Pay for Performance or Performance for Pay: The Economics of the Employment Contract from Roman Times to Our Time
Employment contracts are central to many current policy debates. New York City is experimenting with rewarding teachers based on value added in the hope that it will improve performance. Compensation practices in the financial sector are often viewed as a contributing factor to the financial crisis, resulting in increased regulation. At the same time, there are continued calls to reduce the public sector and rely more on market forces. In the 2012 Leon Levy Lecture, W. Bentley MacLeod, Sami Mnaymneh Professor of Economics and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, discusses two approaches to compensation: “pay for performance” and “performance for pay.” When preconditions for market supply of goods and services are satisfied, then pay for performance is effective. But when performance is difficult to measure, there is a need to reward performance with pay. MacLeod illustrates these ideas with examples taken from the management of Roman villas from the time of Columella and Pliny the Younger, and explains why the lack of effective management may be a key factor in the poor performance of schools and financial markets.
A blue mushroom cloud fills the page, its contour traced by the comet-like tails of shrieking heads whose gaping mouths spew out furious curses in a rain of profanity over needle-stiff bodies littering the ground. This lecture by Mignon Nixon borrows its title, “Sperm Bomb,” from Nancy Spero, who, in 1964, in response to the escalating American war in Vietnam, abruptly abandoned painting on canvas for more immediate means: gouache and ink liberally diluted with spit. Returning to the scene of war resistance and nascent feminism in the Vietnam era, Nixon reflects upon newly pressing questions of what art concerned with subjectivity brings to a situation of war.
This lecture was the final one in the series Art and Its Spaces, cosponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study and the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.
The surprising nostalgia for densely hung exhibitions that developed among some French museological circles in the 1920s and 1930s has much to tell us about interpreting display practice. In this lecture, Martha Ward, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, considers nostalgic critical commentary and exhibition practice in relation to new methodologies at the time, especially as concerned with the role of attention, memory, and materiality.
The First Five Kilobytes are the Hardest: Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and the Origins of the Digital Universe at the IAS
The history of digital computing can be divided into an Old Testament whose prophets, led by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, supplied the logic, and a New Testament whose prophets, led by John von Neumann, built the machines. Alan Turing, whose “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” was published shortly after his arrival in Princeton as a twenty-four-year-old graduate student in October 1936, formed the bridge between the two. In this talk, George Dyson, a Director’s Visitor in 2002–03 and the author of Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (Pantheon, 2012), discusses the role of the Institute's Electronic Computer Project as modern stored-program computers were developed after WWII. Turing’s one-dimensional model of universal computation led directly to von Neumann’s two-dimensional implementation, and the world has never been the same since.
Prior to the Terror (1793–94), the French Revolution was generally viewed very positively by progressive constitutional thinkers and law reformers. On November 18, 1792, more than a hundred distinguished Anglo-American democrats, including several founders of modern feminism, gathered at the British Club in Paris to celebrate liberty, human rights, and the spread of democracy across the world—what they viewed as the assured democratic future of mankind. In this lecture, Jonathan Israel, Professor in the School of Historical Studies, explores the vast significance of the toasts drunk at this banquet and of the public address that was afterward presented to the French National Assembly. They illuminate the relationship between the French Revolution and modernity, the history of our own time, and the many ironies of the values and propositions that the “British Club” in Paris proclaimed to the world.
I will discuss a middle-dimensional generalization of Gromov's Non-Squeezing Theorem.
One of the oldest subjects in mathematics is the study of Diophantine equations, i.e., the study of whole number (or fractional) solutions to polynomial equations. It remains one of the most active areas of mathematics today. Perhaps the most basic tool is the simple idea of “congruences,” particularly congruences modulo a prime number. In this talk, Richard Taylor, Professor in the School of Mathematics, introduces prime numbers and congruences and illustrates their connection to Diophantine equations. He also describes recent progress in this area, an application, and reciprocity laws, which lie at the heart of much recent progress on Diophantine equations, including Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s last theorem.
The Resolution proof system is among the most basic and popular for proving propositional tautologies, and underlies many of the automated theorem proving systems in use today. I'll start by defining the Resolution system, and its place in the proof-complexity picture.
We present a Hamiltonian framework for higher-dimensional vortex filaments (or membranes) and vortex sheets as singular 2-forms with support of codimensions 2 and 1, respectively, i.e. singular elements of the dual to the Lie algebra of divergence-free vector fields. It turns out that the localized induction approximation (LIA) of the hydrodynamical Euler equation describes the skew-mean-curvature flow on higher vortex filaments of codimension 2 in any any dimension, which generalizes the classical binormal, or vortex filament, equation in 3D.