The Lowry Letter - 5/29/2019

We learned: about a proposal in the District of Columbia to empower 80 local citizens with the ability to write tickets for parking violations. It’s an interesting idea, in use in other areas, but not without some concerns. It seems like a sensible thing to attempt, if there is appropriate oversight.

We think: demographic trends are important. U.S. births peaked at 4.32 billion in 2007, but last year fell to their lowest level since 1986, with 3.79 million births. The birthrate has long been a strength of our economic engine, and bears watching (source: Center for Disease Control).

We read: about a recent study that considers the “Nordic Problem,” or the higher prevalence of domestic abuse in those countries, despite the higher-than-average rate of gender equality in the same. This is considered a mystery and the researchers found that it is a real question and not something observed because of methodological flaws in earlier studies. The abstract can be found here.

We've been: to the Broad Museum in Los Angeles and enjoyed the stainless steel “balloon” sculptures by artist Jeff Koons. His work was in the news recently when a sculpture sold for over $80 million. Some dispute the value of his more “pop” art, but as you can see in the picture below, we thought it worth a picture.

We recommend: this post by our own Cale Flage, about the virtues of low-volatility as an investment strategy..