Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Links


  • The above map shows the likelihood of a child from the bottom fifth of the income distribution rising into the top fifth, and is from a fascinating article about the geography of income inequality in the NYT.  The underlying study is available, and you can get the raw data there too.
  • Shipping goods from western China to Europe by rail.  This seems like an interesting development as it might help China to continue developing its interior, which lags considerably behind the big coastal cities.
  • Interesting op-ed on the difficulties of growing food in the climate of the future with increasingly severe and prolonged heat waves.
  • Last year's collapse in natural gas prices appears to be over:

8 comments:

rjs said...

as the price of gas slipped below $3 mmmbtu, utilities switched to gas, but the frackers were losing money at that price, and gas rig counts shrunk...now that it's heading back up towards $4, utilities are going back to coal...

Fred said...

Re: lack of upward mobility. In the West, the areas with poorest mobility appear strongly correlated with the Native American reservations. Who would have thought that a social paradigm based on a pervasive welfare approach would hurt incentive?

Unknown said...

The areas with the highest upward mobility appear to be, for the most part, areas in which the bottom fifth of the income scale aren't that far on an absolute scale from the top fifth. In other words, the bottom fifth in the Dakotas is not absolutely that far behind the top fifth, while the bottom fifth in Mississippi is quite a ways away from the top fifth.

The next step in research like this would be to correlate this mobility with income equality. If an area has a high degree of income equality, it would be natural to expect many from the bottom fifth to reach the top fifth, because on an absolute scale they aren't really far behind.

The AI Trader said...

The probability map seems a bit skewed. To really see socio-economic mobility we would need some scale factor of the percentage of kids in the bottom 5th in each area.

In other words, if town X and town Y each have 100 kids with 5 in X and 100 in Y in the bottom 5th, it takes just one kid moving up in X compared to 20 in Y to make X a 'success' on this map.

Aaron said...

Just an opinion, but I find the op-ed piece regarding food security to smack of an all-too-typical American exceptionalism. I think the author makes excellent suggestions for reform - but he seems to underestimate the impact of a food crisis in regarding it as merely "pain at the cash register" from higher food prices. Somehow America, the author appears to think, won't be subject to the internal unrest witnessed in several countries over the past several years due to poor harvests apparently linked to climate change. Instead of Egyptian bread riots perhaps we'll have American soda riots? The collapse of the corn crop for two or three successive years will translate into far greater social impacts than a simple choice of not upgrading to the latest iGadget so that one can afford expensive pork or beef.

IMO, every year we have a good corn harvest we've dodged a bullet. But the heart of the drought has not disappeared and it will inevitably spread again and dry up the country's bread basket. How many years before it becomes a permanent fixture over not just Oklahoma and Texas but Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas? A year, two, three - maybe five? That isn't much time for a society to adapt effectively when it's infected with a notion of exceptionalism.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Michael Cain said...

The areas with the highest percentage jumping from bottom fifth to top fifth looks to be reasonably well correlated with "own land on which a valuable natural resource is discovered, or becomes exploitable." Energy resources in particular: oil, gas, coal, wind, ethanol. The Bakken shale formation sticks out like a sore thumb.

rjs said...

michael, yes, a lot of inequality would be solved if we were all born on top of an oil field....

Ed Sloane said...

Mainstream coverage in Australia regarding future energy issues.

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/ten-bucks-a-litre/