Arin Dube Profile picture
16 Oct, 6 tweets, 2 min read
I know some people really believe competition almost always arises when govt is not stopping it but if you have to rely on a private contractor to haul your trash/recycling as we do here in Northampton, you know that's not true.

Thread.
So the city of Northampton does not provide waste removal services, which are provided by private contractors.

In the past years, USA Waste and Recycling has consolidated the local industry and has become the only game in town.
usarecycle.com/residential-ma…
And ... they are behaving very badly. They've increased fees without notice. Changed service schedules without notice.

Not exactly very well regarded by customers, but hey when you're the only game in town, tough luck.
They recently raised their rates without prior notification.

Then 2 weeks ago, they changed weekly recycling pickup from our condo to every 2 weeks. No warning. Same price. Needless to say, the bins are overflowing, esp given greater reliance on online purchases in these times.
This is a great illustration of why we need public goods - and it's disappointing that the city of Northampton has not stepped up to counter the monopoly power of USA Waster and Recycling. At the minimum, we should have a public option. Cc. Mayor @MayorNarkewicz
And it's a reminder that in many parts of the country, competition is provision of basic services should not be assumed, and this is why we need both better regulation of the market to make it work well, and offer public alternatives when they do not.

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More from @arindube

13 Oct
Attila Lindner and I have a new paper evaluating city minimum wages: (1) how high they are, (2) what past evidence shows, (3) new evidence on causal effects that provides reconciliation with the broader minimum wage literature.
nber.org/papers/w27928
There has been a big increase in the number of US cities with minimum wages in the past 7 years.
These cities are concentrated in the west coast, with some important exceptions (like Chicago, NYC).
Read 11 tweets
12 Oct
Trying out an idea: use matrix completion (a machine learning tool) to predict state polls.

Thread 👇
Say there are 100 pollsters.

Ideally we would have, for every day, a poll from each pollster for each state.

But that's not reality. Instead we have arbitrary sets of pollster/state by day.
Polling aggregators compute "house effects" to adjust for this. In Econ-speak this is like a "two-way fixed effects" model that rules out time-varying heterogeneity.

Instead, we can have more data driven way of "filling in the missing values.

Matrix Completion does that.
Read 12 tweets
12 Oct
What model is using a matrix completion approach to modeling state-wide win probabilities, and why is the answer none (that I know of)?
I am really mad because I'm going to teach it next week and would be very fun to use election prediction to motivate.
(OK I'm not actually really mad.)
Read 4 tweets
11 Oct
The Card & Krueger (1995) linear prob model predicting who is a min wage worker based on judiciously chosen multi-way interactions turns out to perform as well as an elastic net model that uses regularization. (Can do a bit better w/ random forest & boosting.)

Kind of amazing.
Most of us regular folks would probably not do so well and would probably overfit in-sample with bad out-of-sample properties.

So for us, we can do better with an elastic net!
Here are the precision-recall curves for different learning models. (Gradient-boosted trees do the best. Simple logit with no just the predictions without interactions does badly.)
Read 5 tweets
25 Mar
The UI component in Senate relief bill is similar to what we've seen the in the past few days. I'll just highlight the key aspects here.

1/
For those who *don't* qualify for regular UI (self emp, not enough hours, COVID related quits or caregiving) there will be a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance that pays 1/2 of state average benefits+$600/week. In place through Dec 2020. Feds pay for it all.

This is a big deal.
2/
UI eligibles will receive their usual benefits + $600/week in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

Overall, this will amount to at least as much as increasing replacement rate to 100% (while having a max benefit requirement).
3/
Read 9 tweets

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