What’s next?

I’ve not been regular with this blog in 2019 at all. Mainly, I’ve been focused on school, debate, college applications, and a grant I recently won to work on sexual violence. However, I wanna be at least somewhat committed to writing on this blog next year – though I’ll have exams most of the time for the first three months, I’ll try to get a few posts in.

Given that, here are some ideas for posts I’ve been toying with, as well as some posts I’m sure will be on here in 2020. Making them public will put additional pressure on me to be committed and can function as part of a New Year Resolution.

What is/are the best policy approach(es) to prostitution? I’ve been working on this literature review for nearly a year now – much of it has been spent reading research. Sexual violence is an issue I care a lot about, and I’ve been awarded a grant by Emergent Ventures to do some independent content creation (“independent research,” you could say) on the issue – and this is the first of hopefully a series of articles on that. I already have about ~40% of a draft, so I’m >95% sure this will be up before September next year.

Note: There will also be other articles on sexual violence published next year – perhaps 2–3 – but I try to make those as rigorous as I can, so am not in a position to list the titles/write paragraphs about them yet. 

A review of the Caplan–Glaeser debate on education. Bryan Caplan and Ed Glaeser are two of my favorite economists – and only recently, I discovered that they had a debate on Professor Caplan’s book, The Case Against Education. Most of my “intellectual” background is in competitive debate – in 2019, I was part of the winning team at the World Schools Debating Championships, and was the #1-ranked individual – so I’m thinking I’ll watch (and flow) the entire debate, judge it, and write up an RFD (“reason for decision”).

My school education in retrospect. A personal post, with some themes related to The Case Against Education – basically, a review of Indian school education as I experienced it, and changes I’d make, particularly to the high school curriculum.

How I self-learned some social science as a high school student. Over the past year or so, and continuing onto next year, I’ve been and will be self-learning a lot of economics and political science – introductory economics, comparative politics, intermediate micro and macro (mathematical), introductory sociology, game theory, public economics, development economics (including growth), statistics and probability, econometrics, calculus, linear algebra, and public choice. I wanna talk about some of the conceptual revelations that took some thinking to get (e.g., the first fundamental theorem of welfare economics), some articles that changed the way I thought about various issues in social science (e.g., Michael Munger’s “A Fable of the OC,” Scott Alexander’s “Meditations on Moloch,” Tyler Cowen’s “Are Intuitions About Minimum Wages and Occupational Licensing Consistent?“, and Scott Sumner’s “Why Is Supply and Demand So Confusing?“), and what I’d change if I did it again.

An unscientific survey on sexual harassment. A long time ago, I conducted a highly unscientific survey on sexual harassment – utterly packed with selection bias, for example. However, just for fun – if anything, as practice for me – I wanna do some data analysis and play with the dataset a bit, and post my (undoubtedly hilarious and frail) attempts publicly.

A literature review on capital punishment and homicides. This one is ambitious – maybe 30% probability it actually happens next year – but I wanna write a literature review of research on the subject of whether capital punishment deters homicides. Why this subject? I was heavily involved in online debate for the period of 2015–early 2017 and one of the topics I encountered most frequently – and have read some research on. The issue is very complicated and, as I remember, a lot of the research doesn’t work with very good data/works with weird instrumental variables that don’t make sense a lot of them (not a majority, just “many,” and I don’t remember very well how many).

There’s also two other ideas I have, but neither is well-developed enough to write a coherent/sensible paragraph about yet:

  • How much of a problem is human-caused climate change, if its importance is measured by expected utility * solvability? How should it be prioritized relative to other considerations by governments – particularly of developing countries? This question is probably too big and I will probably narrow in on something specific if I write this.
  • Does urbanization in developing countries pose a threat to food security? An intuition I’ve sort of had, for a bit, is that large scale urbanization in developing countries could threaten the scale of agricultural production – and thus threaten food security. If this intuition holds any weight, it seems like an important negative externality to consider when thinking about rural–urban migration. (At the same time, a severe problem in developing countries is low labor productivity in agriculture and “disguised unemployment,” which could mean there are too many people in agriculture.) I wanna investigate this question. Disclaimer: I have absolutely no knowledge of this issue and this paragraph may make absolutely no sense/I may be missing something huge or even obvious.

Would appreciate thoughts from anyone!

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