Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Optimization problems not appearing in AER

I was walking from Union Station to the University of Toronto about 8pm this evening, which is apparently when the homeless start settling down for the night on Bay street. I found this very surprising my first time in Toronto a couple of years ago, I wasn't expecting such a visible homeless presence.

However, what I found particularly strange today was that the people who had set up a sleeping spot had uniformly chosen highly visible spots, typically the middle of the sidewalk in front of a major building. It seems to be it would be preferable to find a more secluded spot on a number of fronts: noise, chance of being dislodged by a policeman, but perhaps it reduces the chance of being robbed while sleeping? A form of silent protest?

What variables enter into this optimization problem? Given the repeated nature of the game, it seems unlikely that these people are away from their maxima. Can anyone think of more compelling reasons to sleep directly outside of the TD building instead of in a park?


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Phillip Huggan said...

USA put out a Battle of Falulljah video game, glorifying the killing of an entire city of males. Short the fuck out of USD and leave Obama's legacy as the Banker Prez.

(you have to move out of a homeless shelter to *apply* for welfare in T.O. and you have to fend off drunk candian soldiers)

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Anonymous said...

"I seem to notice everybody walking downtown on well-lit, crowded streets rather than walking alone down dimly lit alleys. What a strange phenomenon. What might possibly explain this irrational behaviour?"

And at a macro level,

"Gosh, just take a look at the population density in this country. Everyone crowds into the coasts and leaves all sorts of space in the middle. Why on earth would you live in LA or New York when there's so much more space in Iowa?"