Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The obscure economics of vampires

There is a certain appeal to study the economic aspects of something that on first glance has nothing economic. Following the motto of this blog, I have reported on quite a few of those, such as boobs, beer, toilet seats and the scruples of teens. It is almost always good to stretch the boundaries of what we can do with Economics, what I have called the imperialism of Economics. But in rare cases this is going too far.

Daniel Farhat presents us with such a case, wherein he studies the Economics of vampires. The paper uses an agent-based model to follow the interactions of humans and vampires and draws inferences about aggregate phenomena. I have had my issue in the past with agent-based models, in a large part because they are build on unjustified assumptions with no robustness tests, and this papers makes me most concerned about these issues. Indeed, the model is built in a complete empirical vacuum, and none of the modeling assumptions are tested for robustness. Furthermore, because vampires never existed, and with current medical knowledge never will, the paper is pointless.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Talking vampires? Do you ever hear something on the news that you'd like to strangle your radio? The British are protesting the EU capping executive bonuses to not exceed salaries. And why? Three guesses... duh! They're afraid they'll lose their banking talent to Wall Street. Such BS! What?! Only career bank tellers or shoe salesmen will then be willing to put up with a job that could yield a million or two, or more, per year? And all this talent, that has near imploded the global financial system, without bailouts, would have driven the "too big to fails" into bankruptcy? At what point does human greed and stupidity end? And guess what, people who don't think and agree with all such crap: YOU are paying for all of it, with the crumbs they allow to fall from the table for your paycheck to paycheck life.