The Economist on Full-Time MBAs
Disruptive innovation in higher ed

Other Good Reads

  • Why bad science persists: Incentive malus from the September 24, 2016 issue of The Economist. The subtitle, "Poor scientific methods may be hereditary" is misleading, because there's nothing hereditary about it, except perhaps that poor methods are passed on to generation after generation of students trained in the same lab. The article explains: "the way to end the proliferation of bad science is... for universities and funding agencies to stop rewarding researchers who publish copiously over those who publish fewer but perhaps higher-quality papers," although it is "easier said than done". (There is also the issue that you don't know which papers are higher-quality until other teams have replicated them, or failed to.) 
  • The long march abroad: China's brightest and wealthiest are leaving the country in droves from the July 9, 2016 issue of The Economist. Here is the paragraph that caught my attention: "Of the 4m Chinese who have left to study abroad since 1978, half have not returned, according to the education ministry... In some fields the brain drain is extreme: almost all of China's best science students go abroad for their PhDs and 85% of Chinese science and engineering graduates with American PhDs had not returned home five years after leaving, a study by the National Science Foundation found this year." (On the other hand, since H1B visas can last for at most six years unless a green card petition has been filed, maybe they return home not long after that.)
  • The Affordable Care Act: Encumbered Exchange from the September 10, 2016 issue of The Economist. The article explains that Obamacare has led to a decrease in the percentage of Americans without health insurance and highlights the new premium redistribution mechanisms. "Premiums now vary only with age, smoking habits, family size and where customers live" rather than "medical history, occupation and most other factors that correlate with health spending." Also, "the old can be charged at most three times as much as the young." This has led to an increase in premiums for the healthy and the young, and while poorer customers, who receive subsidies, may not have noticed, those who are healthy and not poor enough to receive subsidies have seen an increase in what they pay for health insurance. Health payers have failed to predict the new enrollees' poor health and the predicted withdrawal of small-employer plans - where those employers would have sent their employees to the public exchanges for coverage - did not happen. Also, more people than expected have continued to buy plans directly from insurers. It is worrisome to hear that in 2014 over two thirds had a loss from the exchanges, with profit margins now of about -10%. The average planned premium increase for 2017 is said to be around 25%, according to the article. The article does an excellent job describing the threat to the exchanges of insurers leaving them. But while it advocates "nudg[ing] Americans away from employer-provided health insurance" so that the flawed public exchanges could survive, by eliminating the tax-exemption for employer-provided healthcare benefits, this sounds like a solution that would unite every taxpayer with such insurance in strong opposition.  



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