UP Links 01 February 2013

Brandon Fuller Brandon Fuller

Better Management Can Make the World a Better Place

While nonprofit firms and governments clearly face different management challenges than private firms, the evidence suggests that sectors like education and health care could also benefit from better management. The global management survey has also analyzed the link between management quality and organizational success in these areas, and found that better management is associated with, among other things, higher student test scores, better heart-attack survival rates, and shorter patient wait times. Yes, it’s the hospital manager, at least as much as the heart surgeon, who will save your life.

Alan Greenblatt on Urbanization in China

What’s true in China is also true to a certain extent in other parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, where new cities are being thrown up essentially from scratch and older ones are becoming megalopolises that dwarf nearly anything in North America or Europe. It’s a global shift, but China is definitely the epicenter right now. Last year, of the 20 fastest-growing cities in the world, 19 were in China.

Exploring New York’s Simultaneous Drops in Crime and Incarceration

“The million-dollar question in policing right now is whether there are ways to get the benefits of stop-and-frisk without the collateral costs,” said Jens Ludwig, an economist who directs the University of Chicago Crime Lab. He found benefits from the tactic — a decline in gunshot injuries — in an experiment with the Pittsburgh police.

“Getting the police to stop people more often and search them for illegal guns does help keep guns off the street and reduce gun violence,” Dr. Ludwig said. “That’s not to say whether or not stop-and-frisk is worth the costs that the practice imposes on society. But there’s a complicated trade-off here that needs to be acknowledged.”

David Warsh on The Chosen Few

In this context, “the Chosen few” means something quite different from what it has historically been taken to mean. Instead of God’s Chosen People (and what religious sect has not thought that?) it is the Jews themselves who are seen to have done the choosing, having begun two thousand years ago,  after their war with the Romans, when the hawks perished and the doves chose to require everyone in their community to learn to read. If the story of the Jews is to be rethought – beginning with the invention of primary education and universal literacy – then the history of humankind must be rethought as well including, for instance, the central role the Islamic Empire played as well.

This may be the first you have heard about The Chosen Few, but I pretty much guarantee you that it will not be the last. “The Jews and literacy” is a very different question from that of “the Jews and capitalism,” anterior to the former in all respects.  It will take decades to work it through.  The project began in a lunch room conversation between the authors when both were teaching at Boston University. It has turned into life’s work for each, Botticini at Bocconi Univerity in Milan,Eckstein as professor at Tel Aviv University and dean of the School of Economics at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

Allison Schrager on China’s Turning Point

Cheap Chinese labour makes the world go around. It supplies developed markets with cheap goods which, to some extent, make up for stagnating wages. It also keeps the Chinese economic model humming by providing the foundation for growth. But how long can it last? IMF economists Mitali Das and Papa N’Diaye, in a new working paper, reckon only about another decade.

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