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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Baby Boomers Who Refuse to Sell Are Dominating the Housing Market by Prashant Gopal (Bloomberg)

Older Americans are refusing to sell, meaning a dearth of availability for younger buyers…especially relatively close to attractive amenities near city centers. [Link]

Homebuyers put less and less skin in the game, adding to the market’s overall risk by Diana Olick (CNBC)

The most buyers in seven years (1.5mm) bought houses with a down payment less than 10% of the home’s value. While that may sound like the housing bubble, modern mortgages are almost always much simpler, with few or no teaser rates, balloon payments, short terms, or confusing amortizations. [Link; auto-playing video]

A 2:15 Alarm, 2 Trains and a Bus Get Her to Work by 7 A.M by Conor Dougherty and Andrew Burton (NYT)

With prices on the San Francisco peninsula spiraling and cost of living moving up accordingly, the only solution for some workers is to retreat further out, at the expense of jaw-dropping commute times. [Link; soft paywall]

Emerging Markets

China modernises its monetary policy (The Economist)

A very helpful review of the efforts made by the PBoC to shift the Chinese monetary system away from quotas and guidance on loan volume and towards a rate-driven policy regime. [Link; paywall]

How India’s Debt Could Kill Its Growth by Daniel Stacey and Kara Dapena (WSJ)

A review of the extremely large nonperforming loan balances at Indian banks, with an eye to how that defaulted or defaulting credit may be holding back economic growth. [Link; paywall]

Labor Markets

The Rising Return to Non-Cognitive Skill by Per-Anders Edin, Peter Fredriksson, Martin Nybom, and Björn Öckert (Deutsche Post Institute of Labor Economics)

A quantitative review of stronger wage growth and broad economic returns for workers which have inter-personal or social dynamics instead of purely routine functions. [Link; 35 page PDF]

The Good News on Wage Growth by Mary C. Daly, Bart Hobijn, and Joseph Pedtke (SF Fed Blog)

A quantitative assessment of how much demographics are impacting wage growth, with lower-paid young workers entering and higher-paid older workers exiting. [Link]


Dalio’s Quest to Outlive Himself by Katherine Burton and Saijel Kishan (Bloomberg)

Dynastic goals and principles for life from the manager of the world’s largest hedge fund. [Link]

The Quant Fund Robot Takeover Has Been Postponed by Dani Burger (Bloomberg)

Market neutral programmatic funds have lagged badly in 2017 after tons of hype about algorithms, AI, and the human-free future of investing. [Link; auto-playing video]


See the cool kids lined up outside that new restaurant? This app pays them to stand there. by Peter Holley (WaPo)

Were you looking for an “Uber but for crowds of engaged people at a new business”? Congratulations! You’ve found exactly that. [Link; soft paywall]

Their invention is valued at $250 million. Here’s why they’re not satisfied by Andy Rosen (Boston Globe)

A profile of a company that developed a new approach to cloud storage with its own cryptocurrency; the founder now says “I think this is going to end in tears”. [Link]

Silicon “Solutions”

The Way You Use Instagram Can Show if You’re Depressed by Aric Jenkins (Fortune)

An algorithmic approach developed by scholars at the University of Vermont and Harvard claims to be able to identify depression about 70% of the time based only on users’ Instagram posts. [Link]

When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism by Franklin Foer (The Atlantic)

The story of a tech takeover of The New Republic, and what it means for the world of journalism more broadly as platforms (Facebook, Google, Twitter) devour revenues that digital content shops were supposed to be able to share between themselves. [Link]


The warnings from history that Wall Street ignored by John Authers and Alan Smith (FT)

A graphic summary of bubbles of the past, both historic (tulips and railways) and recent (emerging markets and housing). [Link; paywall]


How the Big Baller Brand is trying to disrupt the entire sneaker industry by Nick DePaula (ESPN)

Understanding the Ball family, whose sons can hoop and whose father aims to become a sneaker mogul. [Link; auto-playing video]


Carl Icahn’s Failed Raid On Washington by Patrick Radden Keefe (The New Yorker)

With Icahn resigning from his advisory post this week amidst the dissolution of other Presidential advisory councils, a review of his efforts to benefit from lending a hand to the Trump Administration. [Link]


Germany’s new divide (The Economist)

A fascinating explanation of the new divide in Germany: no longer riven by the former east-west border between democracy and totalitarianism, instead the new divide is between north and south. [Link; paywall]

Apple and Aetna hold secret meetings to bring the Apple Watch to millions of Aetna customers by Christina Farr (CNBC)

One of the nation’s largest health insurers already hands out Apple Watches to its employees. Could its insurance clients be next? [Link; auto-playing video]

World Gone To Pot

Holy smoke! The church of cannabis by Aaron Millar (The Guardian)

A Denver non-profit runs a church dedicated to cannabis, including its own chapel and theology. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!

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