Financial Crises and the Far-Right Extremism that Follows Them

You’ve probably heard the saying that “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Unfortunately, there is reason to believe that the circumstances that led to right-wing nationalist support in the early 20th century are reoccurring now in the U.S. and in Europe. This is because there is an eerie political trend when it comes to the aftermath of financial crises. A study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), which covered 800 elections and 100 financial crises from 20 advanced economies between 1870 and 2014, shows that following a financial crisis, the politics of Continue reading

Jeb’s Dismal Return on Investment in Iowa

How much should it cost to buy a vote? Not in the direct sense, but in terms of how campaign expenses incurred stack up against the number of votes received. Take a moment and make a mental guesstimate of a reasonable figure. $20? $200? For Jeb Bush and his Super-PAC, that figure was $2,800 in Iowa: $14.1 million divided by around 5,000 votes received. The runner-up in this ignominious statistic was Mike Huckabee, whose campaign spending amounted to slightly under $1,000 per vote received. The Huffington Post put together a fascinating comparison of the Republican field on this metric. To see how Jeb stacks Continue reading

Are the Choices We Make Truly Ours?

We make choices every single day; it is an inevitable action that all living creatures must perform. Choosing to wake up early versus sleeping in, or eating a healthy meal versus an unhealthy meal. Although many of us believe that, past the childhood stage, we have the authority to make these choices, today we have people whose job it is to nudge you in the direction they think best, whether or not we are aware. Formally this field goes by the name of “choice architecture”, which was made popular by economist Richard Thaler, through his book “Nudge”. Choice architecture emphasizes Continue reading

Lower Gas Prices: Thank Saudi Arabia?

If you own and regularly drive a car then you’ve undoubtedly noticed your wallet has a little extra money in it these days. You’ve also probably made the connection between that extra spending money and the low price of gas, which since June 2014 has steadily decreased as the world price for a barrel of oil has fallen more than 70%. I have been driving for four years now which makes me old enough to remember what it felt like trying to fill up for $4 a gallon. Being that that was the price of gas when I first got Continue reading

The Economics of Our Candidates, Part 2

Welcome to part two of a three part series on our presidential candidates’ stances on economic issues. Take a look at last weeks post on taxation, it’s exciting stuff. There are now fewer candidates, thanks to the Iowa Caucus smashing the hopes and dreams of a few contenders. So goodbye Martin O’Malley, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and, the only person I actually included in last week’s post who’s quitting, Rand Paul. This week I’ll also not look at Ben Carson, because I’d prefer to give more time to fewer candidates. This week, the issue is regulation! An enormous part of Continue reading

The economics of study abroad: Is it worth it?

  Study abroad programs have grown more and more popular in recent years; however, skeptics wonder if the benefits are really worth the costs.  Spoiler alert:  It really depends on the program.  That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind when making the decision to study abroad. Location, program structure, and individual commitment levels will ultimately determine whether or not the experience is a huge waste of time and money. In an NPR interview with Mark Salisbury, director of Institutional Research and Assessment at Augustana College, Salisbury primarily exposes the unforeseen costs of study abroad programs. Continue reading

Job opportunity for graduating seniors

The wonderful folks at Career and Employment Services have sent a job posting our way, so I’m sending straight to you economics seniors. It is a research analyst position at ECONorthwest in Seattle. The link just above will take you to the posting on LoggerJobs, so if you are finishing up that Econ degree in May, and interested in consulting work in the PNW, check it out! ECONorthwest, the largest economics consulting firm headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, has an immediate opening for one or two full-time research analysts. Research analysts support project managers performing economic analyses on a variety Continue reading

Growth After a Recession

The role of government always seems to be the dominant topic of any political debate, especially when examining the US economy on a macro scale. What should the government do to mitigate market failures? How should they support consumers and producers alike? But the biggest question that separates the left from the right side is how big of a role should the government have in the American economy. It was just 8 years ago when a recession hit the US. This recession was named one of the worst global financial crises by former head of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke. Continue reading

Greek Debt Crisis Explained Part 2

Following the collapse of the financial sector in the U.S, another audit of Greece’s finances was conducted, and it was revealed that the years since the 2004 audit found that Greece had understated its debt and deficit ratio to debt. This kept Greece from being able to participate in the financial sector i.e., borrow money to pay off previous loans, which brings us to the debt crisis. The International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission bailed out Greece, and this, together with debt owed to other Eurozone members comprises roughly two-thirds of Greece’s debt. This explains Continue reading

Is Buddhist Economics an Oxymoron?

As you’re reading the words “Buddhist Economics” you may jump to the conclusion that it seems like an oxymoron. But the field and study of Buddhist economics, which has some overlap with areas of behavioral economics, is one that is starting to develop and even be taught at schools like UC Berkely. I love economics, but after every course I took I felt unsettled with the underlying assumptions the models make about us as humans, and how related fields such as finance and marketing are heavily focused on making money and convincing people to spend it on things they don’t Continue reading