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Unsanitized: Being Thankful in a Pandemic

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/11/2020 - 4:47am in

The pandemic has made us a more social people. That sounds paradoxical, given the fact that so many of us have locked away in our homes for the past eight months. Continue reading

The post Unsanitized: Being Thankful in a Pandemic appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

Much Fewer Academic Philosophy Jobs Advertised This Season

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 02/11/2020 - 10:00pm in

Compared to previous years, the number of academic jobs advertised this season is much lower.

According to an analysis by Charles Lassiter (Gonzaga) posted at his blog, “there are 53% fewer jobs posted on PhilJobs in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019.” By this time in 2018 there were 270 jobs posted, and in 2019 there were 267. This year: 126.


Graph by Charles Lassiter

There was a 73% decline in advertisements for tenure-track positions this season, compared to last fall:


Graph by Charles Lassiter

There hasn’t been much of a decline in post-doc positions, though:


Graph by Charles Lassiter

Dr. Lassiter notes:

The long-term effects of this are hard to discern, but of this much we can be confident: there’s going to be a hell of a backlog of job-seekers for the foreseeable future. The job market wasn’t pretty before, and it’s only going to get worse. It’s not as though the jobs are going to spring back right away, if at all…. In light of this, I hope that departments and the APA increase their efforts to promote non-academic careers… The situation was already unsustainable, and the pandemic has only made matters worse. The profession can’t keep continuing to prioritize academic over non-academic careers. This is an opportunity to grow and adapt.

 

Related posts: Daily Nous Non-Academic Hires Page; Supporting Non-Academic CareersGrad Programs and Non-Academic CareersDuties to Graduate Students Pursuing Non-Academic CareersProgram Funds Non-Academic Internships for Philosophy PhD StudentsNew Site Interviews Philosophers With Non-Academic CareersProfiles of Non-Academics with Philosophy DegreesAPA Issues New Guide For Philosophers Seeking Non-Academic Jobs

The post Much Fewer Academic Philosophy Jobs Advertised This Season appeared first on Daily Nous.

Is Sweden the promised land for sensible covid-policies? Reluctantly. 

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 8:13pm in

Sweden is a rich, spacious country famous for IKEA, ABBA, dark cold winters, and its unique covid-policies. We escaped London for a few days to see for ourselves what the deal was with this Scandinavian country of 10 million. It is as rich and well-run as the statistics say it is: Stockholm is full of sporty Swedes, spacious parks, shiny public transport, cyclists, and prams. Getting to talk to Swedes requires alcohol and patience, but once they do talk, you find their English is excellent.

In terms of the statistics, Sweden has had a relatively good covid-experience. The number of covid-attributed deaths is 0.06% of the population, average for the EU, without the huge anxiety and mental health disaster befalling other countries. Also, their economy is now estimated to shrink by only 3% in 2020, with the government running a surplus in September. It did not give up civil liberties and had a well-publicised large glut of infections in April-July that got them close to herd immunity. Whilst measured infection rates are rising again in the autumn, there are very few new deaths, suggesting the vulnerable population is either already immune or by now well-protected in a voluntary manner. Did this relative ‘success’ reflect some unique Swedish attribute or was it just luck?

On the one hand, Stockholm is everything a Covista wants to see. You see virtually no masks, the full pubs have minimal distancing, the generations walk together outside, the theaters are open and sold out, children play in packs, and there is a relaxed vibe in the air with people reacting in horror when you tell them of the descent into authoritarianism elsewhere. The place also has quite a few covid-refugees from the rest of Europe who deliberately came to Stockholm to breathe in a bit of sanity and fun. But….

On the other hand, football stadiums are still closed, you see signs everywhere asking you to socially distance, the crowds in shops are not that huge, distancing is stricter outside of the capital, and the city employs hundreds of covid-marshalls who check on rule compliance in restaurants and pubs. So whilst we did manage to sing to live-bands and even managed to dance, we cant tell you where because venues are not supposed to allow this. It is hence a mixed bag.

You also see this mixed bag in opinion polls and in the election campaigning. Many Swedes work from home, would like to see stricter rules on movements, and are attracted to the narrative that the whole population should give up things to protect the elderly. Ericsson, one of the biggest employers, for instance just announced its employees should wear masks at work.

The Swedes are also about the most politically-correct people on the planet, calling themselves a moral superpower, exactly the types who in other countries are at the forefront of lockdowns. The shops sell organic ice cream and oatmilk cappuccinos, and their national history museum tries to claim that the slave business run by the Dutch and the English was actually the fault of the Swedes. I think if there had been a referendum in April, the vast majority would have been pro-lockdowns and even now, many companies and groups want things to be stricter.

So what explains that the Swedes have gone the herd immunity route? I think the honest answer is sheer luck and a willingness to stick to their previous resolutions on how to handle such crises.

The Swedes were lucky that the health authority charged with running things in a health emergency was a group wedded to the herd immunity idea. It wasn’t just Tegnell, but also Giesecke and others close to the agency: they had a group of scientists and public servants strongly committed to what they sincerely thought was the right thing to do, willing to ignore the large swing in opinion and behaviour among public health people elsewhere in Europe. They have had to hide their early expressed opinion that herd immunity was the sensible long-run strategy and simply stuck to the mantra that they needed to take a long-run view and could not justify the experiment of lockdowns.

The Swedes also got lucky with their constitution which I understand forbids the kind of compulsory social distancing and lockdown policies the other countries in Europe and America went for. The thing the Swedes can be proud of is that during the height of the panic, they stuck to their constitution whilst in other countries they did not: my current understanding is that many American governors and European governments have violated their constitutions, though it will take a while for that to be widely established by constitutional courts (several cases been lost already though by governments, such as in Germany and Pennsylvania).

In short, I think the Swedes are reluctant poster-children for the Covistance. Their policies are not as sensible as those of the Tanzanians or South Dacotans, but they are a shining example to the rest of Europe anyway.

How Do Consumers Believe the Pandemic Will Affect the Economy and Their Households?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/10/2020 - 2:00am in

Olivier Armantier, Leo Goldman, Gizem Koşar, Jessica Lu, Rachel Pomerantz, and Wilbert van der Klaauw

How Do Consumers Believe the Pandemic Will Affect the Economy and Their Households?

In this post we analyze consumer beliefs about the duration of the economic impact of the pandemic and present new evidence on their expected spending, income, debt delinquency, and employment outcomes, conditional on different scenarios for the future path of the pandemic. We find that between June and August respondents to the New York Fed Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) have grown less optimistic about the pandemic’s economic consequences ending in the near future and also about the likelihood of feeling comfortable in crowded places within the next three months. Although labor market expectations of respondents differ considerably across fairly extreme scenarios for the evolution of the COVID pandemic, the difference in other economic outcomes across scenarios appear relatively moderate on average. There is, however, substantial heterogeneity in these economic outcomes and some vulnerable groups (for example, lower income, non-white) appear considerably more exposed to the evolution of the pandemic.

Measuring Consumer Expectations

The COVID pandemic, dubbed “The Uncertainty Pandemic” by Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, has been accompanied by high and pervasive uncertainty about the future path of the virus and the response to it by policymakers, households, and firms. Here we assess consumers’ views about the future course of the pandemic and about its impact on future household economic decisions and outcomes, drawing on the SCE. Since June 2013 the SCE collects information on the economic expectations and behavior of households.

The SCE is designed to be a nationally representative, internet-based survey of about 1,300 U.S. households. In addition to the monthly core questionnaire, special surveys are fielded at regular frequencies on various topics and are occasionally fielded on an ad-hoc basis to answer policy relevant questions in a timely manner. The analysis in this post is based on data collected as part of two special surveys on the pandemic fielded in June (between June 10-June 30) and August (between August 6‑August 21).

Expectations Regarding the Duration of the Pandemic’s Economic Impact

We start with consumers’ beliefs regarding the expected number of weeks it will take for U.S. economic activity to get back to pre-COVID levels. When asked in June, the average expected number of weeks required for economic recovery was 94 weeks. This average increased to 132 weeks (more than 2 years) in August. Even though there are differences in the expectations of respondents, the increase since June in the expected duration of the economic recovery is similar across demographic groups.

Based on the August survey, 32 percent of the respondents in our sample work from home due to the pandemic. This share rises as high as 40 percent for respondents younger than age 40, and 50 percent for respondents with a college degree or with household incomes over $75,000. When asked about their expectations of the earliest date of a return to their previous work location, employed respondents on average report a 36 percent chance for a return within the next three months, 48 percent for returning between three to twelve months, and a 16 percent chance for returning to the office in more than a year, as indicated in the table below. When compared to the June results, we observe a significant deterioration in expectations of going back to the office in less than 3 months (58 percent chance in June versus 36 percent chance in August).

The June and August surveys also elicit information on whether respondents feel comfortable going to crowded places such as movie theaters, concerts, and airports. In both waves, we observe only around 23 percent of respondents reporting currently feeling comfortable going to such crowded places. As expected, this share goes down for older respondents (14 percent for age 60+). Moreover, when we ask when they think they will start feeling comfortable, respondents in the August survey report an average 45 percent chance for feeling comfortable sometime in the next three to twelve months and 43 percent chance of feeling comfortable in more than twelve months. As indicated in the table below, this reflects a considerable deterioration in the expected chance of feeling comfortable in crowded places within the next three months from June to August (19 percent chance in June versus 12 percent chance in August). Except for younger respondents being significantly more optimistic, these expectations are comparable across race, education, income, homeownership and Census region.

How Do Consumers Believe the Pandemic Will Affect the Economy and Their Households?

Summing up, our results show that most respondents do not see a quick recovery from the pandemic and have grown less optimistic since June about the pandemic’s economic consequences ending in the near future and about the likelihood of feeling comfortable in crowded places within the next three months.

Hypothetical Scenarios

How sensitive do consumers expect their future spending, income, and debt repayment to be to the evolution of the pandemic? To address this question, we took an experimental approach as part of the special SCE survey fielded in August 2020. The basic idea is to test how spending, income, and debt repayment expectations respond to different scenarios for the path of the pandemic. Each SCE respondent was asked to consider three hypothetical scenarios for the possible evolution of the COVID pandemic in the United States over the next six months. Under the “baseline” scenario, the levels of new coronavirus cases, deaths, and restrictions on distancing in the United States (including where the respondent currently lives) all remain exactly the same as they currently are today. The coronavirus cases, deaths, and restrictions on distancing all gradually drop to zero over the next six months in the “good” scenario, whereas they double in the “bad” scenario. For each scenario, we ask the respondents what they think would happen to their monthly household spending, income, their ability to make necessary payments, their employment prospects, and chances of applying for government assistance over the next six months.

As indicated in the table below, respondents expect their monthly spending to be $2,883 on average under the baseline scenario. They expect their spending to increase by 4.6 percent to $3,016 under the good scenario and to decrease by 5.9 percent to $2,714 under the bad scenario. Note that, if taken at face value, the 5.9 percent decrease in spending in the bad scenario (in which COVID cases doubled) can be interpreted as a -6 basis point “COVID elasticity of spending.” That is an increase of 1 percent in COVID-19 cases and deaths results in a 0.06 percentage decrease in household spending. In both scenarios, the dollar and percentage change in spending is larger for high income respondents and for those with a college degree.

As indicated in the table below, respondents on average expect their monthly household income to be $6,811 under the baseline scenario. Respondents only expect a modest increase in their household income of 1.2 percent to $6,896 under the good scenario, and a decrease of 8.1 percent to $6,262 under the bad scenario. In both scenarios, the dollar and percentage change in income is again larger for higher income respondents.

Under the baseline scenario respondents assign an 8 percent chance of missing a minimum debt or rent payment over the next six months, as compared to 5 percent and 10 percent under the good and the bad scenarios, respectively. These differences can be considered fairly modest and lower than one may have expected, especially considering the fairly extreme events the hypothetical scenarios capture. Compared to the baseline scenario, most of the changes in delinquency expectations in the good and bad scenarios are driven by lower income respondents, those under the age of 40, respondents without a college degree, and respondents who experienced a decline in income since the start of the pandemic.

The respondents who are currently employed believe that on average there is a 13 percent chance they may lose their job over the next six months—under the baseline scenario in which levels of new coronavirus cases, deaths, and restrictions on distancing remain the same as they were at the time of the August survey. In contrast, the average probability to lose one’s job is 8 percent in the good scenario and jumps to 19 percent under the bad scenario. Compared to the baseline scenario, most of the differences in expectations in the good and bad scenarios are driven by respondents in the bottom tercile of income.

How Do Consumers Believe the Pandemic Will Affect the Economy and Their Households?

Finally, in the baseline scenario, respondents evaluate the chance that they will apply for an assistance program (such as, food stamps, income assistance, rent or mortgage or other debt repayment assistance programs) over the next six months to be 15 percent on average. The average chance of applying to an assistance program drops to 10 percent in the good scenario and increases to 18 percent in the bad scenario. Compared to the baseline scenario, most of the changes in the good and bad scenarios are driven by respondents in the bottom tercile of income, those below the age of 45, and respondents who self-identify as non-white. In particular, non-white respondents believe there is 29 percent chance that they will apply for an assistance program under the bad scenario. The relatively high likelihood of applying to assistance programs in the different scenarios may contribute to explaining the comparatively low expected delinquency rate sensitivity discussed above.

To sum up, our analysis reveals the importance of both the evolution of the pandemic as well as the continuation of government support programs for household expectations. Labor market expectations appear rather sensitive to the evolution of the pandemic. While our scenarios present fairly extreme differences in the evolution of the COVID pandemic, respondents report moderate responsiveness of their income and spending expectations to the course of the pandemic, and a relatively muted sensitivity for delinquency expectations, which have remained reasonably low and stable throughout the pandemic. There is, however, substantial heterogeneity and some vulnerable groups (for example, lower income, non-white) appear considerably more exposed to the evolution of the pandemic.

The relative insensitivity of delinquency expectations, together with a large sensitivity of expected application rates to government assistance programs, suggest that the forbearance and other assistance programs currently in place have been effective in supporting household financial conditions during the pandemic. It also suggests that their continuation likely would mitigate delinquencies over the coming months.

Olivier Armantierr

Olivier Armantier is an assistant vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Leo Goldman

Leo Goldman is a senior research analyst in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Gizem Koşar

Gizem Koşar is an economist in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Jessica Lu is a senior research analyst in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Rachel Pomerantz

Rachel Pomerantz is a senior research analyst in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Vanderklaauw_wilbert

Wilbert van der Klaauw is a senior vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

How to cite this post:

Olivier Armantier, Leo Goldman, Gizem Koşar, Jessica Lu, Rachel Pomerantz, and Wilbert van der Klaauw, “How Do Consumers Believe the Pandemic Will Affect the Economy and Their Households?,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics, October 16, 2020, https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2020/10/how-do-consumers-b....




Disclaimer

The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

It’s Women’s Work

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/10/2020 - 7:02am in

According to September’s unemployment report, more than 800,000 women have given up trying to find a job. During the pandemic recession, women’s labor force participation – the percentage of women holding jobs or looking for jobs – is lower than at any point since the late 1980’s. That marks a generation of progress lost in just six months. Continue reading

The post It’s Women’s Work appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

The Professional Status of “Pro-Life” Positions on Abortion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/10/2020 - 2:03am in

Should junior job seekers try to avoid outing themselves as “pro-life”?


[Sarah Leonard, “Venus Fly Womb”]

A version of this question was discussed recently at The Philosophers’ Cocoon. The worry that prompted that discussion is that the pro-life view on abortion is perceived as sexist, and so philosophers who would like to avoid having a sexist colleague will avoid hiring people who defend that view.

There are a number of questions one could unpack here: (1) What exactly are we referring to by “pro-life” views on abortion? (2) Which, if any, of these views are sexist? (3) Does sincerely defending a sexist view make one sexist? (4) Is a job candidate’s sexism sufficient grounds for not hiring them? (5) Is the charge of sexism a red herring? Might it be viewed as sufficiently objectionable by others in the profession that some anti-abortion views restrict the liberty of women, regardless of whether the position or the arguments for it are sexist? (6) What should pro-life job candidates do?

I can’t take up all of these questions in this post. But I will share some thoughts about the first two, since I know everyone wants to hear what a man has to say about sexism and abortion.*

To start with a rather obvious point, there are lots of relevant distinctions to make here. Let’s just look at one: the distinction between the question of the moral permissibility of abortion (“the moral question”) and the question of the moral permissibility of banning abortion (“the legal question”). It’s worth making this distinction because it doesn’t follow from the judgment that some act is wrong that it should be illegal and its prohibition enforced by coercion. (Nor is it the case that some act has to be immoral for it to be right to make that act illegal.)

The moral question of abortion is really complicated, and I think philosophers—especially those most familiar with philosophical work on abortion—acknowledge this, and would not jump to the conclusion that someone who argues that most abortions are immoral is sexist.

I certainly don’t think they should jump to that conclusion; whether the conclusion is warranted depends on whether the anti-abortion argument in question is sexist. If one’s argument against abortion depends on premises that hold women’s interests to not be of equal moral importance to the interests of others, that’s one way an argument may be sexist. But not all anti-abortion arguments do that. To take a simple example, classical (total) utilitarianism does not weight interests differentially based on whose they are, but nonetheless the view implies that most abortions are wrong.

Of course, whether jumps to certain conclusions should be taken is different from the matter of whether they are taken. Am I right in thinking that this is not an especially popular jump?

What about the legal question? An assumption that a philosopher is sexist in virtue of supporting legal prohibitions on most abortions seems to have somewhat more warrant than the assumption that a philosopher is sexist in virtue of holding merely that most abortions are immoral. This is because to support making abortion illegal is to support special governmental prohibitions and use of force on women in regard to choices about their own bodies and lives in highly personal, invasive, and significant ways. But how much more warrant, I don’t know.

(I want to say that it is probably better to assess the individual arguments than make an assumption based on the conclusion of the arguments, but I see the counterexamples to that—do I need to assess individual arguments for race-based slavery? can’t I reasonably assume they’re racist based on their conclusion? At the same time, it’s not certain the analogy supporting these counterexamples is apt.)

And again, whether the belief that such views are sexist is warranted, there’s the question of whether the belief that they’re sexist is widespread. I’m not quite sure what to think about that. We could find out if you shared your views on the matter. Then there’s the question of how such beliefs affect hiring and the distribution of professional opportunities, and the further question of what job candidates with anti-abortion views should do in light of this, if anything.

Discussion of these and related questions are welcome.

(Since one’s own position on abortion may influence one’s view of whether certain views of the topic are sexist or perceived as such, it may be useful to share your position when you comment on these matters.**)

* Is there anything worse than having to explain a self-deprecating joke?

** For what it’s worth, I find Elizabeth Harman’s arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of early abortion compelling, and I am generally opposed to legal prohibitions on abortion.

Note: comments on this post are moderated and may take some time to appear.

Related: Political Hostility and Willingness to Discriminate in Philosophy, The Philosophy and Politics of Early Abortion in the U.S., Philosophers On the Ethics and Politics of Abortion.

UPDATE: Comments are now closed on this post.

Comments Policy

The post The Professional Status of “Pro-Life” Positions on Abortion appeared first on Daily Nous.

Social assistance: Do higher benefit levels lead to higher caseloads?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/10/2020 - 12:58am in

As part of my PhD thesis, I did some statistical analysis in which I asked the question: “Do higher social assistance benefit levels lead to higher caseloads?”

I have recently updated the data and had it published in a journal.

Here’s a short summary of the journal article’s main findings.

Social assistance: Do higher benefit levels lead to higher caseloads?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 12/10/2020 - 12:58am in

As part of my PhD thesis, I did some statistical analysis in which I asked the question: “Do higher social assistance benefit levels lead to higher caseloads?”

I have recently updated the data and had it published in a journal.

Here’s a short summary of the journal article’s main findings.

Pickup from Oxford to Birmingham

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/10/2020 - 12:52am in

Tags 

employment

Martin Pickup, currently at Oriel College, Oxford, has accepted a post as Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion at the University of Birmingham.

Dr. Pickup works in metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and early modern philosophy. He is a co-investigator on the project, “Meant to Be: Resuscitating the Metaphysics of Teleology,” funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Earlier this year he won the Sanders Metaphysics Award. You can learn more about his research here.

He starts his new position at Birmingham in March, 2021.

(via Yujin Nagasawa)

The post Pickup from Oxford to Birmingham appeared first on Daily Nous.

Homelessness in canada could rise due to recession

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 26/09/2020 - 2:50am in

I am currently writing a report for Employment and Social Development Canada looking at the long-term impact of the current recession on homelessness. It should be ready by early November.

In the meantime, a teaser blog post I’ve just written on the same topic is available here.

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