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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Investors Aren’t Putting Their Money Where Their Morals Are by Asjylyn Loder (WSJ)

While many investors express an interest in social responsible investments, asset flows have not been forthcoming for environmental, social, and governance-based investment themes. [Link; paywall]

Profit Margins, Bayes’ Theorem, and the Dangers of Overconfidence by Jesse Livermore (Philosophical Economics)

A statistical examination of a common trap that investors fall into, leaving them missing out on large equity market gains. [Link]

How The Other Side Lives

New York’s wealthy plagued by self-doubt by Simon Kuper (FT)

Interviews with 50 high income parents in New York City reveals a lingering guilt among those with high income, including masking their significant wealth. [Link; paywall]

Hookworm, a disease of extreme poverty, is thriving in the US south. Why? by Ed Pilkington (The Guardian)

Residents in Alabama have started testing positive for a disease that has no place in modern American society: hookworm, which thrives among areas of extreme poverty, often exacerbating the disadvantages facing its victims. [Link]

Labor Markets

Workers: Fear Not the Robot Apocalypse by Greg Ip (WSJ)

While the end of retail jobs get all the headlines, the benefits of more efficient business models get almost no credit; Ip explores them at length. [Link; paywall]

The Phillips Curve is Working Just Fine, Thanks by Michael Ashton (E-piphany)

While inflation hasn’t responded much to unemployment rate declines, wage growth still seems well-correlated to the tightening labor market on a lagged basis. [Link]

To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now by Neil Irwin (NYT Upshot)

A study in contrasts between similarly compensated women both working as custodians at large tech companies; now, with little chance for advancement, and then, when the path to the C-suite was still open. [Link; soft paywall]

Public Policy

Trump Says ‘a Lot of Good Reasons’ to Get Rid of Debt Ceiling by Jennifer Epstein, Laura Litvan, and Ekik Wasson (Bloomberg)

In a rare bit of good news, there appears to be room for a deal between Congressional Democrats and the President over ditching the debt ceiling after a deal this week to extend the existing limit by 3 months. [Link; auto-playing video]

Free lunch announced for all students at all NYC public schools (WABC Eyewitness News)

Public schools in New York City will now provide free breakfast and lunch to every student, removing the stigma of free lunches based on means testing. [Link; auto-playing video]

Natural Disasters

How Irma Became Irma: A Monster Storm Six Months in the Making by Brian K Sullivan (Bloomberg)

The failure of an El Nino to arrive in the Pacific this year was one reason higher ocean temperatures and wet air swirled together to create a massive hurricane currently threatening Florida. [Link; auto-playing video]

The Role of Global Supply Chains in the Transmission of Shocks: Firm-Level Evidence from the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake by Christoph E. Boehm, Aaron Flaaen, and Nitya Pandalai-Nayar (FEDS Notes)

An overview of economic impacts of disasters, using the 2011 Japanese earthquake which led to the Fukushima disaster as a model for impacts on US firms that had suppliers in Japan. [Link]


Dubai or bust for Baroness Bitcoin by Izabella Kaminska (FTAV)

A former model is running a bitcoin startup designed to facilitate the purchase of residential property in Dubai, and contrary to the stated benefits, the real attraction rhymes with “lax invasion”. [Link; registration required]

WFAN’s Craig Carton charged on Ponzi scheme, court papers say by John Riley (Newsday)

In the wild world of New York sports radio, perhaps it was just a matter of time before someone was charged with running a Ponzi scheme. [Link]

Three Equifax Managers Sold Stock Before Cyber Hack Revealed by Anders Melin (Bloomberg)

In the days before one of the US credit bureaus announced a hack impact 57% of US adults, several of its executives sold large blocks of stock in a manner that looks an awful lot like an effort to avoid declines stemming from the announcement. [Link; auto-playing video]

International Affairs

This Tiny Country Feeds the World by Frank Viviano (National Georgraphic)

Greenhouses in the tiny and land-lacking Netherlands are part of a system that produces radically higher crop yields with a fusion of biology, technology, and determination. [Link; soft paywall]

North Korea: Why the West freaks out but South Korea doesn’t by Robert E Kelly (Lowry Institute)

An excellent article detailing why non-Koreans are so much more worried about the North Korean situation than those who are most directly in its crosshairs. [Link]

Real Estate

NYC Landlords That Can’t Find Buyers Turn to Borrowing Instead by Sarah Mulholland (Bloomberg)

Unable to deliver unlevered returns with rent growth slowing, landlords are levering properties up to boost returns on equity. [Link]


Bomani Jones (Jeff Pearlman)

Jones’ former colleague and renowned sportswriter Jeff Pearlman interviews Bomani Jones. [Link]

Have a great Sunday!

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