I will return to Hacker-mania soon (I hope), but allow me a brief side-trip on inequality.  Steve Waldman writes a long post attempting to refute Will Wilkinson's assertion that different price indices should be used for rich and poor:

"As the price difference between caviar and hot dogs expands, Rich will shift his consumption basket, foregoing some caviar for hot dogs. Doing so will make Rich strictly better off than he was in 2000: he could have maintained his old consumption basket, but the opportunity presented by cheap hot dogs gave him a better deal. Poor, on the other hand, will not shift any of his consumption towards caviar and opera, and he cannot shift away, since he was already consuming none of the now more expensive luxuries. Poor’s consumption basket will have gone nowhere over the aughts, while Rich’s will have improved. If we use multiple price indices to claim that the two groups’ “real incomes” stayed the same over the period, we will have missed this change. It is an error of elementary microeconomics."

This can be refuted thusly:
(1) What the Broda et al. research shows is that Rich tends not to forgo caviar for hot dogs in response to the price changes.  The size of substitution effects is an empirical question.
(2) You can't measure freedom with a price index.

That is all.


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