Week van Wilte in Tweets #24

Gedragswetenschappelijk onderzoek
Net gepubliceerd, een stappenplan van de AFM om goed onderzoek te doen.

Empirische rechtswetenschap
Voor mij nieuw onderzoek; meer informatie leidt vooral bij lager opgeleiden tot minder hoge (realistischere?) strafmaat. Kop van het NSCR nieuwsbericht vind ik gek (“Waarom vinden burgers dat rechters te licht straffen?“), denkt de lading slecht en het onderzoek geeft ook geen antwoord op deze vraag. Kop van Rechtspraak.nl is beter.

Volgens mij een nog vrij onontgonnen gebied, de empirische rechtswetenschappen. Ander mooi voorbeeld:

Persuasion Blog
Op zijn weblog Persuasion Blog analyseert en fileert Steve Booth-Butterfield vaak papers. Lekker kritisch, heeft wel wat weg van Andrew Gelman. Wat niet helpt, is dat Booth een eigen jargon -consequent- gebruikt. Hoewel ik het blog al tijd lees, ken ik nog steeds niet al zijn stokpaardjes en wat zijn termen precies betekenen.

Andere goede kritische wetenschapper is Stuart Ritchie

Leve internet


Review: The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life

The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life
The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life by Robert Trivers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“We deceive ourselves the better to deceive others” (p3). Why do we lack self-knowledge and how does that affect us and other animals? Biologist Trivers treats this subject from many different sides; the biological and the personal-takes are the best. And his bashing of social sciences that don’t incorporate biology, or stories of the author cursing at himself are amusing.

The title is based on Proverb (14:8): “The wisdom of the prudent is to know their own way but the folly of fools is deceit” (p298)

p16 On self-inflation, Epley & Whitchurch (2008):

Participants were more likely to recognize an attractively enhanced version of their own face out of a lineup as their own, and they identified an attractively enhanced version of their face more quickly in a lineup of distracter faces

p33 Interesting paper on frequency dependent selction in arms race between cuckoos and hosts; Rapid decline of host defences in response to reduced cuckoo parasitism: Behavioural flexibility of reed warblers in a changing world

p68 “scientists have created false memories in mice experimentally”- Ramirez et al (2013, Science): Creating a false memory in the hippocampus. Write up in The Guardian.

p90-91 “Natural variation in intelligence, corrected for age, is positively correlated with deception (…) Until shown otherwise, we should assume that the intellectually gifted are often especially prone to deceit and self-deception”.

p100 “There appears to be no difference between the sexes in ability to recognize whether children are the offspring of a given parent” From Daly & Wilson (1982) Whom Are Newborn Babies Said to Resemble?

p132 Musak produced an increase in output of an important immune chemical by 14%, while jazz did so by only 7%. No sound had no effect, and simple noise had a 20% negative effect. Charnetski & Brennan (1998)

p205 “as has been noted, the space program shares with gothic cathedrals the fact that each is designed to defy gravity for no useful purpose except to aggrandize humans.”

p281 Like in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (see my review), Richard Sosis’ work is refered to; “In each year, the religious sect is four times as likely to survive into the next year as the secular.”

p314 Good quote by John Kenneth Galbraith: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gest busy on the proof.”. Trivers adds: “This is perhaps especially true in academia”
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Campagne tegen schulden?

Gepubliceerd in Spits op 27 augustus 2007

De Stichting Ideële Reclame (SIRE) bestaat 40 jaar. In deze periode heeft SIRE bijna honderd campagnes gemaakt over onderbelichte maatschappelijke onderwerpen. Met de jubileumcampagne “U mag het zeggen” roept SIRE Nederlanders op hun maatschappelijke betrokkenheid te laten zien. Op de website http://www.umaghetzeggen.nl [link doet het niet meer] kan je stemmen op onderwerpen voor de nieuwe SIRE campagne in 2008. Of je kan zelf een onderwerp bedenken. Het winnende idee wordt een campagne van minstens een half miljoen euro.

Op financieel vlak zijn er al een paar suggesties gedaan. Zo schrijft Frans Matthijsse: “Ik vind het belachelijk dat geldleenreclames worden uitgezonden. Hebben die lui boter op hun hoofd? Het gemak (zo lijkt het) waarmee je geld kunt lenen lijkt zo mooi. Maar hoeveel mensen zijn er niet door in de problemen gekomen.”. En cabaretier Martijn Oosterhuis (bekend van de Lama’s) schrijft: “Ik maak mij zorgen over het gemak waarmee jongeren leningen aangaan voor consumptie”.

Volgens CBS cijfers is er in de eerste helft van 2007 voor ruim vijf miljard euro aan nieuwe kredieten afgesloten. Dit zijn leningen voor consumptieve doeleinden, zoals auto’s, meubels en elektronica. Die vijf miljard euro is inclusief roodstand op een betaalrekening en creditcardkrediet. De rente bij die vormen van lenen is vaak veel hoger dan de rente op bijvoorbeeld een persoonlijke lening.

Wanneer je de lening keurig aflost is er natuurlijk geen probleem. Maar voor steeds meer mensen blijkt dat lastig. Het aantal zaken voor de schuldsanering is tussen 2000 en 2005 bijna verdubbeld naar 15.000 zaken. Van de mensen in de schuldhulpverlening is ruim 40% jonger dan 35 jaar. Ter vergelijking: ruim een kwart van de Nederlandse volwassen bevolking is tussen de 18 en 35 jaar oud. Jong volwassenen hebben dus duidelijk meer problemen met schulden dan ouderen.

Het probleem dat Martijn Oosterhuis signaleert is dus reëel. Tot 20 september kan je er nog op stemmen bij SIRE. Voorlopig staat “Boterhamworst met gezichtjes” van de makers van het weblog GeenStijl bovenaan.

(uiteindelijk won Pleegouders in beeld)

Grafiek: Leeftijd schuldenaren

  • 18 – 35 jaar – 42%
  • 36 – 50 jaar – 43%
  • 51 – 64 jaar – 13%
  • 65+                  2%

(bron: Monitor Wsnp, IVA 2006)

Review: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very rich, good and candid book on moral psychology. Open-minded. Lots of ideas and concepts explained very well and also from different angles. Excellent structure and summaries. Haidt makes a well-rounded case, with empathetic take on views he personally does not hold, echoed very wel in Chapter 12’s title “Can’t we all disagree more constructively?”

Three principles of moral psychology:
I. Intuitions come first, srategic reasoning second
Metaphor: the mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant (the elephant is akin to Kahneman Daniel’s Fast-system in Thinking, Fast and Slow and the rider is the Slow system. Also ties in to Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, where the Heath brothers have added “shape the path” (for elephant and rider)).

II. There’s more to morality than harm and fairness
Metaphor: the righteous mind is like a tongue with six taste receptors (six moral intuitions; with different implications for liberals and conservatives. Liberals’ foundations have 3 pillars: care/harm, liberty/oppression and fairness/cheating. To conservatives, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and sanctity/degradation are also relatively important).

III. Morality binds and blinds
Metaphor: human beings are 90% chimp (egoistic) and 10% bee (social, in need of hive-life).

p26: Morality can be innate and learned. “We’re born righteous, but we have to learn what, exactly, people like us should be righteous about.””

p28: The rationalist delusion: Western philosophy has been worshipping reason and distrusting the passions.
p34: Damasio’s (DAMASIO ANTONIO) patients had damaged vmPFC (pre frontal cortex), so they had no emotions, only rational decisions, but made foolish decisions; “shocking revelation that reasoning requires the passions (…) The head can’t even do head stuff without the heart.”

p37: Scenario: people we are asked to sign: I, ____, hereby sell my soul, after my death, to Scott Murphy for the sum of $2. This form is part of a psycholog experiment. It is NOT a legal or binding contract, in any way. Only 23% were willing to sign, rose to 37% after some goading.

p40 “Moral reasoning was mostly post hoc search for reasons to justify the judgements people had already made”

P42 Howard Margolis 2 cognitive processes: ‘seeing-that’ and ‘reasoning-why’
Moral judgement is a cognitive process. Two different kinds of cognition: intuition and reasoning.

p65 Joshua Greene 20 moral stories (e.g. trolley problem)

p76: “Our moral thinking is much more like a politician searching for votes than a scientist searching for truth”. Haidt was inspired by Glaucon. On his website he writes:

One of the heroes of my book The Righteous Mind is Glaucon. He’s the guy in Plato’s Republic who challenges Socrates with the story of the Ring of Gyges, which makes a man invisible at will. He says that a man with such a ring would behave abominably, once freed from concerns about detection and reputation. I think Glaucon was right, and so we must design “ethical systems” for Glauconian creatures like ourselves.

p89: Schwitzgebel Do ethicists steal more books? (Yes).

p99 Shweder identified 3 clusters of moral themes: ethics of autonomy, community, and divinity. Utilitarian concept of autonomy is prevalent in Western society.

p120-121: “In psychology our goal is descriptive. We want to discover how the moral mind actually works, not how it ought to work, and that can’t be done by reasoning, math, or logic (…) Kant’s rationalism (…) felt wrong to me. It was oversystemized and underempathized.”

p138 Two kinds of fairness; “On the left, fairness often imlies equality, but on the right it means proportionality – people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes.”

p204 Tomasello quote: “it is inconceivable that you would ever see 2 chimpanzees carrying a log together.”

p218 Multilevel selection would go a long way toward explaining why people are simultaneously so selfish and so groupish.

p223 Human beings are conditional hive creatures. Hive switch is an adaption for making groups more cohesive, and therefore more succesfull in competition with other groups.

p244 Happiness comes from between (getting the right relationship between you and others).

p248 “Many scientists misunderstand relgion (…) they focus on individuals and their supernatural beliefs, rather than on groups and their binding practices”

p256-257 Richard Sosis studied 200 US communes in 19th century: “just 6 percent of the secular communes were still functioning twenty years after their founding, compared to 39 percent of the religious communes”. What determined success: more costly sacrifices (fasting, dress code) did increase life for religious communces, but not for secular ones. “religion is a solution for cooperation without kinship”

p294 Fundamental blind spot of the left: don’t consider moral capital.
p307 “We need groups, we love groups, and we develop our virtues in groups, even though those groups necessarily exclude nonmembers. If you destroy all groups and dissolve all internal structure, you destroy your moral capital.

p295 Haidt is an Durkeimian Utilitarian. Durkheimian: people need healthy hive to flourish (10% bee). Utilitarian: increase overall good of society.

p303 David Goldhill: How American Health Care Killed My Father

“I find it ironic that liberals generally embrace Darwin and reject “intelligent design” as the explanation for design and adaptation in the natural world, but they don’t embrace Adam Smith as the explanation for design and adaptation in the economic world. They sometimes prefer the “intelligent design” of socialist economies, which often ends in disaster from a utilitarian point of vies.” (p305)

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Week van Wilte in tweets #23

Round up van wat tweets van mij van afgelopen week.

Waar ik het niet mee eens ben. Lijkt ook inconsistent met eerdere stelling uit proefschrift Rutz (proefschrift verder niet gelezen).

Een veelgestelde vraag van speeltuinbezoekers aan speeltuin Rondom de Maredijk (waar ik al een paar jaar bestuurslid/voorzitter ben) is of de speeltuin open is. Daarom een Nest camera geïnstalleerd zodat iedereen real time kan zien of het hek open is. In een uurtje gefixt samen met Sjoerd. En ondertussen ook nog voor 8 euro ijsjes verkocht.

Too good to be true



Leuke filmpjes
Leve het internet

DNB over herstelplannen en ook de Marie Claire schrijft over pensioen.

Review: The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality
The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting stuff on (in)equality and the effects of Aid. Some a bit too much details (technical side of Purchasing Power Parity). However, always very accesible and readable.
I did skim parts because I had to return the book to the library…

p69: Mortality curves (deaths per 1000 at different ages) have shape reminiscent of Nike “swoosh”.


P89 Adult life expectancy (number of additional years to live). Figure 5: Until around 1900, adult life expectancy (at age 15)in Britain was actually higher than life expectancy at births. So a 15-year old was expected to live more years than a newborn.


p143 Doblhammer & Vaupel (PNAS, 2000): in Northern Hemisphere life expectancy at 50 is half a year higher for people born in October than for people born in April. The pattern is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, except for those born in the North who later emigrated to the South; they too show the Northern pattern. Plausible reason: green leafy vegetables, chicken, and eggs used to be readily and cheaply available only in the spring, which meant that nutrition in the womb was better for unborn children whose due date was in the autumn.

p157: Case&Paxton; Deprivation in childhood can have serious and long-lasting consequences (e.g. shorter people). Cognitive function develops along with the rest of the body, so that shorter people, on average, are not as smart as taller people

p210: One study showed that top executives in oil companies were paid more when teh price of oil was high, suggesting that the rewards were paid because the money was there, not because the recipients had done anything to earn it.

p254-255: In 1990 Indian National Survey changed question: how much rice have you consumed in past 30 days, to ‘in past 7 days’. “This obscure and technical statistical change cut the Indian national poverty rate by half; 175 people wer no longer poor”

p324: “When Princeton students come to talk with me, (…) I steer them away from plans to tithe from their future incomes, and from using their often formidable talents to increase the amounts of foreign aid. I tell them to work on and within our own governments, persuading them to stop policies that hurt poor people, and to support international policies that make globalization work for poor people, not against them.”

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Over boetes enzo

Gepubliceerd in Spits op 9 juli 2008

De Autoriteit Financiële Markten is een toezichthouder. Financiële instellingen moeten zich aan de wet houden. Doen ze dat niet, dan kunnen ze een boete krijgen. Maar boetes werken niet altijd.

Een sprekend voorbeeld is onderzoek bij Israëlische crèches. Een probleem is dat ouders vaak hun kinderen te laat ophalen. Ontzettend vervelend, de leidsters kunnen hierdoor zelf niet naar huis. Dus dat moet eens afgelopen zijn. Je raadpleegt een econoom en die zegt: Hef een boete voor te laat ophalen. Zo gezegd, zo gedaan.

Bij zes van de tien crèches wordt een boete ingesteld. Meer dan tien minuten te laat is een boete van ongeveer vijf euro. Wat gebeurt er? Het aantal laathalers neemt niet af, maar juist toe! Ook nadat de boete weer was afgeschaft, kwamen ouders vaker te laat dan voor de boeteregeling.

De econoom was het psychologische effect van de boete even vergeten. Ouders beschouwen de boete als een manier om hun geweten af te kopen. Door te betalen, hebben ze toch het recht gekocht om hun kind nog wat langer op de crèche te laten? Boete ingesteld, weg normbesef. Toch jammer.

De AFM heeft vaak gesprekken met financiële instellingen over wat wel en wat niet mag. De AFM wil marktpartijen stimuleren om zich aan de regels te houden, maar ook aan de geest van de regels. Niet alles staat uitgeschreven in de wet. Dan is een helder oriëntatiepunt over wat eigenlijk ‘goed’ is en wat ‘fout’ erg nuttig.

De toezichthouders bellen dus vaak met banken, verzekeraars en tussenpersonen, of zitten met ze rond de tafel. In deze gesprekken wil de AFM de juiste normen overbrengen. Want voorkomen is beter dan genezen. Maar er is wel een stok achter de deur. Wanneer iemand niet luistert en de wet overtreedt, dan volgen sancties. Welke? Bijvoorbeeld een boete.

U Gneezy & A Rustichini – The Journal of Legal Studies (2000) – A fine is a prize


Review: Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception
Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Akerlof and Shiller are clearly very good economists. But this book feels like they had to fulfill a book deal they made 5 years ago. There are much better books for many of the points they make (see below).

Topics are all over the place with no clear common thread, the phrase Phishing for Phools occurs about 500 times but is not a very clear concept (I did like the “mining a reputation”, that concept makes intuitive sense). Adding “PH” to words is only gimmicky. The afterword reads like a glowing review of their own book and makes (too) large claims on novelty and impact.

All the crossreferences and “here is what we’re going to say, we say it, here is what we said” (meta-text signposting) annoyed me in a book of 175 pages (the last 100 pages are notes, index and references)

“A phool is someone who is succesfully phished” (p xi). Two kinds of phools: psychological and informational. Psychological phools come in two types: emotions overcome common sense or cognitive biases lead the phool to misinterpret reality. “Information phools act on information that is intentionally crafted to mislead them” (p xi)

Goldman Sachs partner John Whitehead coined 14 principles: “Our clients’ interests always comes first (…) If we serve our clients well, our own succes will follow”. Quite different from the Vampire Squid Goldman is now sometimes portrayed as.

Pretty bold claim: “Securities regulation is one of the most essential government functions” (p.156). I think I can name a couple more important ones (education, infrastructure, defense even). Of course regulation is important (I work at a regulator myself), but this statement tells us a lot about the lens these authors view the world. And it is also ironic to hear this from two men who praise free markets so much. Albeit they also warn for the free-market as a two-edged swords (also has downside).

“Free markets make people free to choose. But they also make them free to phish, and free to be phished” (p.162) The follow this with a strawman argument “Ignorance of those truths is a recipe for disaster”. A better book on choice: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

“the role of narratives, which is perhaps our book’s most important takeaway” (p175-176) If you’re interested in narratives, read Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate: The Essential Guide for Progressives.

Chapter six is on Pharma; skip it and read Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

Chapter ten on junk bonds and Milken; read Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco

People are not rational; read Dan Ariely, e.g. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and how we all fudge (not phish): The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves. Or on psychology and economics: Thinking, Fast and Slow. A good, more applied book: Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
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Week van Wilte in tweets #22

Voor mijn gevoel niet veel getweet afgelopen week. Round-up met tweets over oa Eurovision, WannaCry-ransomware, exploding bar charts, goede boeken en wat eigen werk.

Deel van songfestival gekeken. Italiaanse inzending heeft aardige hook die me wel bekend voor komt. Paar leuke tweets/inhakers:

Heb ik wel niet getweet, maar toch grappig:

Exploding Bar Charts
Ziet er heel cool uit, inclusief alle code. Moet ik zeker eens mee gaan stoeien

Wat meta; twee tweets naar andere blogberichten met review van twee boeken die afgelopen week uitlas.

2x eigen werk
Afgelopen week verscheen er een ESB-stukje (mijn 35ste ongeveer) en mijn tweede blogpost op Frankwatching.

Mooi verhaal van held die ons beschermt tegen ransomware

Verkeerde prikkels
Perverse prikkels op de laatste speeldag van de eredivisie; als FC Utrecht had verloren (ze wonnen) had ze dat €750.000 meer aan TV geld opgeleverd.

Review: When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management

When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management by Roger Lowenstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great book on the rise (1994-1997) and fall (1998) of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM). Very well told, with the right amount of details and story in 236 pages. Lesser financial problems have gotten bigger books, but this book’s strength is its brevity, no unneccesary detours. How academic arrogance led to a tail-spin, instigated by the Russian ruble crisis. With a clear lesson: “a reminder that foolishness [e.g. Imprudent risks] carries a price would be no bad thing” (p230)

How very smart people underestimated fat tails; “The correlations had gone to one (…) The professors had ignored the truism – of which they were well aware – that in markets, the tails are always fat. (…) they had forgotten that traders are not random molecules, or even mechanicalmlogicians (…) The professors hadn’t modeled this. (…) They had forgotten the human factor.” (p173).

And: “during a crisis, the correlations always go to one. When a quake hits, all markets tremble. Why was Long-Term so surprised by that?” (p188)
“Long-Term put supreme trust in diversification – one of the shibboleths of modern investing, but an overrated one. As Keynes noted, one bet soundly considered is preferable to many pporly understood. The Long-Term episode proved that eggs in separate baskets can break simultaneously.” (p233).

The seeds for LTCM were laid in John Meriwether’s (J.M.) Arbitrage group at Salomon. JM hired and protected his ‘porfessors’. “The professors spoke of opportunities as inefficiencies (…) and [had as a] credo, learned from academia, that over time, all markets tend to get more efficient”
“Every price was a “statement”; if two statements were in conflict, there might be an opportunity for arbitrage.” (p12)

Nice anecdote on JM; a losing trader asks permission to double up and JM gave it rather offhandedly. “Don’t you want to know more about this trade?”. Meriwether’s trusting reply deeply affected the trader. J.M. Said, “My trade was when I hired you.” (p15)

When LTCM approached Warren Buffett for starting capital “The jovial billionaire was his usual self – friendly, encouraging, and perfectly unwilling to write a check.” (p32)

“As Scholes remarked at its [LTCM] inception, “We’re not just a fund. We’re a financial-technology company”” (p65; Lowenstein’s footnote cites this Business Week article from 1994, but I could not find the quote there https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl…)

P89: [Chase banker] Pflug was too smart to go head-to-head with the guy [Scholes] who had invented the formula. “You can overintellectualize these Greek letters,” Pflug reflected, referring to the alphas, betas, and gammas in the option trader’s argot. “One Greek word that ought to be in there is hubris.”

“A bit of liquidity greases the wheels of markets; what Greenspan overlooked is that with too much liquidity, the market is apt to skid off the tracks.” (p106; Lowenstein adds an endnote here; “The phraseologyis so close to that of an earlier writer that I must add an (end)note of gratitude to Louis Lowenstein, my father” Nice touch!).
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