Taxi vs. Uber Follow-Up

Last week, I had a mild case of deja vu reading Lorraine’s post providing an economic analysis of Uber’s entry into the New York transportation market. I couldn’t quite place where I had heard the story before. Then, almost the very next item on my RSS feed was an infographic from the Onion comparing Uber and traditional taxi services. A few days later, I remembered where I had heard about taxi medallions: NPR’s Planet Money. In particular, they ran a show this summer entitled “Taxi King.” The episode features an interview with Gene Freidman, New York taxi fleet magnate, on Continue reading


Last week I had the pleasure, nay, the honor, to attend the joint Canadian and United States Ecological Economics (CANUSSEE) Conference. Its host was the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada, and so it was a drive but worth every grueling second. I jest. My company was fellow Sound Economics writer Miranda Kraus and chauffeur/Professor Lea Fortmann, and for three days I ate, drank, and sneezed economics. Scholars spanning the states and provinces flew in and paid mega sums of money to give PowerPoint spiels, violently network, and occasionally yell “Bullshit!” during each other’s talks. With more than 70 Continue reading

Spotting the Technical Difficulties (Part 1)

Turn on the music and crank the jams. Music is a very prominent form of expression that has been woven into many people’s lives today. When I sit down at my desk to write this blog post, I instinctively grab my smart phone first and turn on some form of music. Whether it is music made solely from MIDI generated sounds or simply a musician with a guitar, I proceed to use electronic devices to produce the music that I love. But it’s not my Apple iPhone 5 that is giving me this music. It is an application called Spotify. Continue reading

Uber vs. taxis in New York City

Uber might be convenient, and it’s growth is promising – but it’s been hailed as a bad sign for taxi cabs, especially the massive taxi market in NYC. I used Uber in Boston on the regular, and there’s both a strong taxi cab and Uber presence there – but it doesn’t come close to NYC in regards to reliance on taxi cabs. There’s been tensions and debates this past year regarding Uber and taxis in the Big Apple this year, as they share the same (very small and highly profitable) space. About a year ago, taxi medallions (which allow taxi drivers or companies Continue reading

Groundhog Day in Greece (Part 3)

[This post follows up on Part Two from last week and Part One from the week before]. Over the last two weeks, I have been posting about the question: why have the parties negotiating over the future of Greece allowed a seemingly needless series of near catastrophes (followed by last-minute resolutions) to occur? Last week, I took a behavioral approach and considered procrastination as a potential contribution to the phenomenon. This week, we’ll consider a game theory point of view. The BBC featured an interesting (and brief!) article earlier this year describing the Greek situation from a game theory perspective. Continue reading

More Marijuana Money

This article is a part two. Look here for last week’s! Welcome back to more marijuana market talk. Last week, I covered how the buildup of stock and reduction of state taxes have helped lower the price of legal weed from a $30-per-gram high, to the more moderate $11.50 per gram. This week I’ll explain other reasons for this drop, and what would make it drop further. Oh how our lives will change. Entrance Woes Not just anyone can sell weed legally. You need a permit, and these are doled out in a most restrictive and regulated fashion. Washington’s Liquor Continue reading

Interview with Thomas Merritt – UPS Alum and PhD Candidate!

This week I interviewed Tom Merritt, a 2014 UPS economics graduate. I asked him a few questions about his experiences with economics, UPS and graduate school. When did you graduate from UPS and where did you go for grad school? I graduated from UPS in 2014 and then went straight into the Economics MA program at Cal State-East Bay. Can you tell me a little bit about the PhD application process? Are you looking to stay at the same university or are you looking at others (if that’s how it works)? Do you have a focus in mind? I’m looking at Continue reading

Getting the Price Right: Cap and Trade

Last week, I talked about carbon taxes, which is one of the primary methods that governments can monetarily encompass the negative environmental externalities that come from irresponsible production. Now, I will discuss the cap and trade system, also known as emissions trading. The cap and trade system is very interesting in the sense that it literally creates a market for carbon. The government sets an overall cap on emissions and creates limited authorizations to emit, up to the level of the cap. Sources that emit pollution, such as factories, can buy or sell the authorizations or save them to use in Continue reading

Groundhog Day in Greece (Part Two)

[This post is follows up on Part One from last week]. Last week I brought up the question: why have the parties negotiating the future of Greece allowed a seemingly needless series of near catastrophes (followed by last-minute resolutions) to occur? One answer might be the reason why you (probably) write your essays the night before they’re due. Collin’s great article from last year delves into an economics-flavored analysis of procrastination. If you don’t have time to give it a read–which you should definitely do–the gist is this: “…given the choice between having a good thing ($100) now or later, we tend Continue reading

Abolish the minimum wage? A debate.

Quick share on Monday am, on our semester theme of the minimum wage: Here’s a link to a public debate on the minimum wage hosted a couple of years ago by NPR’s Intelligence^2 Debates. The audio recording of the 50-minute Oxford-style debate addresses the motion “Abolish the minimum wage.” and a winner is determined by polling audience members before and after the debate. James Dorn (Cato Institute) and Russ Roberts (Hoover Institution at Stanford University) argue in favor of the motion, while Jared Bernstein (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) and Karen Kornbluh (former U.S. ambassador to the OECD) side Continue reading