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

More to Burn

Coal is the number one source of energy in the globe. It is cheap, abundant, and easy to store and burn. Much of the world depends on coal to become an industrialized economy. The price of electricity produced from coal can be as low as half the price of other forms of energy. The United States generates 26% of all electricity through coal. Plans to lower that level are minimal. Japan turned to coal after the Fukushima disaster. While some countries seems to be tapering off their use of coal, others are just getting started. Last week I discussed the Continue reading

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, 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? 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