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Posts tagged with basic facts

What jobs do the 1% have? by Bajika, Cole, and Heim

BCH and the US government did all the work here. My only contribution was to highlight

  1. professions I didn’t expect to see like pilot, farmer, government, teacher
  2. some “standard narratives”:
    • the one about “lawyers and doctors”
    • (I don’t know why these two get grouped together, since one works in abstractions and the other works in gore…but whatever, that is a narrative)
    • the one about “study hard and you’ll get ahead” (scientists, professors, computer, maths)
    • and “real estate developers”
 

Obviously the top 1.5M earners aren’t important to the exclusion of the other 311M Estadounidenses, the 145M employed Estadounidenses, or everyone else.

Equally obvious is that

fraction of lawyers in the one percent is not the same as fraction of one percent who are lawyers

(some lawyerly deeds are more lucrative than others … same for doctors.)

Still, if you’re 

  • choosing a career
  • thinking about social justice
  • trying to understand how the world works

then you might want to find out about rich people. It might be better to do so with, you know, actual facts, rather than for example listening to a bunch of programmers b*tch about how much money lawyers and doctors make.

 

Back to Bajika Cole & Heim. Why is it that this basic information wasn’t known? BCH, Pikkety Saez, and a few others who have bothered to parse data to answer simple questions seem to get fairly good citations. Are economics researchers so bent on complicated research that they won’t “arb” citations by doing something a non-PhD could do?

It is well known that the share of US income going to the top percentiles has increased dramatically over 1986–2006.  Piketty and Saez found that the top ¹⁄1000’s share of pre-tax income (ex cap gains) in the United States that was received by the top ¹⁄1000 rose from 2.2% to 8.0%.

But we don’t know what these people typically do for a living. Kaplan and Rauh (2010) looked through publicly-available information on top executives of publicly-traded firms, financial professionals, law partners, and professional athletes and celebrities. Despite making various extrapolations beyond what is directly available in publicly-available data sources, they were only able to identify the occupations of 17% of the top ¹⁄1000 of income earners.

We tabulated individual income tax return data from the U.S.Treasury Department on what share of top income earners work in each type of occupation. Through this method we are able to account for the occupations of almost all top earners – for example, for over 99% of primary taxpayers in the top ¹⁄1000.

(I liberally edited without [] or ….)

They also looked at spouses of the well-paid, computed income shares, computed growth rates, and broke down the incomes into

  • 1% ex ½% (rank 1,500,000–750,000)
  • ½% ex 0.1% (rank 750,000–150,000)
  • 0.1% (rank 150,000–1)

. All of this is at the end of the PDF, after the bibliography.

Anyway let’s give BCH a hand for providing us with useful information.

"Theory is easy. Data are hard."

(Source: web.williams.edu)










Energy consumption per person since 1820. by Gail Tverberg

hi-res




Incomes of the top .01%, 1915–2008 in France and United States
via @JWMason1
from the interactive The Top Incomes Database —
you can select countries such as Argentina, China, Indonesia, Ireland
and you can select upper quantiles like the lower half of the top percent; the .5%–.1%; top .1%; the top 10%–5%; and so on
and you can get income controls, price level indices, number of tax units, number of adults — the things you need to divide by in order to make apples-to-apples comparisons
Wooo, data!

Incomes of the top .01%, 1915–2008 in France and United States

via @JWMason1

from the interactive The Top Incomes Database —

  • you can select countries such as Argentina, China, Indonesia, Ireland
  • and you can select upper quantiles like the lower half of the top percent; the .5%–.1%; top .1%; the top 10%–5%; and so on
  • and you can get income controls, price level indices, number of tax units, number of adults — the things you need to divide by in order to make apples-to-apples comparisons

Wooo, data!


hi-res




  • $150 billion per year is spent on text messaging.
  • Recorded music is a $17 billion market
  • Yearly box office receipts are $32 billion
  • Video games $7 billion


(And the SMS market was created completely by accident.)

Tom Standage of The Economist

(Source: economist.com)




49 Plays

An interesting story about industrial rail in the United States. About 20 mins. From The Economist.

commercial railways in the United States

  • Europe has an impressive and growing network of high-speed passenger links
  • America’s freight railways are one of the unsung transport successes of the past 30 years.
  • Before deregulation America’s railways were going bust. … By 1980 a fifth of rail mileage was owned by bankrupt firms.
     
  • Since 1981 productivity has risen by 172%, after years of stagnation. Adjusted for inflation, rates are down by 55% 
  • Coal is the biggest single cargo, accounting for 45% by volume and 23% by value.
  • since 1990 the average horsepower of their fleet has risen by 72%
  • [since 1990] the number of ton-miles per (American) gallon of fuel [rose] from 332 to 457—an improvement of 38%
  • But the fastest-growing part of rail freight has been "intermodal" traffic: containers or truck trailers loaded on to flat railcars. The number of such shipments rose from 3m in 1980 to 12.3m in 2006, before the downturn caused a slight falling back.
  • one freight train can carry as much as 280 lorries can

(Source: )




Since the onset of the Great Recession, 24 bonds that were rated, intended to finance essential services, and backed by tax revenues, have defaulted.


Among Moody’s rated municipal bonds, there have been only 3 school district defaults and two utility defaults since 1971.


Bond insurance was present in at least 5 of the 8 most significant defaults since 2009.

Breckinridge Capital Advisors, quoting Municipal Market Advisors, Default Trends, 5 June 2012.

A while ago I was naïvely wondering how you would compare financial risks in investing in sovereign bonds, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, versus equity risk in public stock markets.

Spurred by wondering why anyone would lend to the United States Treasury when the rates are so, so low. (That question came from reading op-eds about austerity, fiscal cliffs, and so on—where someone inevitably brings up that the US can borrow for free so it shouldn’t worry about its short-term deficit. Keyword “bond market vigilantes”) I mean, couldn’t you get much more money lending to pretty much anywhere else? Answer, found.

(although probably part of the answer is that US TSY, Bunds, and Gilts can soak up huge huge quantities, and there’s no “bank” where you can put a few hundred billion dollars.)

(Source: breckinridge.com)




child mortality and fecundity

  • over the last 50 years
  • over the last 20 years
  • in Ethiopia
  • in Addis Ababa
  • in Somali Ethiopia

The River of Myths by Hans Rosling | #BillsLetter (por GatesFoundation)




Slow and steady.

hi-res




According to the FDIC, there was $664.3 billion credit card debt outstanding in the second quarter of 2012. Of that, $16.5 billion was 30 days or more past due. Banks had charged off $8.5 billion.

Doug Henwood

HT supervenes

(Source: lbo-news.com)




  • Global oil consumption grew by 0.7% million barrels per day, or 0.7%, to reach 88 million b/d. This is a low growth number.
  • Global energy consumption rose 3.5% in 2011l, OECD consumption dropping little-by-little the past few years balanced against developing economies consuming 5% more energy per year. China’s consumption grew 71%.
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BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012