Friday, June 13, 2008

Growing Up in Wrong Times

In her work in progress, Growing Up in Bad Times: Macroeconomic Volatility and the Formation of Beliefs, Paola Giuliano of Harvard shows that individuals who are subject to macroeconomic volatility when he/she is 18-25 years old support more government redistribution but less confident on government institutions --and these beliefs will stay over his/her lifetime.

If it's true, then it partly tells me why our public discussion, which is now dominated by people aged 18-25 at the time the crisis hit in 1998-2000, is hostile to market based reform while at the same time, paradoxically, not confident with the government. And it will remain so until they are too old for public discussion, or the subsequent cohort coming up with differing views wins the debate.

It reminds me of an old joke: if you are below 30 and you are not marxist, you don't have a heart; but if you are above 30 and still marxist, you don't have a head.

Apparently, you are what you were at 18-25.

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