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.


Heterogeneous effects of trade agreements across product types by Rebecca Freeman and Samuel Penknagura (Voxeu)

This assessment of modern trade agreements gauges which groups of goods see the most volume gains in response to new agreements. Just like in real estate, the answer comes down to location, location, location. [Link]

Record-Low 12% Cite Economic Issues as Top U.S. Problem by Frank Newport (Gallup)

Gallup has been asking consumers how they feel about the economy for almost 30 years now and they’ve never been less concerned about the state of the economy. [Link]

Conspicuous Consumption

Pimp Your Ride: Splurge on a Lower License-Plate Number by Scott Calvert (WSJ)

A new – or maybe an old made new again – trend in high dollar consumer goods: license plates with low numbers are attracting huge interest from those with money to burn. [Link; paywall]

How Puerto Rico Became the Newest Tax Haven for the Super Rich by Jesse Barron (GQ)

A look at the latest tax dodge employed by the wealthiest Americans, featuring an easily dodged requirement to relocate to the gorgeous, friendly, and fiscally strapped US territory of Puerto Rico. [Link]


Life Insurance Offering More Incentive to Live Longer by Paul Sullivan (NYT)

While the idea of reporting your step count to your insurer via an Apple Watch is appealing to some, John Hancock’s new policy of requiring reporting of wellness activity also has a faintly dystopian angle. [Link; soft paywall]


Fortnite has now been cited in more than 200 divorce proceedings by William Hughes (AV News)

Given the obsessive activity from millions of players, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Fortnite is being cited as a reason (admittedly, probably only one of many in most cases) as a cause of divorce. [Link]


For you sports fans out there (and/or gamblers), here are our week 3 NFL picks versus the spread.

North Texas explains the (amazingly elaborate) FAKE FAIR CATCH touchdown trick by Alex Kirshner (SBNation)

A detailed analysis of one of the most impressive trick plays that’s been run in years: a fake fair catch which North Texas ended up taking back for a touchdown against Arkansas. [Link]


Europe’s New Copyright Law Could Change The Web Worldwide by Klint Finley (Wired)

Following closely on the heels of wide-reaching GDPR privacy regulation, the European Parliament passed sweeping copyright legislation that would force the use of “upload filters”, preventing upload of copyrighted material. [Link]


Soviet Jokes for the DDCI (CIA)

Declassified jokes collected by the CIA in the old Soviet Union are a good source of laughs, both in their own right and as part of a meta joke that they were ever classified in the first place. [Link; 2 page PDF]

A resident of New Bern, NC, may in fact have a new boat by Brendan Greeley (FTAV)

This classic of the FT Alphaville blogging genre takes a throw-away comment by the President and runs through the full legal and economic analysis, with a healthy dose of policy implications alongside. [Link; registration required]

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Have a great Sunday!

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