Petrol prices and obesity

Rising petrol prices might not be all bad, suggests economist Charles Courtemanche. In ‘A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gasoline Prices and Obesity’ Courtemanche presents evidence that increases in petrol prices may reduce obesity. Here’s the abstract:

I find evidence of a negative association between gasoline prices and body weight using a fixed effects model with several robustness checks. I also show that increases in gas prices are associated with additional walking and a reduction in the frequency with which people eat at restaurants, explaining their effect on weight. My estimates imply that 8% of the rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to the concurrent drop in real gas prices, and that a permanent $1 increase in gasoline prices would reduce overweight and obesity in the U.S. by 7% and 10%.

An earlier version of the paper is available from SSRN: A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gasoline Prices and Obesity

Via: National Affairs

Posted in Cost of living, Economy, Health, Obesity | Leave a comment

Treasury admits GDP used inappropriately

The ABC’s Shraysi Tandon reports:

A senior Treasury official has admitted that his department has been guilty of overusing gross domestic product (GDP), after recognising that it is a flawed measure of economic wellbeing and social progress.

The Treasury’s macroeconomics director Dr David Gruen told an audience at the NatStats conference in Sydney today that the body uses gross domestic product to measure economic wealth despite knowing its limitations.

David Gruen’s presentation: Measuring Progress: From Theory to Practice

Posted in Economy, Wellbeing | Leave a comment

Intellectual honesty

At The American Scene Noah Millman makes a distinction between intellectual honesty and advocacy:

"Intellectually honest” means you make arguments you think are true, as opposed to making the arguments you are “supposed” to make and/or avoiding making arguments that you think are true that you aren’t “supposed” to make.

Advocates, by contrast, make the best arguments they can think of for the position that they are obliged to take by their position. They are still supposed to be honest – they are not supposed to actually lie. But they are not expected to follow their own consciences with respect to the arguments they make or the positions they advance.

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