College Football Unionization

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board determined the Northwestern University Football team to be employees of the University, and approved their petition to form a union. This seems strange doesn’t it? The players do not get paid a salary, and they are considered by the University to be students first and foremost. In the past few years, there has been a running debate about whether Student-Athletes, who can bring in significant revenue for their school, should be paid for their efforts. This discussion about paying players has not progressed beyond an interesting topic for ESPN to discuss when the Continue reading College Football Unionization

Thesis Corner: Coffee Price Shocks on National Health

If we were to extract pithy lessons from literature like Freakonomics and Everything I Needed To Know About Economics I Learned from Online Dating, it’s that there is an economic dimension to everything. The reason I love writing for this blog is because it allows us to look at seemingly ordinary subjects we take for granted and examine them from new angles and perspectives. I spoke with Jared Soares about his thesis and he gave me another fresh perspective about the economics behind everything. Jared took an interesting approach with his thesis: rather than making a laymen’s subject economical, he analyzed how economic phenomena Continue reading Thesis Corner: Coffee Price Shocks on National Health

Economics Undergraduate Research Opportunity!

The Department of Economics at UPS requests proposals for the Kriens Fund for Economics Student Research Awards for 2013-14. Successful proposals will receive funding to engage in a proposed project with an identified project mentor from the economics faculty. The award supports basic research that enhances understanding of a well-defined economics research question.  While not a requirement for funding, award allocation includes a preference for funding projects seeking solutions and outcomes that promote land management and conservation.   The application deadline for funds this year is April 25, 2014.  For additional instructions, including an application for Kriens funds, please click here!

The Real Job Creators

Job Creators. It’s a term that’s been thrown around a lot in the media in recent years. It’s most commonly used as a term of endearment for wealthy business owners, usually in an attempt to defend them from new taxes or regulations that would hurt their bottom line, and by the media’s logic, hurt the labor market. In this view, the wealthy are like benevolent dictators, creating jobs only when taxes and regulations are to their liking. But this simply isn’t the case. As venture capitalist Nick Hanauer points out, businesses do not just generate jobs out of the goodness Continue reading The Real Job Creators

A Beginner’s Guide to Inflation

Inflation. It’s one of those economic terms that gets thrown around a lot, but perhaps not explained as much as it should be. I’d like to offer an accessible and brief guide to understanding inflation, mostly for intro economics students but also for anyone that may find themselves in a situation where someone tries to tell you that inflation is “bad” or “good”. Inflation is a necessary part of our current and modern economy. It is neither good nor bad, it simply exists, and there are benefits and consequences to relatively higher or lower inflation. The debate on inflation should always Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Inflation

Diversity of Economic Indicators

Economists—as well as politicians, traders, and the media—use indicators to assess and describe the economy. They’re like measurements your doctor might take to evaluate your health: heart rate, blood pressure, reflexes, etc.. Economic indicators range from straightforward, official measurements of intuitively “economic” statistics (such as the BLS’s Consumer Price Index) to unofficial, indirect methods of gauging economic activity. In our healthcare analogy, indirect indicators might be like your doctor trying to determine your overall health by investigating how well-used your pillow is (to guess the quality of your sleep). Think that sounds clever? Check out these economic indicators: + using “Craigslist Continue reading Diversity of Economic Indicators