Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Economic impact from PA "games-of-chance" bill

Pennsylvania is considering allowing "small games of chance" in bars.  One story here.  Another story here.  Finally, a story about how VFWs oppose this law.

Excerpt from Bloomberg:
Under the bill, approximately 4,500 bars and taverns could seek licenses to hold pull-tabs, daily drawings and tavern raffles. Individual prize limits would be $2,000 for a single game and $35,000 over seven days, while raffles would be limited to once a month. The state would take 60 percent of the bar owner's revenue, while the state's budget analysts expect that about 2,000 bar owners would get licenses based on the experience in Indiana.
Excerpt from the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat:
The head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Pennsylvania is warning that almost half the VFW posts in the commonwealth will shut their doors if tinkering with the state’s small games of chance laws passed by the Senate clears the state House.

Those who support the law claim it will add significant extra tax revenue.  I doubt it.  While these games certainly will create a new source of tax revenue, I suspect it will be offset by losses of tax revenue elsewhere.  Money spent on gambling in bars is money not spent on other gambling (maybe the lottery) or on other products/services, which are also taxed.  The net impact on tax revenue seems like it would be quite small.

The overall economic impact is likely neutral.  That being said, I support this law.  I view this as increasing freedom. I doubt I'll ever play these games, but others find value in playing them.  

The VFW objects as they think it will shut down some VFWs because they'll lose their monopoly on small games of chance.  While I sympathize with the VFWs' objections, I don't see why they should have a monopoly.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What do consumer surveys and experiments reveal and conceal about consumer preferences for genetically modified foods?

My newest article "What do consumer surveys and experiments reveal and conceal about consumer preferences for genetically modified foods?" is now open access.

That means you can get the PDF version for free by clicking the above link.  

Here's the abstract:
Assessing consumer perceptions and willingness to pay for ..genetically modified (GM) foods has been one of the most active areas of empirical research in agricultural economics. researchers over the past 15 years have delivered well over 100 estimates of consumers’ willingness to pay for GM foods using surveys and experimental methods. in this review, we explore a number of unresolved issues related to three questions
that are critical when considering the sum of the individual contributions that constitute the evidence on consumer preferences for GM foods.

Assorted Links

1.  Commonwealth Foundation reports on a couple bills being considered in PA.  These potential laws fall under the "they're so obvious, only politicians could screw this up" category.

Link here:
Did you know that it's illegal to stalk, harass, or threaten to use violence (and yes, weapons of mass destruction) in Pennsylvania...except if you're a labor union (or management) in a dispute?  Then it's quite alright to commit all those acts, thanks to a loophole in state law. 
Thankfully, two new bills would get rid of unions' carte blanche for crime.

 2. Controversy in New Brunswick over fracking.

3. Anybody surprised? Obamas' give website contract to college classmate. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Former environmental chief supports fracking and other fracking links

In September, the leading economist and climate change expert Lord Stern described claims that fracking would lower UK energy bills, as it has done in the US, as “baseless economics”.
My first thought is: How can anybody who says an increase in supply won't decrease prices be called a leading economist?

2. This book already has 43 reviews.  I guess if you want to make money, becoming an anti-fracking activist is an option.

I haven't read it.  If I got a free copy I might review it, but I hesitate to spend my own money on a book published by the "Post Carbon Institute".

3.  Former Department of Environmental Protection (for Pennsylvania) says fracking has helped the environment.

“Despite these shrill cries from movie stars, chefs and whoever else, the sky has not fallen.” (6:14)
The sky has not fallen, but the air we breathe has gotten better.  What we are seeing in major cities from Pittsburgh to New York City is that, because of natural gas, air quality has improved significantly.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why Republicans might have "won" the shutdown

I didn't write much about the shutdown.  The national debt has gone up by over half a trillion dollars already this year.  That's over $1500 for every man, woman, and child in the US.  The debt concerned me far more than the shutdown did.  Same with Obamacare costing people health insurance, the EPA's onerous regulations, etc., etc.

Let's ignore all of this for now and simply look at the at the impact of the shutdown on both parties.  In the game theory analysis of who won/lost, most are saying Republicans got hurt by the shutdown.  (e.g., see link here)  If an election was held tomorrow, that might be true.  But, once you consider:

1. The next major election is over a year away.  Because of this, we have to think about what the mood will be like one year from now.
2. Democrats won't be mad about the shutdown by the next election.  They basically "won".  
3. Independents won't be mad about the shutdown either as a year will have passed.  There will be other pressing concerns.  But ...
4. Republicans are mad that they didn't get any concessions, and likely will still be mad about this a year from now.  They lost.

Because of this, I think Republicans will do better in November 2014 because of the events that transpired this month.

Fracking in the EU and other links

1.  Two stories on fracking in the EU.  Here and here.

I worry that unethical bureaucrats may misuse their authority and stall permission to drill when there aren't legitimate reasons for stalling.

2.  Murderers are accidentally released.

Stories like these need to be remembered when somebody argues against the death penalty.  Sometimes murderers do get out.  That wouldn't happen if their executed, obviously.

3.  The Heritage Foundation explores the care where fewer Americans may have health insurance because of Obamacare.

4.  Another great Thomas Sowell article.

Some people try to explain why Asians, and Asian-Americans, succeed so well in education and in the economy by some special characteristics that they have. That may be true, but their success may also be due to what they do not have -- namely "leaders" who tell them that the deck is so stacked against them that they cannot rise, or at least not without depending on "leaders."

Great victory for freedom


In a decision hailed as a win for small businesses everywhere, the U.S. Supreme Court this week put “the final nail in the coffin,” of the peculiar case pitting the Louisiana Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors against a local abbey of casket-making Benedictine monks.  ...
... the battle was begun when the state board mandated that the monks stop selling the rudimentary cypress boxes they have long hand-crafted – and used to bury deceased colleagues.

The board, which The Times says is almost entirely comprised of embalmers and funeral directors, based its ruling on a regulation that only those licensed by the state could sell coffins.

To have existing businesses try to claim that new competitors can't sell their products is ridiculous.  It is pretty sad that this had to be fought in a courtroom and brought to the Supreme Court in the first place, but at least the Court got the outcome right.

That the court ruled on this case is great news, and reminds me of the cases Tim Sandefur discussed when talking about "The Right to Earn a Living".

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Great quote about Obamacare ...

From David Madeira (who, when I was helping out a candidate in a 2010 congressional primary, he was one of the competitors):
The stories I'm hearing from friends who've had their healthcare taken from them is heart wrenching! It's sad when someone has bad fortune and falls on hard times. It's tyranny when the folks hired to protect our liberties crush them and demand that we thank them for their troubles.

Friday, October 18, 2013

ABC News on the cost of the shutdown (they're clueless)

ABC News on the cost of the shutdown

This is quite bad.  First, here's an excerpt:
- $3.1 billion in lost government services. Although furloughed workers will get their back pay,  taxpayers won’t see the products.  (Source: I.H.S.)
-  According to the U.S. Travel Association:  There has been $152 million per day in all spending related to travel lost because of the shutdown. As many as 450,000 American workers supported by travel may be affected.
-   According to the National Park Service: They welcome more than 700,000 people per day usually in October and visitors spend an estimated $32 million per day impact in communities near national parks and contribute $76 million each day to the national economy.  Those revenues were lost.
Let's go through each point.  The government services only are worth $3.1 billion if that's the value that they add to society.  Some might argue that the lack of government interference (from the EPA, for example) would have improved the economy.

While travel might be affected, will those who forgo travel choose not to spend that money anywhere in the USA?  If that money will still be spent, just not on traveling, then the lack of travel on the USA economy doesn't matter, as people will spend that money elsewhere.

I've discussed national parks a lot (because these studies are often so biased and wrong).  Money not spent at national parks is likely spent instead at state parks, local amusement parks, or elsewhere in the USA.  Again, the net impact on the USA economy is zero.

This story shows the dangers of economists publicizing economic impact stories that are biased and/or wrong.  Journalists aren't trained to spot bad economic impact studies, or to think about the fact that one industry loses, another one often wins making the overall economic impact approximately zero.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

EI of fracking from Purdue University and other assorted links

1. Jayson Lusk has a link to a Bill Moyer interview of Wendell Berry

The whole post is worth reading, but I want to point out one excerpt where Jayson didn't comment:
BILL MOYERS: When you and I were born in 1934 there were almost seven million family farms in this country. There are now roughly around two million family farms and most of us are further away from the foundations of nature than we’ve ever been.
WENDELL BERRY: Well, there’s another tough problem. And so you have to look ahead a little bit. 
How is this a problem?  This means five million people/families are freed up to do other productive things for society?  So many journalists and talking heads miss this obvious point. It is better for society when we can produce the same products with fewer people.  That way we can produce more products and services.

2. Purdue University agricultural economists study shale gas with two findings.

First, they find that through 2035, US GDP should be 3.5% higher because of shale gas. (2.2% higher with it, but it would be 1.3% lower without.)

Second, they estimate that shale gas exports would decrease GDP.  Their reasoning is that prices would go up in the US, and that price increase would more than offset the increased in GDP from exports.  I have to dig into their model more to know, but at first glance I think they're likely underestimating how much natural gas is available.  The amount is so enormous that I suspect the moment prices start to rise by even a little bit, oil companies seeking to make a profit will drill more, keeping the price down.

That being said, I am planning to read both of the articles referenced to examine their assumptions/models/etc.

3.  Larry Flynt advocates torture for his shooter.  

While I am in favor of the death penalty, I think "enhanced interrogation" techniques should be reserved for the cases where there's potentially information that would save lives if discovered.  That being said, I agree with Flint that this shooter gets a quick and painless death - and that isn't justice.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NY Times story on flipping the classroom

Link here

I'm in the middle of my first semester of using a flipped classroom.  I have students watch videos of the lectures and class time is saved for more interactive activities.  These include classroom experiments, classroom activities/demonstrations, and working through problems.  Hence, I found this interesting.

The key issue, in my mind, is getting students to watch the videos, and how to handle students that don't watch the videos.  On my first exam of this semester, I had the highest ever percentage of students get an A- or A, and half the class got a B+ or better.  (I don't believe in the grade-inflation trend, I don't usually have a B+ for my median grade.)  While this is only one data point, it provides some anecdotal evidence that for students who watch the videos, they will succeed.

That being said, those who didn't watch the videos regularly did very poorly, however.  (All students get one free day per semester where they don't have to have watched the videos.  After their free day, I let them stay in class if they didn't watch the videos but they're counted as absent)

Overall, I'm really pleased, as those who have worked hard have learned it.  I still need to figure out how to better motivate those who don't usually put in as much effort to watch the videos before class.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is Obamacare Illegal?

Lawsuit that Obamacare violates the Origination Clause

The tax levied on Americans who don't buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because it started in the wrong house of Congress in violation of the Constitution's Origination Clause, say arguments in a case on appeal before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

"The Supreme Court … said the Obamacare tax is not an enforcement penalty," Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Tim Sandefur told Newsmax. "They said this is actually a revenue-raising tax, in which case the Origination Clause does apply."

By law, all spending bills must originate in the US House of Representatives.  Obamacare did not.  It seems pretty straightforward that this should be thrown out then, right?  

I'm pessimistic that our judicial system will get this right and throw it out, but I'm happy to see the challenge.  

Those at Susquehanna University will recall that Tim Sandefur presented here in April about The Right to Earn a Living.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Who benefits from the shutdown?

If you've followed the news at all, you've seen stories about who is harmed from the government shutdown.  To compare whether the shutdown is bad or good, however, we need to compare the costs of the shutdown to the benefits.  You don't hear much about the benefits from the shutdown.

Here are two articles (here and here) about how state parks have seen more visitors.  Certainly the economies around state parks likely are gaining from the loses of the economies around the national parks.  Across the nation, there is likely no impact, but its important to realize there is no impact and not be misled into thinking that the country is worse off because fewer people are visiting national parks.

Who else benefits.  My quick thoughts:

1. Anybody who has to deal with EPA agents abusing their authority.  This agency has gotten so big and corrupt it simply should be abolished and we should start from scratch.

2. The government workers who are essentially getting a paid vacation.

3. Related to the state parks, I am guessing the paid museums in Washington DC are doing well. (The Newsium and the International Spy Museum, for example.)

What I notice most of all is that life seems to go on as usual.  Doesn't that tell us the Federal government has gotten too large?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beware of survey results - lessons from Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel is not only entertaining, but provides a useful lesson in putting too much faith into surveys. Economists know when consumers can respond falsely to surveys without being punished monetarily, they often will.  Jimmy Kimmel provides great examples of that:

This clip from Jimmy Kimmel has him asking concert goers their opinions of bands that don't exist.

This one makes some pretty outragous claims to Justin Bieber fans.

Here's a more recent clip at a concert festival.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Jobs from fracking in PA, and other links

1. The industry reports that shale gas employs over 230 thousand in Pennsylvania.  

While I haven't reviewed this yet (I need too), that sounds too high.  Even if accept Considine et al.'s economic impact estimate (this was an industry funded study with the larger impact), at $100,000/job you have about 140K jobs.  Throw in the extra jobs from the "stimulus" of lower natural gas prices, and you're still not quite to 230 thousand.  I will try to review soon to get a better grasp on this report, however.

2. Great Forbes articles on GM foods

An excerpt:

Genetic modification has been with us for millennia.  Breeders routinely use radiation or chemical mutagens on seeds to scramble a plant’s DNA to generate new traits.  “Wide cross” hybridization has given rise to plants that do not and cannot exist in nature; these plants include the varieties of corn, oats, pumpkin, wheat, tomatoes and potatoes we buy every day.  (Yes, even “heirloom” varieties and the overpriced organic stuff at Whole Foods.)  On average, every day we consume dozens of servings of these varieties of fruits, vegetables, and grains derived from wide crosses.

3.  More on Obamacare finances (via Greg Mankiw).

4.  IRS agent targets conservative?

If an IRS agent abuses his/her power to target specific individuals for political purposes, I think that agent should be tried for treason as they are "betraying one's country".

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Obama administration's biggest scandal?

The Weekly Standard thinks it might be their handling of National Parks.

An excerpt:
"... consider the actions of the National Park Service since the government shutdown began. People first noticed what the NPS was up to when the World War II Memorial on the National Mall was “closed.” Just to be clear, the memorial is an open plaza. There is nothing to operate. Sometimes there might be a ranger standing around. But he’s not collecting tickets or opening gates. Putting up barricades and posting guards to “close” the World War II Memorial takes more resources and manpower than “keeping it open.”

I haven't posted much on the shutdown, because I tend to think its effects are overstated.  Some of the actions, however, have been disappointing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Most Absurd" claims about fracking

Article is from the Washington Examiner.  It contains my analysis of the claim that fracking causes more STIs in my review of the Earth and Water Watch study.

The same person who blames fracking for flatulence also wants to blame it for bee deaths. She links to a study from the BBC that claims diesel exhaust confuses bees and makes it difficult for them to find flowers. Note that the BBC report on the study doesn't mention fracking at all -- the connection was made by someone opposed to fracking.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More on Obamacare's increased costs and other links

An excerpt:
Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.
Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.
Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

I would still like to know if there are any people who supported Obamacare who will help pay the increased premiums for those who didn't.

2. Hawaii vs. GM crops

An excerpt:
The state has become a hub for the development of genetically engineered corn and other crops that are sold to farmers around the globe. Monsanto and other seed companies have moved here en masse, and corn now sprouts on thousands of acres where sugar cane or pineapples once grew.
But activists opposed to biotech crops have joined with residents who say the corn farms expose them to dust and pesticides, and they are trying to drive the companies away, or at least rein them in.

3. An IMF director says climate change has caused economic instability. 

This would be funny if it came from The Onion.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Labeling of GM foods up for vote in Washington state

Two excerpts:
1.  "Last year there was much discussion on California's Prop 37, which would have mandated labeling of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.  After enjoying strong a strong lead in the polls, Prop 37 actually failed to garner a majority of votes, and thus did not become law.   One year later, Washington State now has a similar initiative up for vote (the text of the law is here; a few more details are here)." 
2. "Here is Cass Sunstein, Obama's former "regulatory czar" had to say on the issue: "Any such requirement would inevitably lead many consumers to suspect that public officials, including scientists, believe that something is wrong with GM foods -- and perhaps that they pose a health risk.  Government typically requires labeling because it has identified such a risk (as in the case of tobacco) or in order to enable people to avoid or minimize costs (as in the case of fuel-economy labels).  A compulsory GM label would encourage consumers to think that GM foods should be avoided."

I agree with Lusk and Sunstein.  If getting GM (or non-GM) foods matters to you, you do have a choice.  You can obtain non-GM foods by buying organic.  But by mandating labeling of GM materials, there are two potential costs.  One is that producers may make (expensive) changes to their products to make them non-GM, which will increase grocery bills.  Given that increases in grocery costs will most affect the poor, you could expect worse diets mainly among those with lower incomes.

The question I ask to everybody who doesn't follow the issue too closely (and often has a default bias of "sure, let's label them) is: "How much of an increase in obesity would you find acceptable in order to label foods as GM?"

The second cost is very related to the first.  If producers don't make changes, then products will be labeled as GM. Those who are less intelligent/informed are not going to realize that GM-free does NOT mean healthier.  Because time and attention at the grocery store is limited, there will be people who pay attention to the GM-label but less attention to the nutrition qualities of food and their diet will deteriorate.

I know the federal government spends a fortune trying to get people to eat healthier.  Much of this is aimed at those with lower incomes and education levels.  (I actually think too much is spent on this, but that's another issue.)  This type of law would have the opposite effect.  It would focus on irrelevant characteristics and would lead those who are poorer and those with less intelligence (or who are less informed) to eat worse foods.

The more-vulnerable socioeconomic groups will suffer if this becomes law.  The left likes to claim they look out for vulnerable groups.  On this issue, that's clearly not true.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fracking ban up for vote, and other links

Once again, a charter amendment proposed by the FrackFree America National Coalition, known as the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights, will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. The slightly modified charter amendment would ban fracking and the injection of drilling waste water in the city of Youngstown.

2. Charles Krauthammer's oped from this weekend is outstanding.   


President Obama indignantly insists that GOP attempts to abolish or amend Obama­care are unseemly because it is “settled” law, having passed both houses of Congress, obtained his signature and passed muster with the Supreme Court.
Yes, settledness makes for a strong argument — except from a president whose administration has unilaterally changed Obama­care five times after its passage, including, most brazenly, a year-long suspension of the employer mandate.
He's right that leftists do comment, all-the-time, that this law is settled and we should just deal with it.

And ...

Accordingly, House Republicans presented three bills to restore funding to national parks, veterans and the District of Columbia government. Democrats voted down all three. (For procedural reasons, the measures required a two-thirds majority.)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t even consider these refunding measures. And the White House has promised a presidential veto.  The reason is obvious: to prolong the pain and thus add to the political advantage gained from a shutdown blamed on the GOP. 

3. We should remember that communism (i.e., government control of the economy) has killed 100 million people

To talk openly about the history of communism is to talk openly about the history of the Left. And even among those who were not communists themselves, vast swathes inside the Leftist tradition stayed far too close to the communists for comfort.
It's their very dirty big secret, and although they can't do much these days about tracts such as theBlack Book of Communism lying on the dusty top shelves of our public libraries, they'll be damned if they're going to start handing them out to children in the classrooms.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Assorted Links

Great news!  Here's an excerpt:
An Illinois executive order and law declares all personal home assistants to be public employees, for the sole purpose of being represented by a collective bargaining unit of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that seeks to lobby for greater government spending (Medicaid) on home healthcare. 
PLF joined the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence in an amicus brief written by Tom Caso, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to answer that question, and today the Court agreed to do so.  

2. National Park hotels losing money.

I'm sure this is true.  But unless people who can't vacation at a national park decide to spend their money outside the USA, this has no economic impact on our nation.  In fact, it means hotels NOT near national parks are likely earning extra revenue.

3. Are government grants skewing global warming data/results?  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review of (clueless) AARP report on economic impact of Social Security

Report here

The study states that their goal is to study the question: "What is the gross economic impact of Social Security benefits on the U.S. economy?"  But this is an irrelevant question to ask, as the "net economic impact" is the relevant issue.

Social Security benefit payments in 2012 supported: 
 About $1.4 trillion in economic output (goods and services) 
 Just over 9.2 million jobs 
 About $774 billion in value added (gross domestic product) 
 More than $370 billion in salaries, wages, and other compensation 
 Tax revenues for local, state, and federal governments exceeding $222 billion, including $78.9 billion in local and state taxes and $143.3 billion in federal taxes 
Every state—big and small—feels the effects of Social Security benefits being spent 
within its borders. Not surprisingly California, with the largest economy of the 50 states, 
showed the biggest impact. In California alone, Social Security benefits supported 
888,000 jobs, $147.4 billion in output, and $8.7 billion in state and local tax revenues.

When I discuss examples of poorly constructed (and/or biased) economic impact studies in the future, I will likely use this as an example.  This study implies that these benefits from social security arrived out of thin air.  Of course, we all know this isn't true.

Each individual who works pays over 12% of his/her income (between the worker share and the share the employer pays) in social security taxes (until the income threshold is hit).  Therefore, this study could also say the same thing but in reverse.  You could come up with a report that said that the social security taxes cost America ...

* About $1.4 trillion in economic output
* Over 9.2 million jobs

Overall, the net effect is approximately zero, although its probably negative due to the negative distortions from government interference.

This type of study is a good reason why I tell reporters they should always be initially suspicious of economic impact study estimates.  Many are done well, but too many are simply propaganda pieces (with biased estimates) designed to mislead the public.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An oped urging the left to support privatizing liquor, and other Assorted Links

1. The claim that Spanish productivity is low because they're in the wrong time zone.

2. Jayson Lusk's The Food Police now has a study guide!

The book was great, and the study guide is good too.  My 12-year old has the book but only read a bit before he stalled with it and stopped.  Perhaps I'll print the study guide for him.

3. A liberal discusses the benefits of liquor privatization (via Commonwealth Foundation).

This is a well-written piece explaining why those on the left should support private liquor.  I agree that this isn't a left-vs-right issue. Its a unions-buying-corrupt-politicians issue.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The shutdown and economic uncertainty

Latest Krugman rant here ...

An excerpt:
“Remember when Republicans were worried about ‘economic uncertainty’?”
Actually, no, I don’t. I remember when they claimed to be worried about economic uncertainty — but it was completely obvious even at the time that this was nothing but an attempt to put a new, quasi-academic gloss on the same old same old. 

Many people, myself included, have been worried about uncertainty.  I still am, in fact.  I think much of the layoffs and economic issues now is that firms don't know what to expect.  This is the uncertainty over government policy.  And this matters!

But does the type of uncertainty from a government shutdown impact business hiring over the long term?  Of course not.  Nobody believes this will last too long, and it shouldn't affect any long term planing. It is a convenient way to attack opponents, however.

Krugman closes:
The point is that there are a lot fewer good-faith economic arguments out there than a naive observer might think — and that’s precisely because powerful forces are doing their best to hoodwink said naive observers.
I think he believes this - Krugman has made millions being one of these "powerful forces".

Two good higher education links

1. Marginal Revolution on a $10,000 degree.

"The upshot of her approach is that an entire degree can be done for $10,000 per student."

2. Certifying MOOCs for credits - from Al Roth.

I think that MOOCs could become much more widespread and have a huge impact on the higher education system.  Its not difficult to imagine a scenario where students could take a MOOC, and then travel to a local center every so often to take an in-person test.  (If there are concerns over cheating, and I think there should be, then this is an easy work-around.)  It seems quite plausible that, in the future, 10-20% of all students will complete one or two years of college through MOOCs.