Hello World!

This site is an attempt to bring some of my different posts in different social media and blogs that I want to preserve in one place, and to present new material on economics, photography, and whatever else interests me.

Who am I? The signatures of the posts here say I am “cogiddo”. This is an amusing (to me, at least) bit of wordplay I invented years ago, inserting my initials “dd” into the “cogito” of the famous Descartes saying cogito ergo sum. The name you would know me by in real life, however, is Dimitrios Diamantaras. More information on the About page.

This post will stay in top position. Please scroll down for every other post. To see all my posts in the “Economics” category, you can visit this page; for “Photography”, this page, and so on. For a live listing of categories, expand the Menu by clicking/tapping on the “Menu and Widgets” link on the upper right.

A profound loss for economics

Professor Kenneth Arrow, a titan of economic theory and Nobel laureate for economics, died yesterday at the age of 95. The New York Times published an excellent obituary. Economics Nobel laureate Al Roth published a blog post about this, the comments on which I recommend reading as well. Finally, Kevin Bryan started a monumental series of four posts on his blog, explaining patiently and deeply the contributions Arrow made to economics. Here is the first of these posts.

Same-sex marriage legalization linked to a decrease in teen suicide attempts

This article in The Guardian discusses in detail a paper just published in JAMA Pediatrics, co-authored by Julia Raifman, Ellen Moscoe, S. Bryn Austin, and Margaret McConnell.

The first link above leads to a nice explanation of the results of the paper, and the second leads to an extended abstract that readers who are adept in econometrics (and other statistics-savvy people) will want to read closely.

It seems to me that the marginal benefit of same-sex marriage legalization includes the saving of many lives. The marginal economic cost is negligible, if it is even positive, compared to such a marginal benefit. Individuals wishing to argue that the moral marginal cost outweighs the marginal benefit will find it very hard to convince me of their case.

UPDATE: I changed “suicides” to “suicide attempts” in the title of this post for higher accuracy.

The debate on how to teach econometrics

I am no econometrician and I don’t play one on TV. But I am keenly interested in how economists use econometrics and so when big debates on how it should be taught at university pop up, I am all ears. Apparently, lots of people care as much. Yesterday I tweeted about a blog post by Francis X. Diebold on the topic and my tweet became fay and away the most retweeted and liked of all my tweets. Since you might want to follow up and read that blog post, here is the tweet itself.


A portrait of Trumpism by Daniel Little

Philosopher of social science, Daniel Little, has written a blog post that places the political force that put Donald Trump in the White House in the context of right-wing movements in Europe that have, over several decades, pushed forward a populism based on racism, xenophobia, and an anti-democratic attitude towards the “corrupt elites” that pervade the previously mainstream political system. The post is well worth reading and contains many links of interest.

RIP Sir Tony Atkinson

Professor Sir Tony Atkinson died today. He was a giant in the field of the economics of inequality of income and wealth. His work will inform a large part of my new course on economic inequality, which starts in 16 days. Economics has been dealt a serious blow by his passing.

Being thankful

On this, my favorite US holiday, I am thankful for many things, in direct proportion to how lucky I have been in my life.

Marianne making art

First of all, I am thankful to have Marianne in my life. I am incredibly lucky to have found her, to be together with her in love, and to have been by her side while she beat back insistent health challenges, from which she appears to be free these days (I do not have in my vocabulary a strong enough superlative to modify “thankful” for this last one). She inspires young minds, seeks truth, and brings beauty to the world with her art.

I am also thankful for having had the opportunity for 28-plus years to teach in higher education, which has brought me close to many great colleagues and numerous students who inspire me and remind me daily that the daily grind of preparing classes, administrative tasks, and (yuck) grading, all give meaning to my life in proportion to what I am able to do for my students’ understanding of our crazy-complicated economic universe and for their professional lives.

I am thankful to have so many people I admire consider me a friend, be they singers, teachers, painters, artists, lawyers, or former students.

I am thankful humans have created so much beauty in music and the visual arts. I have found sustenance in music, met wonderful people through my humble musical activities, and recently discovered that, because of photographic technology, I can also be a creator in the visual arts despite being unable to draw even a convincing stick figure.

I am thankful for the millions of people worldwide who recognize the need to act to preserve our planet in a state hospitable for human life, and I am incredibly thankful the planet is still able to sustain homo “sapiens”, despite all the fouling of the nest said homo “sapiens” has done. We are all very lucky in this respect, and must strive to make this luck last.

What are you thankful for?

Why we use mathematics in economics

Economics Nobel winner Jean Tirole put it succinctly as follows:

In a mostly auto-generated translation via Twitter’s web interface, this says “[we] use mathematics not because we’re smart but because we’re not smart”.

I agree wholeheartedly. Using mathematics in our work in economics (and in so many other areas of research) allows us to stand on the shoulders of giants and use their smarts. It’s on us to make good use of this powerful tool, honed over the centuries by so many brilliant people. Criticisms of using mathematics in economics are pointless; criticisms of using mathematics badly in economics are valuable.