Thursday, May 28, 2009

Are Charter Schools Making a Difference?

From Rand:

'A new study by the RAND Corporation found charter schools do not harm conventional public schools and charter students are more likely to graduate high school and go on to college than other public school children.'

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yes But Do They Turn Out To Be Good Doctors

From Academic Medicine

A Change to Pass/Fail Grading in the First Two Years at One Medical School Results in Improved Psychological Well-Being'

'Our study has demonstrated that a change from a five-interval (A, B, C, D, F) to a two-interval (pass/fail) grading system in the first two years of medical school at the University of Virginia School of Medicine was not associated with a decline in students' academic performance (course performance in the first two years of the curriculum, USMLE Step 1 scores, clerkship grades, or USMLE Step 2 CK scores). This is consistent with previous data from the University of Michigan Medical School showing that a change from a four-interval (honors, high pass, pass, fail) to a two-interval (pass/fail) grading system in the first year of medical school resulted in no statistically significant change in performance'

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How premature regulation can kill innovation.

Another area that Obama will be looking to regulate I am sure. How do dolts in government know what is good for the market?

From Nanowerk

A majority of the jurisdictions examined have additionally issued policy statements on nanotechnology regulation. Pelley and Saner argue that these statements are designed to serve a dual purpose: "On one hand, they signal to industry that the jurisdiction in question is committed to the continued development of nanotechnology, and that it is therefore safe for companies to invest in that jurisdiction. On the other hand, they signal to consumers that jurisdictional governments are committed to ensuring the continued health and safety of its citizens and of the environment."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Financial Innovation

I don't believe this analysis of financial innovation is accurate. On average most financial products that have been invented in the last 30 to 40 years have been a huge benefit to society as a means of reducing risk, and allocation capital to its highest and best use. Using data points from a small time period to conjure up generalizations is a disservice.

From The Baseline Scenario:
'financial innovation is generally good in and of itself, although it has a high risk of creating “negative spillovers” – a higher risk than for non-financial innovation: “Most financial innovations are positive, and we don’t know ex ante which will be negative, so giving ourselves the power to block certain innovations because they might have negative spillovers is risky.” At first blush, this seems like a reasonable extension from real-world innovation to financial innovation.'