Another way driverless cars might boost economic growth – AEI – American Enterprise Institute: Freedom, Opportunity, Enterprise

One person can only know so much. And one person can only create relatively simple products on their own. Complex products require networks of people, sometimes called companies, and even networks of networks, such as supply chains. And one way of evaluating an economy is by its ability to create complex products.

In his book, “Why Information Grows,” Cesar Hidalgo writes about economies as “collective computers” whose computational capacity is either expanded or limited by the size of social networks. (I reviewed the book recently.) And the ability to create denser networks is helped or hindered by communication and transportation technology, among other things. All of which came to mind when reading the new working paper “The Role of Transportation Speed in Facilitating High Skilled Teamwork” by  Xiaofang Dong, Siqi Zheng, and Matthew Kahn:

This paper argues that China’s investment in High Speed Rail creates an integrated, regional system of cities close enough to travel by fast train but far enough to not be car friendly. We have studied the productivity impacts of cross-city transport improvements by focusing on publication and citation patterns of China’s university researchers. The empirical results in this paper show that once a city is connected into the HSR network, the researchers in that city will experience significant productivity increase in terms of quantity and quality of journal publications.

We find that travel speed facilitates matching and idea flows between two HSR-connected cities. Larger productivity gains are observed for the secondary cities close enough to the mega cities to access them by HSR. We find larger productivity effects for social scientists and for the incumbent coauthors (the intensive margin). For the subsample of migrants, we find that they are more likely to choose those secondary cities that are directly connected with mega cities by HSR, compared to other secondary cities. These empirical findings bolster our claim that cross-city speed facilitates learning and matching across cities. This finding has implications both for efficiency and for equity in the modern Chinese economy. In a human capital based economy, high speed rail induced reductions in transportation costs increase regional productivity by improving matching and lowering the cost of face-to-face interaction. . . .

Our main finding that faster cross-city commuting speeds enhance productivity extends the original Gaspar and Glaeser (1998) work in a new direction. They argue that cities and information technology are complements and not substitutes. The benefits of face to face interaction increase if strangers recognize that once they have met that they can subsequently connect again by phone, Skype and email. Cities exist because they economize on transportation costs. The boundary of a city’s agglomeration area is endogenous and hinges on transportation speed. If new technologies such as high speed rail effectively make nearby cities “closer” to superstar cities (through moving at a faster speed), then agglomeration benefits spread out further across space.

Now I am not suggesting the US build its own pricey high-speed rail network. But in a world of widespread autonomous vehicles, one can imagine that many more cities might be considered car friendly and thus reduce the cost of in-person interactions.

I recently took an Acela high-ish speed train from Washington’s Union Station to Wilmington, Delaware. If I owned an AV, I almost certainly would have chosen that instead of a train. Indeed, a 2016 Boston Consulting Group report concludes that AVs will “constitute a tangible threat to passenger rail within the next one or two decades.” Or as Matt Ridley has written, “I just cannot help feeling that a very fast train, built at glacial speed (half a mile a week) over many years of consultation, review and challenge as it punches through Nimbyland, and at up to nine times the cost per mile of French high-speed rail, feels like a white elephant waiting to happen.”

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A Black Former White House Staffer Was Moving into a New Apartment. Someone Reported a Burglary.

Darren Martin moved to New York City this winter after years working for the Obama White House in Washington to take a job as an aide in the city’s government. After a couple of months crashing with friends and family, he finally found his own place on the Upper West Side.

The studio, on 106th Street near Columbus Avenue, fit the bill of what Martin, 29, was looking for: It was a decent deal in a good neighborhood just a couple of blocks from Central Park.

But about a half-hour into his move Friday night, police greeted him in his building’s lobby. A neighbor had called to report a potential break-in by someone who may have had a weapon, and about a half-dozen police officers stopped and questioned him as part of an investigation.

Martin said he felt like he had been racially profiled by whoever had made the original call.

“I don’t know if they watched me or saw me, through a peephole and decided to call the police and if they were in fact watching me,” Martin told The Washington Post. “What I do know is true is that they made a call, a very egregious call that I think was based on profiling.”


Martin said he was disappointed in the experience but ultimately not surprised.

The move began around 10:30 p.m. on Friday. Martin’s friend had driven his furniture up from Washington in a U-Haul truck, and because of that and a complicated array of circumstances, that was the only time they were able to unpack it.

“Out of necessity, I decided to bring things in, but if it was an opportunity for me to do it another time I would have,” Martin said. “You don’t want to put yourself in that situation where you’re doing everything right but because of how you look, it could get you arrested or worse. So you avoid those, if you’re trying to live your life.”


He let a trio of officers into the lobby and the three began to question him about what he was doing in the building, he said. He told them that he was a resident but said that he didn’t have his ID on him. The officers wouldn’t let him get it from his apartment upstairs on the fifth floor. Instead, about three more officers went up in and let themselves into his apartment, which was unlocked, he said. They found his friend,who had another engagement that evening, taking a shower, and eventually were satisfied that the two were telling the truth.


Later on that evening, another pair of officers arrived responding to a similar call; they told him that they were unaware that the issue had already been investigated, Martin said.

Martin said he feels lucky the situation ended well. At one point, he remembered to ask permission to look for his ID in his pants before putting his hands in his pockets.


{snip} Martin said, “At the end of the day when I take the suit off, I’m still a black man underneath. And it’s a daily reality.”

The post A Black Former White House Staffer Was Moving into a New Apartment. Someone Reported a Burglary. appeared first on American Renaissance.

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Giuliani puts the kibosh on Stormy ‘payoff’ claim, and throws Laura Ingraham for a loop

Rudy Giuliani dropped what many are calling a bombshell during an interview on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, saying that President Donald Trump paid back his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

And while Giuliani was adamant that the pay off didn’t involve campaign money, the revelation sent the left into a frenzy because Trump stated on April 6 that he was not aware of the payment — even Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, a former defense attorney, said “that’s a problem,” but is there a simple explanation that’s being missed?

In a panel discussion Wednesday night on FNC’s The Ingraham Angle, contributor Byron York suggested that Giuliani “may not have thought this whole thing through,” prompting an interesting reply from Ingraham.

“If you go on ‘Hannity,’ you better think it through,” she said. “I love Rudy, but they better have an explanation for that, that’s a problem.”

Giuliani told Hannity that the $130,000 payment was “perfectly legal.”

“That money was not campaign money, sorry,” he claimed. “I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.”

When Hannity asked if this was because the money was “funneled” through Cohen’s law firm, the former mayor said, “Funneled it through the law firm, and the President repaid him.”

But Giuliani would also say Trump “didn’t know the specifics” of the payment.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a participant on Ingraham’s panel, had a ready explanation that proved to be much closer to the truth, based on a later clarification by Giuliani.

“I don’t think somebody with President Trump’s income level writes all of his checks, you know what I mean?” he told Ingraham. “It would not surprise me if he authorized a payment and it gets lost in the shuffle. I know that sounds crazy perhaps on a certain level but here’s a guy with a massive income and he’s dealing with a lot of things.”

In a later interview with the Washington Post, Giuliani insisted the disclosure was no gaffe, saying he discussed it with Trump beforehand.

With the anti-Trump forces whipped into a lather over the possibility that Trump has been caught in a lie, Giuliani added more context to his comment with Fox News’ John Roberts — which is being described as “damage control” by the media.

“Rudy Giuliani told me that while reimbursed Cohen for the $130k SD payment, POTUS didn’t know what the money was used for. Giuliani says Cohen merely told the President he had “expenses” for which POTUS reimbursed him,” Roberts tweeted.

The payment is being described in the media as a “loan” because Trump reimbursed Cohen and anti-Trump forces insist it is related to his campaign, which will ensure wall-to-wall coverage.

But there’s so much vagueness in Giuliani’s revelation. In the end, it’s more likely to serve as another rabbit hole the president’s detractors will go chasing down in their quest to destroy him.

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Why Is Our Port Security For Sale?

CFP- On 24 April, 2017, the Delaware General Assembly approved a $580 million 50-year lease to cede control of the Port of Wilmington to a Middle Eastern foreign co-owned company, Gulftainer, controlled by the UAE and the Iraqi Jafar family.  Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar was [Read More]

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