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    February 2011

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    Maxine's Essays

    • 21st Century Regress
      Sometimes it seems like the world is going to hell and there's absolutely nothing a girl economist can do about it.
    • What Exactly Are We Crowding Out?
      The current economic downturn isn't a random draw of a black ball from an urn containing white balls and black balls. There's no sampling distribution. Very specific policies and actions landed us here. Now we must decide not only what policies need to be put in place to prevent it happening again, but also what policies would best drive us out of the ditch faster and sustainably.
    • I Wish It Were Only Butter
      We should be giving up some butter if we must. We should not give up education or health investment (or infrastructure or the environment (hello, BP). They may be the only legacies of any value that we pass on to our children and grandchildren.
    • Rational Health Investment?
      The obvious "market solution" is to improve the long run return on investments in health among the disadvantaged through meaningful and effective publicly funded education. The obvious short run "market solution" is to reduce the costs of investment and the shadow price of health for the disadvantaged by providing health insurance cover and reduced out-of-pocket costs.
    • The Socrates Parameter
      To the extent that our limbic systems respond to such engineering by over-riding the judgment of our frontal lobe and to the extent that our frontal lobe is deprived of the information it requires to make a rationally self-interested judgment, we are not only pigs and fools, we are slaves.
    • The Economic Rewards of Virtue
      If individual virtue tempers our "piggy" desires and conditions our choices to something that is both individually and socially better, then the economic rewards of virtue as embodied in and promoted by societal norms and institutions are far greater than we have ever suspected. As economists, we would do well to recognize this when we teach U max.
    • The Market for Morals
      Markets then are places where more is exchanged than goods and services, labor and product, credit, and interest. They are places where we also develop the personal virtues of temperance and prudence and the social virtues of benevolence and justice. When they function well, they produce trust, loyalty, and sympathy among those who trade there.
    • Post-Modern Applied Economics: It’s the Error Term, Stupid
      Maxine believes it’s time to refocus attention and discussion on the error term. It is often where much of the action is in our models. It is where unexpectedly catastrophic events dwell resulting in fat tails. It is where our animal spirits manifest and cause us to do the right thing or the wrong thing or the thing everyone else is doing rather than the self-interested, fully-informed rational thing. It is where God and miracles and chance dwell.
    • Intergenerational Win-Win: Health Insurance, Education, Environment, Infrastructure
      So when we’re talking about fiscal stimulus packages and we’re borrowing from our grandchildren to finance them, we should be thinking about how to use stimulus monies to create value for those grandchildren AND stimulate our economy.
    • Short-term Private Payoffs, Long-term Social Costs
      The real health reform discussion, the one we should be having, is “What must we do to create a health system that is both efficient and fair?” The answer will almost certainly include relegating the private sector to markets where market forces or regulation are effective at aligning short-term private incentives and goals with long-term societal interests. If such markets are scarce or non-existent in health, then the private health sector will be of limited value.
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    01/25/2011

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    Comments

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    this is truly awful. I discovered this blog a few months ago and have looked forward to new posts. There is no one else writing like her and she was teaching me so much.

    Damn! I enjoyed her writing tremendously. She wrote, at times, brilliantly. And she offered real insight. Illumination.

    My sincere condolences to her family and friends.

    There are few blogs that I ever added to my RSS upon reading the first post. Maxine Udall was one of these. When the small (1) or (2) would pop up on the screen, indicating a new post waiting to be read, I recall waiting for the "right" time to open it, not wanting to scan it fast as part of the daily routine but wanting to read it with time, full attention and enjoying the wait. Such was the strength and appeal of her writing that I would always click on the link expecting to learn something, or to read a beautiful rendition of concepts that, while dear to me, I would never have been able to express in such an elegant manner.
    Her passing is very sad news, but her writings will not be forgotten.

    david,

    just learned of your loss. my heart goes out to you, and i miss her so much already.

    sadly, jeanne
    (alison's new telephone buddy in new york with the web site that looks like it was put together in the garage)

    How very sad. I became a reader of her blog early last year and checked in regularly to get her clear-headed, humane and clarifying views on many important issues of the day. My condolences to her family and friends who are lucky enough to have known her personally.

    Reading what the followers of her blogs and opinions have to say about her makes one have an insight on the type of extraordinary women Maxine was on earth. She has touched many hearts, ears, and has changed the mind sets of many. Even though I don't know her personally, nor professionally, I feel that she still lives on through her works great contributions, and as a people, there is much we could learn from her greatness.


    They say that death is not the end, but the beginning of a newly designed chapter, therefor I wish Maxine a prosperous journey ahead, and may we one day all meet in her presence.
    My Regards - Gavincy

    My deepest sympathies. She will be missed.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

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