The Economics of Day Laboring as a Monopsony

Day labor, a form of contingent work that is available daily with no assurance of future employment or job security, is a critical segment of the United States’ labor market and domestic informal economy. Around 117,600 individuals in the U.S. are either competing for day labor jobs or employed as day laborers on any given day and 83 percent of which rely on this activity as their sole source of income. Foreign-born and minoritized workers are overrepresented among the prospective laborers looking for work next to open-air roadside markets, at busy street corners, in front of hardware stores, as well Continue reading The Economics of Day Laboring as a Monopsony

Pay-What-You-Want Pricing

Pay-What-You-Want pricing is probably the best pricing model if your goal is to run your company into the ground. This model is as simple as it sounds; a company provides a good or service, you consume it, then pay whatever you feel is a reasonable price. In this model, the consumer dictates the price of the good or service they are receiving, and the producer must accept it. For me, free is a perfectly reasonable price for everything!  The motivation for the PWYW model seems legitimate; buyers will theoretically trust producers due to their confidence, and producers have the chance Continue reading Pay-What-You-Want Pricing

Spatial Economics, Explained

Modeling tricks and approaches have removed key technical barriers to the study of geography and distance in economics. Revived research interest in where economic activity occurs and why as well as in the physical distribution of wealth and peoples has led to the rise of spatial economics. Spatial economics exists at the intersection of econometrics, geographic information science, and data analytics to identify and answer real-world concerns like the extent to which constructing inter-regional transportation infrastructures can help reduce inequality or integrating networks of suppliers, distributors, consumers, and community across spaces can increase the competitiveness of local food producers. In Continue reading Spatial Economics, Explained

Symbolic Value

“Beauty is vanishing from our world because we live as though it did not matter.”  – Sir Roger Scruton Over the last 50 years, there has seemingly existed an almost complete lack of symbolic value within contemporary art and architecture within the United States.  With that said, we know that there is a value to symbolic works of art and architecture (for we once produced them en masse in the past), but we can’t seem to figure out what that value is today. Because of that, today, we no longer seem to be able (or willing) to produce these symbolic Continue reading Symbolic Value

Externalities, Explained

Externalities are the external impacts incurred by an economic agent not involved in a transaction, which can be either a cost (negative) or a benefit (positive) and occur from either the production or consumption of a good or service. Thus, because externalities lead to a difference in the public impact from the private impact, a deadweight loss exists. A deadweight loss is an excess burden created by the lost economic efficiency when the socially optimal quantity of a good or service is not produced or consumed. To understand how social planners correct for this form of a market failure, an Continue reading Externalities, Explained

Loggers Live Green: Environmentally Conscious Decision-making

Throughout my time on campus, I have observed different individual behaviors motivated by environmental conscientiousness. Behaviors such as using a refillable water bottle seem to be very common. Similar to my peers, I like to think I am environmentally conscious, but do my actions align with my beliefs? How do we make decisions in order to minimize our individual impact on the environment? I believe that our environmentally conscious actions are not necessarily dictated by the benefits associated with those actions. For example, a student at this school would never dare use a plastic straw, but choose to fly home Continue reading Loggers Live Green: Environmentally Conscious Decision-making

Limitations of Non-market Valuation

Non-market valuation relies on individual preference. As humans, we develop preferences knowing we have a finite existence. This limits our ability to value non-market goods because these values are derived from personal benefit during a finite time. Future benefits are discounted for this reason. The benefits from non-market goods endure for much longer than our lifespans. Is there any way to value non-market goods, such as free-flowing rivers, without bias? Are we fit to judge the value of clean and sustainable environments? I would argue that we are not given the current global environmental trajectory.  Given the drastic effect of Continue reading Limitations of Non-market Valuation

Favors Are Not For Sale

In chapter four of Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational, he discusses the difference between social and market norms. Social and market norms guide much of our decision making, but they are not necessarily compatible. I have experienced the problems that arise when social and market norms come into conflict firsthand.  “Could you please come in here to help me out?” my mom said to me, “I’ll pay you $1.” Every good son should stop whatever they are doing when their mother is in need of help, right? Well, I did not. I was petting my dog in the living when Continue reading Favors Are Not For Sale

Pandemic $$$ fights: Couples edition

This year has been a really rough one and surely seemed to get tougher with one bad thing after the next. One of those “bad things” being the financial complications among people across the country. When we think of the financial strain from this year, we probably immediately think of small mom and pop businesses suffering the most. While it is true how the financial burdens impacted small businesses, we also could see these burdens on a smaller scale or more specifically, for everyday couples. In the past, couples traditionally might have been bickering about how much to spend on Continue reading Pandemic $$$ fights: Couples edition

I Put Up My Christmas Tree before Thanksgiving

This is the first year ever that I have felt like it’s time to put up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. Normally, I am one of those people that complain that everyone else who has already started the countdown to Christmas, is just overdoing it. But, for many people including me this year is special, and spreading the Christmas cheers too early would not hurt anybody. It felt like, the Christmas spirit was needed. According to Blair, however, a clinical psychologist in the UK, playing happy holiday music, might in a way make us feel that we are trapped and Continue reading I Put Up My Christmas Tree before Thanksgiving