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.

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Policy Research

California Unemployment Insurance Claims During the COVID-19 Pandemic by Thomas J. Hedin, Geoffrey Schnorr and Till von Wachter (California Policy Lab)

Some startling findings on the nature of jobless claims filers in California: half are re-opened claims, driven by new rounds of firings or hours reduction. One-third of California’s workforce has filed for UI benefits since the start of mid-March. [Link]

Do Unemployment Insurance Benefits Improve Match Quality? Evidence from Recent U.S. Recessions by Ammar Farooq, Adriana D. Kugler, and Umberto Muratori (NBER)

New research argues that more generous UI benefits allow workers to find jobs better-suited to their skills, supporting long-term income and productivity with extra benefits for women, non-white, and lower-education workers. [Link]

The Gulf Between Republicans and Democrats on Coronavirus Aid, in 9 Charts by Alicia Parlapiano (NYT)

A helpful rundown of the priorities each party has in their proposed new round of relief from the COVID shock. [Link; soft paywall]


With Biotech Stocks, Investors Love the Thrill of the Chase by Gregory Zuckerman and Michael Wursthorn (WSJ)

Risk-seeking individual investors have turned to vaccine plays as a way to scratch their itch for big payoffs and high uncertainty. [Link; paywall]

A Blank-Check ETF May Be Coming After the Surge in SPACs by Katherine Greifeld (Bloomberg)

With the popularity of so-called “blank-check” special purpose acquisition companies (which raise capital then use it to buy out a private company), there is of course an ETF set to track the broad space. [Link; soft paywall]

Political Donations

Schwarzman’s Wallet Props Up Wall Street Elite’s Giving to Trump by Shahien Nasiripour and Hema Parmar (Bloomberg)

The CEO of PE shop Blackstone is accounting for three-quarters of every dollar that Wall Street donates to the President’s re-election campaign. Excluding Schwarzman, donations are down almost 70% versus 2016. [Link; soft paywall]


Some scientists are taking a DIY coronavirus vaccine, and nobody knows if it’s legal or if it works by Antonio Regalado (MIT Technology Review)

In an effort to develop immunity ahead of the commercially viable alternative, some are taking a basically homemade vaccine that sits on at best legally dubious grounds. [Link; soft paywall]


Wheat yield potential in controlled-environment vertical farms by Senthold Asseng et al (PNAS)

A new study of vertical farming, whereby crops are grown indoors in layers, can produce radically higher crop yields than any current farming technique, creating more calories with fewer resoruces. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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