What We’re Reading

Optimally gullible:

In a forthcoming book, “Duped”, Mr Levine argues that evolutionary pressures have adapted people to assume that others are telling the truth. Most communication by most people is truthful most of the time, so a presumption of honesty is usually justified and is necessary to keep communication efficient. If you checked everything you were told from first principles, it would become impossible to talk. Humans are hard-wired to assume that what they hear is true—and therefore, says Mr Levine, “hard-wired to be duped”.


“There are some economists who think that the economics profession should be a mathematical discipline. To me economics and other social sciences are part of a big picture. If we are trying to stay in the mathematical world, we may become irrelevant.”

ESG portfolios:

Eight of the 10 biggest U.S. sustainable funds are invested in oil-and-gas companies … One simple explanation: No asset manager wants to deliver subpar returns. Energy stocks have been a losing bet this year. But research from the Federal Reserve Board has shown U.S. recessions have often followed periods when oil prices have run up rapidly. During those times, energy shares have often been among the few sectors to reliably produce gains—making them an important group for asset managers.


“Bad methodology makes everyone happy,” said David Reiley, who used to head Yahoo’s economics team and is now working for streaming service Pandora. “It will make the publisher happy. It will make the person who bought the media happy. It will make the boss of the person who bought the media happy. It will make the ad agency happy. Everybody can brag that they had a very successful campaign.


The Seattle Sounders FC scored three goals in their win over Toronto FC in the MLS Cup championship and fans were so excited, their celebrations registered on earthquake-sensing equipment.

Have a good weekend.