You may be interested in the CATPRN trade policy brief that Bob Wolfe and I co-authored on the political coalitions in agriculture negotiations.
Archive for the ‘Academic’ category
If you want to know why I care about George Elliott Clarke's writing, read this review in the Globe and Mail. He writes so well, it puts the rest of us to shame.
I submitted a short essay to the Rae Review of Postsecondary Education in Ontario. I've published it here for your reading pleasure. I look forward to the inevitable criticism. A PDF version is available for those who prefer to print the essay and read it offline.
Possibilities for Partnership: Two Proposals to Improve the Ontario University System
By Jesse Helmer, MPA student, Queen's University, School of Policy Studies
Bob Rae's review of higher education in Ontario is an opportunity to significantly improve the Ontario university system. The review focuses on five issue areas: accessibility, quality, system design, funding and accountability. In some of these issue areas, consensus appears to be forming. On student financial assistance, for example, stakeholders generally agree that the current system improperly measures need and favours students from higher income families (Rae: 4; COU, 2004: 4; OUSA: 52). On the level of public investment, stakeholders generally agree that funding is too low (COU 2004: 11; OUSA: 25). On tuition fees, predictably, there is less cross-stakeholder consensus: the Council of Ontario Universities (2004: 6) advocates "increased flexibility," the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (2004) advocates more public investment, not "a heavier burden on students" and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (39) advocates a reduced and fixed student contribution. This paper engages two of the five issue areas, system design and funding. On system design, I argue that the Ontario government's funding formula for operating grants should provide incentives for balanced enrolment at Ontario universities. On funding, I argue that the Ontario government should pursue a third way of regulating tuition, one that achieves both institutional flexibility and stability of tuition fees for students. In combination with improved student financial assistance, these two proposals will improve both the university system and the relationship between the Ontario government and Ontario universities.
In light of this, let me tell you why the Kyoto Protocol is bad public policy.
The Kyoto Protocol is essentially a licensing regime of states designed to reduce emissions of specific gases. We want to reduce, or abate, emissions of the gases because they create a "greenhouse" effect that influences world temperature, and changes in world temperature could be harmful.
I am not disputing that certain gases have a greenhouse effect. Nor am I disputing that human activity adds these gases to the atmosphere. But I do want to point out that we are uncertain about many aspects of climate change, both scientific and economic.
In my economic analysis class, we talked about an essay by Joseph Stiglitz called "The Private Uses of Public Interests: Incentives and Institutions." In his essay, Stiglitz writes about the failures of the USA government to implement Pareto or near-Pareto improvements. Stiglitz's comments on the challenges of implementing Pareto improvements interested me.
One challenge that Stiglitz identifies is the tendency of politicians to make things into a zero-sum game. The easiest way to do this is to focus on relative improvement. So, instead of accepting a situation where both parties are better off (although to different degrees), one party refuses to deal. Consider this example, provided by my professor.
A group of people is randomly divided into groups of two. Within the group, one person is randomly chosen as the banker and given ten dollars. The banker is supposed to divide the ten dollars between herself and the other person (in $1 increments). The other person can accept or reject the offer. This process is repeated a number of times. The participants do not know how many times the process will be repeated, but they do know that the goal is to get as much money as possible. Interestingly, many people refuse the banker's offer (which is often $1/$9).
Anyway, I think similar thinking underlies the deadlock in CBA negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA. And, sadly, only time will erode both sides focus on relative improvement. It occurred to me that this lockout provides economists with a captive audience for economic theory. Universities should hold seminars on bargaining theories for interested fans.
If you want to better understand images (how they work and what they might mean), you should read Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwan's Reading Images. It provides a good framework and vocabulary for talking about images.
My first thesis meeting of the term was this morning at 10:00. For once, I arrived early. After grabbing a free java (free with a membership!) from the Graduate House, I returned and my meeting with my supervisor started. We talked about my thesis proposal. I understand that a thesis proposal is basically a narrated essay outline. At the time that I wrote the proposal, I didn't understand that it was supposed to be exciting.
In the next few days, I will nail down a bold, interesting thesis, which I will pin on my desktop. In the next two weeks, I will draft an introduction to my 40-50 page essay. I'm looking forward to it. Re-reading my thesis proposal re-excited me about my thesis and meeting with my supervisor lit the proverbial fire under my ass.
Prompted by Prabhakar Ragde's proposal for an alternate first-year CS sequence at University of Waterloo, I've started reading Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. Prof. Ragde said it was challenging, so I figure I will read it rather than How to Design Programs. If SICP is too hard I will give in and read HtDP instead. If it isn't, I'll read HtDP anyway.
To check my understanding of the concepts presented in SICP, I've installed DrScheme. It was easy to install on my iBook, which runs OS 10.3. The README could use a little improvement, however. Unlike most OS X programs, you need to drag the folder that contains the application to its location before you run the installer.
Bizarre is right, brother. This is beyond a doubt the
strangest period in American history of which I have
personal knowledge--and I lived through the Nixon
administration. While I don't buy the idea that an
Illuminati-like cult is behind our current adventures abroad,
I'm sure that when the story of this era is written, Strauss
and his disciples will merit a long footnote.
Also, see Wikipedia.