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On Becoming Influential in Politics and Governance

Great question -

Sebastian,

I’m curious as to what your take on getting involved in politics is. For as long as I’ve been reading your blog, I’ve never seen you directly mention the subject, but many of the topics you touch on would be things anyone interested in statecraft would do well to master.

The way I see this, and I guess it is just part of my personality, is that it would be an all or nothing sort of deal. Either you get seriously involved or you stop paying close attention. It has really been wearing on my sanity to be knowledgeable on the subject but do nothing about it.

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Would a Big Bucket of Cash Really Change Your Life?

On The Lottery

A fundamental question faced by policymakers around the world is how best to help individuals who are in financial trouble. The ticket to Easy street? The financial consequences of winning the Lottery paper examines the consequences of the most basic approach: giving people large cash transfers. To determine whether this prevents or merely postpones bankruptcy, they exploit a unique dataset of Florida Lottery winners linked to bankruptcy records. Results show that although recipients of $50,000 to $150,000 are 50 percent less likely to file for bankruptcy in

the two years after winning relative to small winners, they are equally more likely to file three to five years afterward. Furthermore, bankruptcy records indicate that even though the median winner of a large cash prize could have paid off all of his unsecured debt or increased equity in new or existing assets, he chose not to do either. Consequently, although we cannot be sure other recipients of financial assistance would react in the same way lottery players did, our results do suggest that some skepticism regarding the long-term effect of cash transfers may be warranted.

Some examples:

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