Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.


American corporations come out against Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs (The Economist)

Thus far only three of forty seven major trade associations have publicly commented in favor of new tariff programs, with the balance opposed. [Link; soft paywall]

Friended: How the Obama Campaign Connected with Young Voters by Michael Scherer (Time)

One irony of the Cambridge Analytica situation: the Obama For America app was doing the same thing back in 2012. Of course, in that case users knew a political campaign would have access to their friend lists, instead of a personality quiz passing the data on to a campaign later. [Link]

Ex-Obama Campaign Director Drops Bombshell Claim on Facebook: ‘They Were on Our Side’ by Jason Howerton (IJR)

Back in 2012, the Obama campaign pushed the boundaries of rules set by Facebook about how outside organization can use the information users allow apps to access. [Link]


Why Are Prime-Age Men Vanishing from the Labor Force? by Didem Tuzeman (Kansas City Fed)

Evidence that the prime age employment rate for men has fallen because of polarization in the labor force, with all sorts of negative consequences as a result. [Link; 26 page PDF]

Pent-Up Demand and Continuing Price Increases: The Outlook for 2018 by Jordan Rappaport (Kansas City Fed)

Catch-up effects in household formation, mean reversion declining average household size, and cyclical factors are all significant tailwinds for housing demand, but low worker availability, limited land availability, and land use regulation are all constraining factors that mean prices are likely to continue accelerating. [Link]

Can big data revolutionise policymaking by governments? by Robin Wigglesworth (FT)

A walk through the world of big data and how it can be used to generate private sector – and maybe one day, official sector – statistics about the state of output and activity. [Link; paywall]

Read The 10-K

Hedge-fund managers that do the most research will post the best returns, study suggests by Thomas Fracnk (CNBC)

A new data set shows that hedge funds which download more annual reports from the SEC’s EDGAR filing system tend to outperform the market. [Link]


Talent, luck and success: simulating meritocracy and inequality with stochasticity by Hongsup Shin (Medium)

A longform summary of simulations which show where inequality comes from and what can exacerbate it. Very helpful as a toy model. [Link]

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys by Emily Badger, Claire Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, and Kevin Quealy (NYT Upshot)

New research shows enormous racial bias in the relationship between endowment effects (how rich a child’s parents are) and outcomes (how rich the children end up). Controlling for the huge advantages of growing up in a high income family, black children still end up much, much less well off than white children. [Link]

European Affairs

German Mittelstand faces generational crisis by Olaf Storbeck (FT)

In the coming half-decade, more than 800,000 small and medium business owners in Germany will be faced with the question of who will take over when founder-owner-operators hang up their spurs. [Link; paywall]

Italy Is Latest Nation to Become a Gas Exporter by Chiara Albanese and Tommaso Ebhardt (Bloomberg)

European natural gas supplies have historically been heavily dependent on Russian exports, but new Mediterranean lines that reach northern Europe via Italy are changing that. [Link]


Who Goes Nazi? by Dorothy Thompson (Harper’s)

An essay from 1941 reflecting on what sort of person in that era found appeal in the Nazi regime; while authoritarianism never found even a small foothold in America, its appeal seems like it would have been inevitable. [Link]

Why He Kayaked Across The Atlantic AT 70 (For The Third Time) by Elizabeth Weil (NYT Magazine)

In his 7th decade, Polish kayaker Aleksander Doba ended a 110 day solo crossing of the Atlantic. It’s almost indescribable how impressive that physical and mental feat is. [Link]

My Candid Conversations with Extremely Online Folks Who Suffer From Internet Broken Brain by Luke O’Neil (Esquire)

What’s it like to spend more time on Twitter than anything else you do? Very funny, but also a bit sad, and completely absurd. [Link]


Understanding China’s Rise Under Xi Jinping by Kevin Rudd (Sinocism)

A reproduction of former Australia Prime Minister Rudd’s views on the most powerful man in China. This essay is extremely long and wide-ranging but provides as comprehensive of a view of the man as exists anywhere. [Link]

China’s Rise: How It Took on the U.S. at the WTO by Gregory Shaffer and Henry S. Gao (SSRN)

An underrated fact about China is that when it acceded to the WTO, it invested enthusiastically in legal capacity to defend its trade policies and attack others’ in international forums. [Link]

Mapping shadow banking in China: structure and dynamics by Torsten Ehlers, Steven Kong and Feng Zhu (BIS Working Papers)

If you’re interested in keeping track of how the financial system in China operates, this paper is an extremely helpful piece of background and reference. [Link]


A Self-Driving Uber Killed a Woman. Whose Fault Is It? by Matt Ford (New Republic)

Ford does a thoughtful job deconstructing how to think about accidents – especially those involving fatalities – when an algorithm is behind the wheel. [Link]

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Were Struggling Before Arizona Crash by Daisuke Wakabayashi (NYT)

In the months ahead of an accident which killed a pedestrian in Arizona this week, Uber was struggling to keep up in the race to deploy self-driving vehicles. [Link; soft paywall]

The Fed

The Fed Makes a Risky Bet on Overshooting Its Inflation Target by Tim Duy

In the latest SEP, the FOMC’s forecasts implicitly mean that the central bank will overshoot its inflation objective while unemployment is extremely low, effectively guaranteeing that it will have to hike hard and fast to catch up with inflation. [Link]


Citi sets restrictions on gun sales by retail clients by Ross Kerber and David Henry (Reuters)

Customers who use Citi’s services to operate retail businesses will have to conform to new policies around the sales of guns or face the end of their banking relationship. [Link]


The Glory That Was Yahoo by Dan Tynan (Fast Company)

Once upon a time, Yahoo was dominant. Then, almost overnight, it all unraveled into a $5bn sale to Verizon. [Link]


Average website gets attacked 44 times a day by Ian Barker (Beta News)

New research on more than 6 million websites showed that the average site could be attacked as often as 16,000 times in a given year. [Link]


Cinderella Story? It’s True for U.M.B.C. in Academics, Too by Erica L. Green (NYT)

The University of Maryland Baltimore County is the first men’s basketball 16 seed to win a game in the NCAA’s annual tournament, but its academic history and achievement is arguably more impressive. [Link; soft paywall]

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Have a great Sunday!

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