Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Models, Rules And High School Dropouts: A Guide To The Economics Nobel

Oct 13, 2013
Originally published on October 13, 2013 3:27 pm

While a few gamblers bet real money on potential Nobel Prize winners, at Planet Money we're content to merely speculate. We're particularly interested in who might win the economics prize, which will be announced Monday morning.

The good folks at Thomson Reuters are interested, too. Each year, Reuters publishes a closely watched list of predictions about who might win. Since 2002, this list has successfully predicted the eventual economics laureate(s) five times. This year, it named three groups of economists as favorites.

High School Dropouts

Joshua Angrist, David Card and Alan Krueger

Intuitively, it's easy to think that people with more education are likely to make more money. But actually proving that more education causes people to have higher average incomes is hard.

Maybe there are certain underlying traits that make people more likely to stay in school and more likely to earn more money — and it's those underlying traits, not education itself, that matters.

So if you're an economist interested in this relationship, what do you do?

The clearest way to answer the question would be to take a bunch of people and randomly assign them to stop going to school at different points in their education, then see how much money they make over the course of their careers. But of course you could never do this in the real world.

In 1991, though, Angrist and Krueger came close. They found a large group of people in which a single, basically random trait directly resulted in more or less schooling: their birthdays.

For decades, children across America had to enter school the year they turned 6 and could not drop out until they turned 16. So among people who dropped out of high school at age 16, those with birthdays later in the year would get a bit more schooling than those with earlier birthdays.

Angrist and Krueger found that, among people who dropped out at 16, those with birthdays later in the school year went on to earn higher wages than those with earlier birthdays.

The finding was interesting. But perhaps even more important was the way Angrist and Krueger managed to find real data in the real world that went a long way toward proving causality. Card is in this group because he used similar techniques, seeking out real-world evidence to try to answer important questions.


Richard A. Posner and Sam Peltzman

The standard story is that businesses hate government regulation. But Posner and Peltzman have shown that this isn't always true. In fact, there are times when businesses not only like regulation, but also deliberately seek it out for their own advantage. Railroad companies have tried to get the government to create regulations that would hurt truckers, Posner and Peltzman pointed out.

And businesses often push for strict licensing rules that make it harder for would-be competitors to enter the field, Posner and Peltzman have each found. (Last year, we reported on the hundreds of hours of schooling required to braid hair in Utah.)

More broadly, Posner and Peltzman have written that it makes sense to think about rules and regulations in terms of costs and benefits — an argument that's been widely influential. Peltzman also has an effect named after him: "the Peltzman effect," which states that safety regulations make people engage in more risky behavior. Seat belt laws make people feel safer, so they drive faster, Peltzman argued.


Sir David Hendry, M. Hashem Pesaran and Peter Phillips

A policymaker says the economy will grow. A financial analyst says a company's revenue will rise or fall. A baseball stats guy brags about how well his team is going to do over a season. All these guys are basing their predictions on forecasting models.

In economics and statistics, models are systems of relationships between different sets of data. The problem with these relationships is that they're unwieldy, messy and, if used incorrectly, wildly incorrect.

Hendry, Pesaran and Phillips figured out how to make models work better.

Before these guys came along, economists weren't very good at figuring out which models to use, and which to ignore. Hendry, Pesaran and Phillips developed tool kits to help economists figure out which models were likely to work better and which would likely be wrong.

Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Angrist's name. Thanks to the commenter who pointed out the mistake.

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