Longreads + Open Thread

Lifting, Outliers, Academic Fraud, Primaries, Schizophrenia, Bubbles, Corporate Mortality, Meritocracy



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Reader Feedback

From last week’s Open Thread on corporate behaviors that seem irrational, freebee34 offers:

Corporate philanthropy. There is no logical reason on earth that I can think of why shareholders would want a C corp to donate money on their behalf. They are loosing tax benefits and by definition the donation cannot perfectly match the preferences of all shareholders. There are edge cases that I can think of (e.g. oil company contributing to encourage local support for a project) however in practice those are a tiny minority of the money spent. I have seen this as a form of internal rent seeking where an executive can get a $5k personal benefit for spending millions.

This is a bit similar to the theory that nicer academic fields will have more fraud: it feels rude to complain that money is being diverted to worthy causes when it really belongs to cold-hearted capitalists, but a) it’s true, b) executives can donate their own money, and c) the tax advantages and timeframes of charitable endowments mean that they are increasingly the recipients of both the proceeds of high-turnover market-neutral trading strategies and illiquid private equity ones.

Open Thread