Thursday, 11 November 2010

New university admissions process in Hungary?

New government, new legal system. The changes do not leave education and the famous Hungarian university admissions system unaffected. We summarise the relevant points of the Concept of the new Law for Higher Education (in Hungarian) signed by Dr Rózsa Hoffmann, Secretary of State for education.

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Superfreaconomics - a great RSA animation on the book by Levitt and Dubner, on altruism, fairness thieves etc.- on ultimatume games.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Review of "Protectionism and blocking power indices" by Francesc Carreras

A separating family
Most of the voting power literature has focussed on the ability to make or change decisions. This is surprising given the way the voting rules  in many of the well-known applications, such as the European Union Council of Ministers have been designed. Indeed the attention has been more on how to prevent change rather than how to foster it. This paper is an exception.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dilbert: Intellectual propety rights

Lisbon prospects

Decision making in the European Union has always been an interesting if not controversial topic. The top decision making body, the Council of Ministers consists of a single representative of each member state. When voting, the fact that member states are rather heterogeneous in size is taken into account by using weighted voting with a qualified majority. The Treaty of Lisbon, ratified late 2009 has introduced new voting rules effective from 2014. What are the effects of the reform? This is the topic of my most recent working paper.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Cooperation to save species

In a recent paper Frank and Sarkar apply game theory to enhance conservation efforts. Their examples include the wild dogs in South Africa, red grouse and raptors in Britain and the conservation of coral reefs near the Philippenes. I find the application thrilling, though the game theory is not completely correct.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The World Cup of Economics Journals

Even this week I got an email informing me about the latest impact factors (IF) of some journals. What's in a number?

The IF of a journal for a given year is calculated as the number of citations to the papers published in the preceding two years, divided by the number of papers published in those years. This measure was originally introduced by Garfield to highlight journals that are hot. The index has been calculated annually ever since and for an ever increasing set of journals. As this indicator is readily available (for a non-negligible fee!), people started to use it as a quality indicator. A journal with a higher IF was (and is) considered better. A paper in a journal with a higher IF was considered better. A researcher with papers in journals with higher IFs was considered better. A department with researchers with papers in journals with higher IFs was considered better.

In a sense everyone was right. Ceteris paribus, a journal with a higher IF has a greater impact (whatever that means) and is therefore better in some sense. Unfortunately the IF is not only about quality, but many other things.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A core of voting games with improved foresight - a review

I regularly review papers for Mathematical Reviews. The task does not always come at the right time, but otherwise it is very rewarding: the papers I get are usually very interesting, and are often published in journals I do not normally read (the one below is an exception).