Thank you!

As we close out the semester here at the University of Puget Sound, I’d like to thank all those who have supported and contributed to Sound Economics in our inaugural year. Thank you to the Economics Department, the Office of Educational Technology, and the University for helping to make this effort happen. Most of all, I’d like to thank the contributors to the blog: our student writers- Collin, Matthew, Nick, Ricky, Holly, Morgan, Tom, and Jared- who worked tirelessly to produce thoughtful and sharp articles throughout the year; our faculty contributors; and, finally, our readers and commenters, who kept the Continue reading

Changes in College Enrollment

In recent data released by the U.S. Census, it was found that college enrollment was at its lowest rate since the recession hit in 2007. The graph points out that college enrollment often rises during recessions. I found this to be very interesting. When a recession hits, and unemployment rises, and consumption falls. I would have thought that college enrollment would fall as well. But that isn’t the case. What we see occurring is in fact the opposite. During the first 2-3 years of our recession, we see college enrollment on a steady climb, and when our economy slowly started Continue reading

Thesis Corner: Those High School Hooligans…

Today, steroid use among professional athletes gets a lot of spotlight in the media. Those stories about “how the mighty have fallen” resonate the same message time and time again: kids, don’t ever use drugs. This public exposure has massive consequences; it tarnishes a professional’s athletic reputation (I’m sure Lance Armstrong can attest), handicaps their prospects for future endorsements, and leads fans to question their favorite star’s ethics. We can understand the allure of abusing performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), but while it is highly scrutinized in professional sports, this problem is less known among lower levels of sports competition. This Continue reading

Anecdotes at the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve occupies a special pedestal of authority and competence in the arena of governmental bodies charged with economic policy. Compared to Congress, it acts with amazing unity and speed. Moreover, compared to Congresses’s shortsighted and often political settlements, the Federal Reserve tends to make calculated, strategic decisions with an close eye to their long-term ramifications.The tendency of investors and analysts to hang on very last word of the Chairman’s public statements evidences the delicately crafted nature of its policy. However, in moments of crisis, even the ordered, empirical world of the Fed policy-making can be turned upside down. Transcripts of Federal Open Market Committee Continue reading

Thesis Corner: Read and Write the World With Music

No matter what our caliber of creativity is, art and music are important elements in our lives one way or another. Obviously there is enjoyment and pleasure imparted to audiences whom observe these creative and artistic products. But what is often overlooked and equally as important is the benefit gained by the artist producing these novelties. Educational scholars have confirmed the importance of children’s art and musical programs because thinking creatively and artistically unlocks ways our mind can process other types of scholastic information. Ben Hagen, a senior Economics student at the UPS, studied the importance of educational music and Continue reading

Inequality matters… but so do the details.

A lot of public attention has been paid recently to economic inequality, from the Occupy Movement’s “We are the 99%” to more recent debates over hiking the minimum wage. Sometimes lost in this discussion are important questions such as which inequalities matter most and how they vary throughout an individual’s lifetime. Sociologist Mark Rank and a co-author looked beyond the static distribution of income into the mobility of individuals throughout their lives within the income distribution. Their results suggest that income distribution is more complex than the oversimplified picture of “one-percenters,” as if they were a relatively fixed collection of Continue reading

How NOT To Talk About Supply and Demand

When someone thinks of economics, the concepts of “supply and demand” often spring to mind. But, it can be easy to misuse the terms. Take this article from The Dish discussing the factors influencing the price a woman could receive for her donated eggs, which features this reader’s submission (emphasis mine): I seriously considered donating my eggs as a way to pay off some grad school debt. I knew from the frequent ads in my undergrad newspaper (a prominent liberal arts school) that there is a high premium not just for the characteristics of being tall, slim, and with high Continue reading

Cryptocurrency: Not Just Bitcoin (Part III)

Bitcoin thoroughly dominates media coverage and public discussion of cryptocurrency. It is the oldest crypto-currency and does by far have the largest market capitalization—all Bitcoins are together estimated to be worth US$5.5 billion. More than sixty peer-to-peer currencies existed as of November 2013, and that number has dramatically risen since. As of April 8th, coinmarketcap.com lists market capitalization values for over 200 cryptocurrencies.  Market capitalizations range from Litecoin’s US$300 million, much a smaller than Bitcoin but still substantial, to LiteBar’s $384. The sheer number of similar-sounding names (well more more than half include the word “coin”) raises the question… Why? Two weeks ago, I began Continue reading