Mercatus Center – Who Does a Better Job of Managing Money, Republicans or Democrats? 

Mercatus Center – The paper, by Marian Moszoro and Michael Bykhovsky, uses Federal Election Commission data to identify equity fund managers by their political contributions. If the managers at a fund gave to only one of the two major political parties, that fund is then classified as having an intellectual or ideological connection to that party.

OK, so who wins this politically fraught horse race? Asnswer here

Gerard Ryle: How the Panama Papers journalists broke the biggest leak in history | TED Talk |

Gerard Ryle led the international team that divulged the Panama Papers, the 11.5 million leaked documents from 40 years of activity of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that have offered an unprecedented glimpse into the scope and methods of the secretive world of offshore finance. Hear the story behind the biggest collaborative journalism project in history. Full story here

End of Hollywood Studio System is Near

Stephen Galloway – The Hollywood Reporter: ​

For 100 years, Hollywood has been defined by the majors. That may be about to change.

The studios lost the first pillar of their empire when they were forced to give up theaters. They lost the second pillar when they ended the “factory” system through which they held talent in their control. They lost the third pillar when rivals such as Netflix managed to create their own libraries. Now there’s only one pillar left: distribution. And soon that will be gone, too. Facinating all together here

Facebook Stands Up To Clickbait, Day 2: The Media Responds

( – CEO of Major Facebook Publisher: ‘This Is a Big Change for All Publishers’

The media industry responded predictably to an announcement from Facebook Thursday that articles using so-called “clickbait” headline tropes will get lower billing in the social giant’s all-important News Feed product, which publishers rely on for sweet, sweet referral traffic. (Sponsored posts will not be affected by Facebook’s efforts to target clickbait, a spokeswoman confirmed.)

Full article here

Interview With Steven Pinker: Masters in Business (Audio)

Awesome delight, pure joy, five star *****


(Bloomberg) — Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz interviews Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. This interview aired on Bloomberg Radio. Click here to listen.

How Well Do Portfolio Managers Perform? There is Not Much Evidence of Skill

Fresh from the NBER oven…

The portfolio management sector oversees vast amounts of investment, for individuals, pension funds, universities and many other institutions, and one of the most frequently asked questions in this area of finance is whether these managers earn their keep. A team of researchers, including the University of Chicago’s Joseph Gerakos (above), looked into the matter and presented some answers at the recent NBER Conference on New Developments in Long-Term Asset Management. View a video of the presentation, read a summary of their findings, or download their paper on the conference page. All nine conference presentations and papers are indexed here.

Watch this in case you prefer a video highlight

Blinder on Trade

The Grumpy Economist –  Alan Blinder has an excellent op-ed in the WSJ on trade. It’s hard to excerpt as every bit is good.

1. Most job losses are not due to international trade. Every month roughly five million new jobs are created in the U.S. and almost that many are destroyed, leaving a small net increment. International trade accounts for only a minor share of that staggering job churn. …

2. Trade is more about efficiency—and hence wages—than about the number of jobs. You probably don’t sew your own clothes or grow your own food. Instead, you buy these things from others, using the wages you earn doing something you do better. …
3. Bilateral trade imbalances are inevitable and mostly uninteresting. Each month I run a trade deficit with Public Service Electric & Gas. They sell me gas and electricity; I sell them nothing….

4. Running an overall trade deficit does not make us “losers.”…

5. Trade agreements barely affect a nation’s trade balance. ..a nation’s overall trade balance is determined by its domestic decisions, not by trade deals… America’s chronic trade deficits stem from the dollar’s international role and from Americans’ decisions not to save much, not from trade deals. Trade deficits are not a major cause of either job losses or job gains. …trade makes American workers more productive and, presumably, better paid.
One could say much more. Trade is not a “competition,” for example. But, having done this sort of thing, I’m sure lots of other good bits are on the cutting room floor.

Alan is more sympathetic to government “help” to trade losers, which I agree sounds nice if it were run by the benevolent and omniscient transfer payment planner, but I think works out poorly in practice when we look at the success or failure of actual trade adjustment programs. But that is a small nitpick.

Alan closes by wishing that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump understood these simple facts a bit better. I think his list of politicians needing enlightenment could be a little longer. But he’s courageous enough for speaking the kind of heretical truth that will come back to haunt him should he ever want a government job.