Archives for guest posts



Learning From the Last Great Mortgage Mess

We’ve had the good fortune over the last few years here at the blog to bring you occasional nuggets from University of Arizona economist Price Fishback, whose research on the Great Depression often offers powerful insights about our current economic situation.

Price’s latest contribution to the blog, this time joint with Ken Snowden from UNC-Greensboro, discusses the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation, which bought and refinanced 1 million severely delinquent loans between 1933 and 1936.  Did things works out well or poorly?  You’ll have to read on to find out.  And if you like what they’ve written, keep an eye out for their soon to be released book (with Jonathan Rose as a third author).

 

Learning from the Last Great Mortgage Mess
By Price Fishback and Ken Snowden

For the past four years, the U.S. has faced a housing crisis that shows no signs of ending.  The situation was similar in June 1933 when the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation was created to address the nation’s last severe mortgage crisis.  Some have suggested that a new HOLC could help resolve the current crisis, but their characterizations of the HOLC have been incomplete.  Our goal here is to summarize recent research that provides a fuller picture of the HOLC and its impact on housing markets in the 1930s.         Read More »



NBA Fans Give the League a Predictable Present on Christmas

Before labor peace came to the NBA, it was not uncommon to hear stories that the lockout was going to negatively impact fan interest in the game (here is one example in this genre). The story basically went as follows:

1. Fans become angry when the games are taken away.
2. The longer fans go without games, the angrier they become.
3. Stay away too long and the angry fans will never come back.

This story actually gets repeated every time a labor dispute that taken away games in North American sports. And the story certainly seems plausible.

A few years ago, though, Martin Schmidt and I investigated the impact disputes have upon fan attendance; and much to our surprise (yes, we tended to believe the stories sports writers had told us for years) we failed to find an effect. Attendance in the major North American sports is not statistically impacted by labor disputes. Read More »



Let the Farmers' Market Debate Continue

Most of us must admit that in many cases we really haven’t a clue if the local farmers we support run sustainable systems. Read More »



Scaling the Heights of Corporate Greed: Chafkin and Lo on Risk

Andrew W. Lo, who teaches at M.I.T. and is director of its Laboratory for Financial Engineering, has contributed to this blog before. Here he is joined by co-author Jeremiah H. Chafkin, president of AlphaSimplex Group (where Lo also serves as chairman and chief scientific officer) for a guest post about the best (and worst) ways to manage risk. Read More »



The Duty to Rescue and the Registry for Caregivers: A Guest Post

In two previous posts, we examined laws exempting family members from prosecution for harboring fugitives and laws either granting or permitting sentencing discounts on account of one’s family status, ties, or responsibilities. These are two of the benefits defendants receive on account of their family status in the criminal justice system. Read More »



When the Fugitive Is a Family Member: A Guest Post

Following up on our earlier introductory post about our book on criminal justice and the family, we thought we’d start here with an examination of the same topic that initially sparked our interest in the intersection of criminal justice and the family — namely, how the law treats persons who refuse to cooperate (or actively interfere) with law enforcement on account of trying to protect a family member. Read More »



Robin Goldstein on the Economics of Wine

We are delighted to welcome Robin Goldstein to our family of Freakonomics blog contributors.

We’ve blogged in the past about Robin’s research involving blind wine tastings, as well as his research on whether people can tell the difference between pate and dog food. Read More »



Krugman vs. Ferguson: Letting the Data Speak

When giants like Paul Krugman and Niall Ferguson start to argue, they both sound compelling. Ferguson says that interest rates are rising because of the deficit, and Krugman retorts that Ferguson has forgotten his first-year economics. Fortunately, the data can speak, and it’s time to give them a voice. This is why I turn to my frequent collaborator, Eric Zitzewitz, who has an incredibly handy knack for getting financial data to speak clearly. Eric’s verdict? You’ll have to keep reading. Read More »