The Economics Blogosphere

As we begin finals week, and our bloggers take their summer hiatus, readers may be wondering where to go to get their fix of economic news and analysis. Fortunately, the econ blogosphere is under no shortage of excellent blogs worth reading. One such blogger, Noah Smith, has compiled a guide on Bloomberg View titled “These Are the Econ Blogs You Need to Read.” Macro blogs, aggregator blogs (which collect and often synthesize other blogs), game theory and decision making blogs, more partisan (both on the left and right) blogs … the list goes on and on. The realm of econ blogs Continue reading

Sound Economics Summer Reading

I’ll be taking a little time this summer to do a little reading, and I’m inviting Sound Economics readers and writers to join me in the inaugural Sound Economics Summer Reading club! Below, I’ll give a few books I plan on reading this summer. Feel free to reply in the comments section if you’d like to join me for some summer economics reading. Once fall comes back around, we’ll have something to discuss as a community of readers and econ-enthusiasts! I look forward to writing on these books (and much more) when the fall comes back around! Book #1: Misbehaving: The Continue reading

Prop J and San Francisco’s Minimum Wage Hike

77% of voters approved San Francisco’s Prop J last year – and on May 1st the San Francisco minimum wage increased to $12.25. This is the first minimum wage hike of many, as Prop J will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. Although raising the minimum wage seems like the socially optimal option, especially in a city with such a high cost of living, is it feasible for the smaller establishments and local shops that many San Franciscans know and love? Brian Hibbs is the owner of Comix Experience, a comic book store he has run for Continue reading

Get Paid to do Economics Research this Summer!

The Kriens Fund for Economics provides financial support for students’ independent research projects. You can extend a project from one of your classes or research a new topic, even one that might later become part of your thesis. Any topic is eligible but projects involving conservation or with an environmental focus are particularly encouraged. New deadline: Tuesday, May 5th Paperwork is available in the Economics Dept. lounge. All you need is a completed application, project proposal, budget, and support of a faculty supervisor. Questions? contact Prof. Garrett Milam, gmilam@pugetsound.edu

The Monopoly of Boxing

Are you planning on watching the Mayweather Pacquiao fight tomorrow? I hope you are prepared to shell out some serious cash. My recommended strategy is to try to free ride off of someone else’s purchase, but we know how this usually turns out. This fight is already setting records for pay-per-view costs ($100) and the fighters are going to be paid pretty well for the evening: $120 million and $80 million respectively. Both of these fighters are said to be past their prime (I have no authority to judge this for myself) but Floyd is 38 and Manny is 36, Continue reading

What’s all the Fuss Around the TPP?

For those who aren’t familiar, there’s been increasing talk coming from the Obama administration about utilizing a fast-track path to get a wide-reaching trade agreement between several countries around the Pacific Ocean. These countries are, tentatively, Taiwan, Phillipines, Laos, Columbia and Indonesia, with several other potential members, including India. Together, this coalition makes up an overwhelming portion of total world-GDP, and helps to set some kind of trading rules in place with the idea that no individual nation ends up losing out too badly. The general wisdom of economics states that free trade is always a good thing, as was Continue reading

Game Theory in International Climate Change Politics

Whether it’s in my personal or academic life, I always have this desire to figure out why people do the things that they do. Fortunately, there’s a branch of economics for that. This past fall, I took a microeconomics class where we touched upon a topic that I found especially fascinating called Game Theory. In case you don’t know what it is, Game Theory is a strategy of analyzing decision making wherein a model is made to figure out the optimal strategies for two or more parties in some sort of competitive situation. Game Theory is used not just in economics, but Continue reading

Podcasting: An Emerging Industry? (Part 5)

The past few weeks, I’ve been looking at the genesis of “podcasting” through an economic lens. This week, I’m turning to look at the current state of the podcast market. At a first glance, the podcast industry seems to follow the “public good” paradigm. Economists define a public good as “A product that one individual can consume without reducing its availability to another individual and from which no one is excluded.”. Although there is some marginal cost associated with digitally distributing the sound files to a listener, this cost is very small. Except for the largest operations (Ira Glass claimed in 2011 that Continue reading

A Risk Averse Student’s Dream

Arizona State University recently announced that they will be offering “pay- as –you- pass” online college courses. How this will work is that students can enroll in freshman courses online free of charge. The initial offerings include math, humanities, arts and design, social-behavioral sciences, and natural sciences. The catch is that the student only has to pay if they pass the class and intend to use the credit. This idea was put in place primarily with the hope that it would help certain students reduce the risk of going into huge debt on their path to attempting to obtain a college diploma. Continue reading

“Flexible Hours” are Benefiting Employers and Hurting Employees

As-needed scheduling and hours for workers is becoming more popular with many businesses. Employers may give workers tentative shifts, but then contact them right before telling them they are no longer needed for said shift – if needs are already met. This “just-in-time” scheduling is being picked up by restaurants and retailers to keep from paying for more employees than needed and minimize their other costs. It makes sense initially: through this system employers won’t have to pay unneeded employees to sit around. However, Robert Reich of Guernica argues that this flexible kind of scheduling is not allowing workers to live their lives. The Continue reading