Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mid-week links

Using the National Accounts to better estimate changes in well being (PPT link) – from the OECD Measuring Progress Agenda.  Aka - Why I don’t feel like I benefit of changes in GDP.

A better comparison of the cost of living in cities around the world?  Numbeo provides a user generated cost of living index for any city in the world, with prices updated continuously as users add price data. 

One interesting comparison - Consumer Prices in Munich are 14.65% lower than in Brisbane, and
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Munich are 5.13% lower than in Brisbane. 

Who desires a longer commute? Apparently a 7% of people desire an extra 5 minutes commuting time (from here) -

In one of their studies, Mokhtarian and Redmond examined the commute (i.e. the trip to and from work). They conducted a survey in the San Francisco Bay area which asked subjects what duration their ideal commute would be, and whether their current commute is the “right” length or not.

Counterintuitively, very few people expressed a desire for a commute of “zero.” The most frequent response put the ideal commute at 15-19 minutes, and almost a third of the sample actually said their ideal commute was over 20 minutes. Only 1.2 percent answered zero; this surprising result was largely borne out in follow-up focus groups, where subjects were prompted that zero was a permissible answer.

A comparison of respondents’ ideal commutes and their actual commutes revealed that while most (52 percent) wanted their journey to work to be shorter, 42 percent reported their commute was about the right length and seven percent (mostly those with short commutes) actually wished it would take them an additional five minutes or more longer to get to work. On average, people wanted a commute of around 16 minutes.

I suspect there may have been confusion from respondents about what the question was asking – Do you desire to live in a location where the commute is X (longer, shorter, zero etc)? Or, do you want the commute from your existing location to work to be X (longer, shorter, zero etc)? Or, what is the ideal commute time from your current location with current transport systems?

More on the Peltzman Effect - Night clubs are employing emergency medics to monitor the crowd, yet the Australian Medical association has concerns that it gives a false sense of security to revellers. I can just imagine the conversation – “If you want to experiment with new drug X, do it here because they have medical staff!”

Finally, from The Onion, a spoof economics and finance article that might just make it to the front page of an Australian daily newspaper.

WASHINGTON—Some sort of tax cut or earnings or money or something was reported in economic news this week in further evidence that a lot of financial- related things have been going on lately.

According to numerous articles and economics segments from major media outlets, experts on banks and such have become increasingly concerned over a new extension or rates or a proposal or compromise that could signal fewer investments, and dollars, and so on.

The experts confirmed that the stimulus has played a role.

"This is a clear sign of a changing cycle," some top guy at one of the big banks in New York said of purchasing power parity or possibly rate of return during a recent interview on CNN. "Which isn't to say that a sustained drop in wages couldn't still occur, even if the interest paid on reserves is lowered."

"In short, it's possible but not probable that growth could outpace our initial expectations," added the banking guy, who went on to say other money things, too. "It depends on investor sentiment."

The man, who also apparently mentioned the Nasdaq, the Dow, and the Japan one at some point or another, talked for a really long time about credit or reductions or possibly all these figures, which somehow relate to China.

Greece was also involved.

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