Interactive Census maps

In recent work for my Urban Economics Class with Professor Mann, I came upon some very interesting maps during my research on ethnic neighborhoods. I have been looking for a quantitative way to define ethnic neighborhoods, to be able to perform some numerical analysis on their impact on cities. The first map that I found is a visual representation of the ethnic/racial distribution of our population. With this map, we are able to see where there are areas that have high densities of a certain race or ethnicity or we are able to see cities that have even distributions of Continue reading

Student Opportunities (Updated)

Hi readers, There are several new economics student opportunities posted online, including: Mark Blaug Student Essay Prize: An undergraduate research prize. Click here for details. Developing Economist: A new journal which reviews and publishes outstanding undergraduate research. Click here for details. Warwick University Summer School 2014: A summer economics program located in Coventry, England, UK from July 21 – August 8 2014. Click here for details. Sound Economics hopes to continue to share these opportunities with its readers!

Thesis Corner: Pay Those Players!

College is a promise land offering a wealth of academic, extra-cirricular, and professional opportunities. It’s the time of your life when you can create new experiences, juggle your interests, and form your identity. But for student athletes, this idea of “you can do it all” is often an unattainable reality due to the time crunch required by sports. I’m sure Division I student athletes everywhere have reflected on their hard work and commitment to their sports and have wondered, “man, I should get paid for this”. While playing sports is a passion, it’s morphed from an extra-cirricular activity to a full Continue reading

San Francisco’s Housing Dilemma

Most people from the Bay Area are likely familiar with the absurdly high rent and house prices in San Francisco. And in recent years prices have only been getting worse, pushing out large numbers of San Francisco’s lower-income residents. Currently, the median rent in the city is $1,463 a month, the highest in the country among large cities. Much of the blame for skyrocketing rents has fallen on the large influx of wealthy residents to the city, many in the booming tech industry centered in nearby Silicon Valley. While I share some of the anti-gentrification sentiment and hope that the Continue reading

Food Prices

If you buy your own food, you may have noticed in the past couple years that food prices have been rising faster than the prices of other goods. Today, we’re going to pull apart an interview on food inflation into economic terms, that we can then turn back into real world discussion. If you’re not quite sure what inflation is yet, here’s a link to a previous post on inflation. Here’s the interview. It’s from Marketplace, with a guy named Matthew Boesler from Business Insider. In total, it’s about 5 minutes long. Food inflation, or, why bacon is a good investment by Raghu Continue reading

Cryptocurrency: Not Just Bitcoin (Part II)

Even though 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, 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? Last week, I Continue reading

New Nuclear

Energy consumption is rising rapidly. The exponential rise in population and technology means that this consumption won’t be decreasing any time soon. Most of this energy consumption comes in the form of electricity. An Iphone eats up as much electricity as a refrigerator (taking into account servers and all energy use behind the scenes). That is a lot of added energy use even in small family homes. Energy consumption is not going to decrease any time in the near future. Clean energy and green technologies are making an effort, but barely making a dent in total production. Non-hydroelectric energy (created Continue reading

The Status of Robotics in our Economy

It seems like we have been expecting sophisticated robots to show up for some time now. We have been making movies about artificial beings for decades, spanning from Data in Star Trek, to Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, to Star Wars with our favorite robot duo. There is a certain fascination with robots in our society, where we are both excited and terrified about the development of artificial intelligence. Well, more and more, we are having machines doing things humans used to do, and we should start to consider what that could mean for our society. Already, this mechanization has had Continue reading

Thesis Corner: All About the Craft Beer Industry

In the past, I’ve written Thesis Corners on the biological importance of water and coffee’s link to national health, but today’s blog will focus on the industry changes happening to another beverage: beer. From a brewer’s standpoint, the beer business is a precious trade that stimulates one’s business savvy, scientific know-how, and an artistic expression to some degree. This week I had an email exchange with senior Eric Hopfenbeck, who tackled the entire craft brewing industry for his thesis. Read on to understand what classifies a craft brew, how this beer category is capturing market share from the Goliath beer companies, and a potential Continue reading

Subsidizing Megabanks

The bank bailouts of 2008 set a benchmark for how far the US and European governments will go to protect large financial institutions. It essentially said to these banks, shame on you for your shady investment practices, but you’re too important to the economy to pay the true cost of your bad decisions. And now that government protection of financial institutions has been established, these banks can reap the reward of an effective ‘government guarantee’ on their investments. According to an article from the New York Times Economix Blog citing a recent study by the I.M.F., this effective ‘government guarantee’ Continue reading