New Economist: The Economist: A guide to womenomics: An Economist article on women and the world economy argues that "the future of the world economy lies increasingly in female hands". The piece, A guide to womenomics, claims that:

In rich countries, girls now do better at school than boys, more women are getting university degrees than men are and females are filling most new jobs. Arguably, women are now the most powerful engine of global growth.

The article gives particular attention to the growing role of women at work. The most interesting chart highlights the positive correlation between women's fertility rate and their labour force participation:

It is sometimes argued that it is shortsighted to get more women into paid employment. The more women go out to work, it is said, the fewer children there will be and the lower growth will be in the long run. Yet the facts suggest otherwise. ... Indeed, the decline in fertility has been greatest in several countries where female employment is low.

It seems that if higher female labour participation is supported by the right policies, it need not reduce fertility. ... governments need to remove obstacles that make it hard for women to combine work with having children. This may mean offering parental leave and child care, allowing more flexible working hours, and reforming tax and social-security systems that create disincentives for women to work. Countries in which more women have stayed at home ... offer less support for working mothers...

Magda Fontana: Simulation in Economics

Magda Fontana: Simulation in Economics:

©Copyright JASSS

Magda Fontana (2006)

Simulation in Economics: Evidence on Diffusion and Communication

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation vol. 9, no. 2

Received: 05-Dec-2005 Accepted: 16-Jan-2006 Published: 31-Mar-2006


This paper presents the analysis of a dataset of publications in economics that makes use of simulations. Data are explored in order to obtain information about diffusion of simulation techniques in time and across sub-disciplines. Moreover, following Robert Axelrod's concerns about the difficulties in sharing simulation models and their outputs, some peculiarities in the communication process among 'simulators' are highlighted.


Social Simulation, Economic Theory, User Community


MIT researchers build tiny batteries with viruses---Skynet just 12 months away.

Now I'm no Luddite, but for fuck's sake, did anyone see Terminator? Self replicating electronic viruses? Phillip K Dick? Hello?

Don't say I didn't warn you.


MIT researchers build tiny batteries with viruses:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-- MIT scientists have harnessed the construction talents of tiny viruses to build ultra-small "nanowire" structures for use in very thin lithium-ion batteries.

By manipulating a few genes inside these viruses, the team was able to coax the organisms to grow and self-assemble into a functional electronic device.

Twenty Problems in the Theory of Cellular Automata (1985)

Twenty Problems in the Theory of Cellular Automata (1985):

How common are computational universality and undecidability in cellular automata?

If a system is capable of universal computation, then with appropriate initial conditions, its evolution can carry out any finite computational process. A computationally universal system can thus mimic the behaviour of any other system, and so can in a sense exhibit the most complicated possible behaviour.

Changes in the Distribution of Wealth Between 1989 and 2004

Changes in the Distribution of Wealth Between 1989 and 2004:

Tom Bozzo of Marginal Utility let me know about this Fed report on changes in the distribution of wealth and net worth from 1989 to 2004. Here's the abstract plus several graphs constructed from tables in the report. The first graph shows, for example, that the percentage of net worth held by the bottom half of the distribution was 2.5% (see table 5 in the report):

Currents and Undercurrents: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989–2004, by Arthur B. Kennickell Senior Economist and Project Director, Survey of Consumer Finances, Federal Reserve Board: Abstract This paper considers changes in the distribution of the wealth of U.S. families over the 1989–2004 period ... Real net worth grew broadly over this period. At the same time, there are indications that wealth became more concentrated, but the result does not hold unambiguously across a set of plausible measures. ... Graphical analysis suggests that there was a shift in favor of the top of the distribution, while for the broad middle of the distribution increases were about in proportion to earlier wealth. Within this period, there are other interesting patterns. For example, from 1992 to 2004 the wealth share of the least wealthy half of the population fell significantly to 2.5 percent of total wealth. ... The paper also presents some information on underlying factors that may explain a part of the distribution of wealth, including capital gains, saving behavior and income, inheritances, and other factors. There are two special topic sections in the paper. The first presents information on the distributions of wealth of African American and Hispanic families. The second presents information on the use of debt across the distribution of wealth.

As a sample of what's in the report, here are some of the tables in graphical form. First, here's a picture of the proportion of total net worth held by net worth percentile groups. This shows, for example, that the percentage of net worth held by people in the 99th-100th percentile group is slightly larger than the percentage held by the 50th-90th percentile group (click on graphs to bring up larger versions):
Next, this is the dollar value of net worth for various percentile groups of the net worth distribution:
Here is the percentage distribution of wealth across income classes. There are two versions, the one in color and one in black and white that shows the changes with better contrast:


Here's a look at the Gini Coefficent:
And finally, the distribution of the age of the family head by wealth (not net worth) group for 1989 and 2004:


The wealthier are older in 2004. There's a lot more in the report, including an analysis of sources in the changes in the wealth and net worth distributions. The paper looks at changes in capital gains, saving behavior, income, inheritances, debt, demographics, and other factors to explain shifts in the wealth and net worth distributions and finds that income, saving behavior, capital gains, and inheritances all play a role in the explanation.

A Clinical and Economic Analysis of Emergency Physician-Performed Ultrasonography in the Setting of Cholecystitis


The aim of this study was to evaluate a group of emergency physicians with Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) certification and fellowship training who utilize their ultrasound diagnosis in routine clinical care. While this level of training is likely to be higher than what should be required of most emergency physicians for routine focused ultrasonography, it is an ideal population to evaluate the potential for emergency physicians with a competency in ultrasound. Cholecystitis was chosen as the ultrasound study to investigate because it is a common disease process that presents emergently, is largely reliant on radiological diagnosis, and benefits from expedient management. In the 25 positive cases where a positive ED ultrasound was performed, a further radiological study followed in 86% of the cases. This study asks the question ‘how much would have been saved if these tests were not performed’?

Continue reading "A Clinical and Economic Analysis of Emergency Physician-Performed Ultrasonography in the Setting of Cholecystitis"

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Computing in Economics

Here are the Lecture Notes, Slides and Handouts for the Course the Spring at the New School, taught by Myself, Rudi von Arnim, and Markus Schneider.


Download the Course Outline [.pdf]

Lecture One, Feb 2, 2006

Download The Lecture Note [.pdf]


Lecture Two, Feb 16, 2006

Download Lecture 2 [.pdf]

Lecture Three March 2, 2006

Download Lecture 3 [.pdf]

Lecture Four--Rudi von Arnim

Lecture Five--Rudi von Arnim

Lecture Six April 4, 2006

Download Lecture Six [.nb]

Recent Papers

Technical Reports for the Digital Enterprise Research Institute

Comparative Study of Electronic Market Efficiency

Digital Approaches to Economic Modeling

Papers on Methodology in Economics

Hedgehog Logic in Econometric Methodology, Student Economic Review, 2001

Economics and the Natural Science Method, Trinity Economic Papers, 2003, with F. O'Toole,

Technical Papers

Search and Selection in the Goodwin Growth Model, New School Working Paper Series

Subgame perfection in Semantic Web Services, XII International Con-
ference on Computing (CIC, 2004). Mexico City, Mexico. October 13-
15, 2004, with Juan Gomez

Book Reviews


Also available at ScienceDirect Here.

CTYI Game Theory Course


Game theory is the study of strategic interactions. This course is about asking what happens when people or things with different incentives or motivations interact \textit{against} one another to achieve their own best outcome. It has become the underpinning of evolutionary theory, economics, business processes, international relations and is the subject of major motion pictures, like `A Beautiful Mind'. In this course we will discover the laws underpinning every game and study specific examples of different types of games taken using examples from literature, the movies, board games, economics, molecular biology, international politics, business studies, dating, game shows, government funding opportunities and, of all things, fuel injection mechanisms in cars and the songs of the Dunes in the Sahel. Students who like mathematics will enjoy the course, and those who are less adept at maths but who enjoy playing constructively will benefit from taking this course.


[Download Ver 0.2]

Course Outline Ver 0.2.pdf

Search and Selection in the Goodwin Growth Model


The Goodwin growth model is a particular dynamical system exhibiting limit cycle behaviour. I wish to add a measure of search and selection into the basic model by adapting one of the parameters of the model to be affected by an operator, such that the search process itself is a function of the relative slackness of the labour market summarised by the Phillips curve relationship modelled within the Goodwin model, and a new operator defined below, following Kauffman (1993) NK model of search and selection along fitness landscapes. The results of simulations show simply that the dynamics of the augmented Goodwin economy are essentially unchanged, though the search process itself is determined more by the macro-dynamics than the microeconomic conditions imposed on the actors in the system by the ruggedness of the landscape.


Mathematica as a Foundation for Economic Analysis

Lecture notes for the Mathematica Course for the Newschool are here in mathematica notebook format and in .pdf format. The main set of notes is in .nb, as people may need access to some of the code I've written in the appendices for other things  they might like to do. The lecture notes are in .pdf because I think you should go through the tedium of typing the functions in to learn the syntax, as opposed to just shift-entering your way through a notebook in 10 seconds and not learning anything about the system

[Download Course Outline ver 0.2.pdf]

[Download (.nb)]

[Download (.pdf)]

[Download Lecture 1 (.pdf)]

[Download Lecture 2 (.pdf)]

[Download Lecture 3 (.pdf)]

[Download Lecture 4 (.pdf)]

[Download Lecture 5 (.pdf)]

Download Lecture 6 (.pdf)]

[Download Lecture 7_and_8 (.pdf)]

[Download_Lecture_9_and_10 (.pdf)]