Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Well worth reading

1. Chinaleaks:
Close relatives of China’s top leaders have held secretive offshore companies in tax havens that helped shroud the Communist elite’s wealth, a leaked cache of documents reveals.
The confidential files include details of a real estate company co-owned by current President Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law and British Virgin Islands companies set up by former Premier Wen Jiabao’s son and also by his son-in-law.
Nearly 22,000 offshore clients with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong appear in the files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Among them are some of China’s most powerful men and women — including at least 15 of China’s richest, members of the National People’s Congress and executives from state-owned companies entangled in corruption scandals.
I am surprised that this exposé has not received more attention in the U.S. media.

2. Rainfall risk and religious membership in the late 19th-century U.S.
Insurance among the members of religious organizations should be more valuable in communities facing greater risk, making membership in religious organizations more attractive in high-risk environments. We examine the link between rainfall risk and church membership as well as seating capacity across US counties in the second half of the nineteenth century. Our results indicate that church membership and seating capacity were significantly larger in counties likely to have been subject to greater rainfall risk. This link is present among the most agricultural counties and among counties with low population densities, but not among less agricultural or more densely populated counties. Among the most agricultural counties, a one-standard-deviation increase in rainfall risk is associated with an increase in church seating capacity of around 32 percent in 1890 and 65 percent in 1860.
Hat tip to Samuel Bentolila at Nada es Gratis (in Spanish).

3. The 30 most innovative countries in the world. Some surprising results.

4. Nice recap and update on Puerto Rico's fiscal mess. Other links on the same topic.

5. Emerging markets crisis: not all about tapering. (Originally linked to by macrodigest.com.)

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