    , @Steve2
  106. @Anonymous

    Um, hello, didn’t she have to send a photo with her application?? She definitely doesn’t look Turkic from southern Russia and Ukraine. At all.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would assume this person’s obviously mixed ancestry, couldn’t include some Sephardic lineage, or whatnot.

    What’s interesting about this case, is that it almost makes it appear as if the Israeli government is only accepting phenotypically White people as Jews now. Is that actually what’s happening?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  107. Seems sensible to me.

    Why, I used to have the foolish idea significant sociopolitical turmoil rocked France during the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth, but then I realised fanciful novels by Dickens and Hugo were no guide to understanding history….

  108. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kevin O'Keeffe

    https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/cruelty-to-a-cuban-family/

    Cruelty to a Cuban Family

    NOV 15, 2019, 10:04 PM

    …The treatment of the Solomon family who immigrated from Cuba to Israel recently is very disturbing. First, they were warmly welcomed to the country and were recognized as Jews. They received citizenship. But suddenly, their situation became worse.

    The immigration department of the Ministry of Interior suddenly discovered errors in the documents which the Solomon’s had produced upon arrival…

    I think upon further inspection she looked like she might have some African blood, er, I mean there were errors in her documents.

  109. anon[801] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Amazon hires many econ Ph.D.’s.

    I wonder how many are H1b’s?

  110. El Dato says:
    @Steve Sailer

    But Bezo’s bank account isn’t hurting not because of the Econ PhDs but because of the computing infrastructure that is offered for rent (the Amazon shop is small against that). Which is built by networking & hardware design & software & integration & testing people.

    I don’t see where you need econ for that. Anyone can perform some cost optimization if he knows what a simplex is…

  111. El Dato says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Wasn’t there a James Bond movie, even?

    The one where CIA bro gets fed to sharks?

  112. El Dato says:
    @anon

    Wow I didn’t even remember that Olmos was in there.

    I watched quite a few back then.

  113. J.Ross says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Yeah, and Hitler’s astrologers didn’t foul up the invasions in the early part of the war, Reagan’s wife’s medium didn’t save the Soviet Union, and the Imperial pearls on Chiang Kai-shek’s wife’s shoes couldn’t stop Mao. Corporations shell out millions every year for pure bunkum like anger management, it’s a status symbol. Amazon made money by killing the logistics and customer service games, massacring competition, and winning massive government contracts. A lot of what the tech giants do once they’ve reached their unnatural level is a total flop, like Facebook trying to roll out a currency after convincing everybody not to trust them, or Microsoft trying to do non-work tech. Amazon’s still trying to get into food, but almost everything I might buy is still insanely more expensive from them than from local grocery stores.

  114. PapayaSF says:
    @ben tillman

    I wouldn’t go that far. Theories and basic principles can have exceptions, but the more basic the principle, the substantial the evidence you must have to prove the exception. A survey or two is not going to cut it.

  115. Corvinus says:

    “Of course, Card’s control cities weren’t otherwise identical to Miami’s trajectory in 1980-1984. For example, Houston’s oil-driven economy collapsed in early 1982.”

    So what were the other control cities? How were they not, according to YOU, not identical?

    “It strikes me that a lot of not that bright academics see my ability to engage in pattern recognition by integrating disparate sources of information as some kind of witchcraft that they’ve been warned to resist.”

    Or that these bright academics offered reasons that you personally disliked, but were legitimate, and hence your Sarah Jeong like pronouncement.

  116. Steve2 [AKA "StillSteve"] says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Maybe all PhD Econs aren’t skank slags. Generous I know.

    The ones who produce bogus numbers definitely are sleazy, as this misdirects public policy. I bet they are well compensated, probably better than many journalists who work to enlighten their readers.

    As far as helping companies make more money, if I was that smart, I’d be rich. We all worship the $100 bill. I’ve never met an Econ help me get one. If you have, please mail one to iSteve today.

  117. Steve2 [AKA "StillSteve"] says:

    Sorry for overcommenting. Maybe the trustworthy Econs are the ones you hire to solve your private queries without any special agenda imposed on them. No need to prove that pigs can fly. They still might be wrong though. Cocoa time. Goodnight. BTW I am an Econ, $100 inflatoproof bill on the way. All other things being equal.

  118. The field of economics is a massive scam ala anthropology. Totally worthless as a major discipline with predictive power, interesting for a few tidbits.

  119. Anonymous[344] • Disclaimer says:

    In the Twitter-linked British interview, when citing the example of US agriculture jobs in the 1960’s Duflo basically just says the jobs got mechanized, end of story. Some questions arise from that:

    1) What did the increase in mechanization do for the wages of the engineers, machinists (and since this was the 1960’s) the factory workers designing and building them?

    2) In 2019, are there still as many good options for someone with a high-school education as there were in the 1960’s?

    3) If agriculture was mechanized, why are we always hearing that anything less than the total importation of central America into California will cause the collapse of agriculture in the US?

  120. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Old Prude

    Well, she’s 74. That’s a current picture.

  121. @Bragadocious

    Millennials will never understand where this country’s head was at in 1987.

    It sure was in a schizophrenic place, as I remember. Reagan had signed Simpson-Mazzoli, which pardoned 3 million illegals, only nine months before that pair of articles.

  122. Not Raul says:

    Why don’t economists “notice” the Miami cocaine boom?

    There is a well-worn joke in the economics profession that involves two economists – one young and one old – walking down the street together:

    The young economist looks down and sees a $20 bill on the street and says, “Hey, look a twenty-dollar bill!”

    Without even looking, his older and wiser colleague replies, “Nonsense. If there had been a twenty-dollar lying on the street, someone would have already picked it up by now.”

    The conclusion, of course, is that markets are efficient and if there were large opportunities to profit, someone would have taken them already.

    https://financingefficiency.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/the-20-bill-on-the-sidewalk/

    I would imagine that the same thing applies to the Miami cocaine boom: economists figure that if there were a heavily-cited paper to be written about it, another economist would have done so already.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  123. Art Deco says:

    I think he’s telling you he can’t figure out how to incorporate those vectors into his model, so he ignores them.

  124. Corvinus says:
    @Anon

    “One of Steve’s superpowers is the very simple instinct to not take at face value the results of a manipulation of data using various assumptions and filters, but to dig down a little deeper and ask if there might be some factor that wasn’t considered by the researchers that affects the position of a piece of data in the sort.”

    It’s not a superpower. It’s merely his effort to determine patterns. And along the way, he is decidedly influenced by confirmation, recency, and selection bias.

  125. Big picture, there’s nothing wrong with falling wages (deflation), be that phenomenon a result of immigration (increased supply), lower demand, or whatever the natural cause.

  126. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Not Raul

    I would imagine that the same thing applies to the Miami cocaine boom: economists figure that if there were a heavily-cited paper to be written about it, another economist would have done so already.

    Similarly, many, many very talented computer scientists and programmers felt that if there was money to be made in selling computers to private buyers and momsicle-and-popsicle businesses, someone else would have done it. The reason Gates and Allen started Micro-Soft was that they weren’t able to get a lucrative “real computer job”.

    Most disruptive businesses are started by people who who are “on the outs” from the established order. So heavily regulated businesses do not have much disruption, barriers to entry are too high. The libtys are right about that.

    The flipside of this is seen with the people who gave Steve Jobs the idea to go into the retail store business, Gateway 2000 and their founder Ted Waitt. Waitt isn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but he’s made Madonna money even though the company went kaput, and was also boffing Epstein’s procuress Ghislaine Maxwell for a while. (Perhaps on the theory that the madam is the best POA in the house?)

    G2K’s demise came about largely because Waitt, having become the second biggest commodisumo PC vendor selling whitebox PCs with a pretty case logo in a cow spotted box, decided that the way to beat Dell was to concentrate on the momsicle-and-popsicle small business market that Dell would sell to but didn’t avidly pursue. Well, Dell didn’t spend too much time or effort on Momsicle because businesses without dedicated IT people were an expensive to support pain in the ass. That business was best left largely to whitebox mom and pop shops or to retailers who conveyed little expectation of support.

    Also, Gateway, having spent a pile on their “Country Stores”, up until almost the end refused to actually sell computers at the stores: you tried them out, an placed an order for home delivery some time later. people either got upset, or said OK, and then went across the street to Fry’s or micro center or what have you and bought a HP, Dell, Compaq, or house brand PC. Poor Gateway employees had this figured out within weeks of the store’s opening but management was absolutely mulish in refusing to change.

    Having no barriers to entry is okay in the case of consumer devices with little danger to users when they screw up, but in the case of, say, airliners, or perfusion machines for cardiac bypass operations, or nuclear reactors, the libty argument is not very persuasive with regular people.

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