Your Brain on Economics

A few weeks back my parents ran into my old high-school principal. After having a lovely chat with her, the topic came up as to what exactly I was doing with my life these days, and eventually it came out that I was studying economics. Her reaction was, putting it lightly, negative. It was reminiscent of how to politely behave if someone informed you that their child had taken up the habit of rotating their head 360 degrees and chanting in tongues. This reaction, though understandable given the general opinion of economics outside of the discipline, led me to wonder Continue reading Your Brain on Economics

The NBA’s Failed Reform

Last week, something interesting happened in the NBA in regards to the NBA draft lottery. The NBA as a whole has been facing criticism about the persistent ‘tanking problem’ where teams are losing on purpose to try to receive a better draft pick the next year. I talked about this in a blog last year, that teams have an incentive to lose as many games as they can if they are not going to make the playoffs, and that this strategy is actually the most rational strategy that they can take on. The main culprits of this strategy right now, Continue reading The NBA’s Failed Reform

Ebola: Why is it so bad? (Part 4)

This post continues a series of posts examining non-biological factors contributing to the Ebola crisis’s severity. This week, we’ll look at the impact of Ebola on other health issues in West Africa. In addition to casualties resulting directly from EVD (Ebola Virus Disease)—the statistics we see in the news—the outbreak has likely caused many other deaths. By battering West Africa’s developing healthcare system, Ebola enables otherwise preventable diseases, especially Malaria and other diseases of poverty, to run rampant. EVD has taken a terrible toll on medical personnel in West Africa. According to the World Health Organization’s Ebola Response Roadmap Situation Report, Continue reading Ebola: Why is it so bad? (Part 4)


It’s that time of year: aisles of grocery stores are dedicated to bags of candy the size of a small child, kids and adults alike are scrambling to find the perfect Halloween costume, and not to mention, Halloween is on a Friday this year, meaning festivities will be rampant for all ages. Nobody can deny that Halloween is one of the most profound pinnacles of consumerism. In fact, candy consumption is at an all time high at this time, beating out Christmas, Easter, and even Valentines Day. Americans spend almost $2 billion on candy at Halloween, making up a whopping 8% of Continue reading HallowEconomics

Amazon and Monopsony

On Sunday of this week, Paul Krugman posted a now-much debated op-ed entitled: Amazon’s Monopsony is Not Okay. For those unfamiliar with the article or the debate that surrounds it: it is about Amazon’s enormous market power, and the impact that power is having on the publishing market as a whole. Specifically, publisher Hachette is currently in a dispute with Amazon, who are pressuring Hachette to change their rates for e-book prices by cutting off the supply of Hachette’s authors’ books to the public: making them either delayed or completely unavailable. Most of the experts, regardless of their political leanings Continue reading Amazon and Monopsony

When to buy airline tickets

I was recently purchasing my plane tickets for my trip home over Thanksgiving weekend. After experiencing a real-life example of a price gouge, I asked myself if I was buying these plane tickets at the right time to minimize the price that I have to pay. My thinking was that there must be some sort of “sweet spot” for when plane tickets are cheapest. I wasn’t sure if it would just the earlier the better as airlines can charge more as people become more desperate to book a trip, or if you could actually book a flight too early. When Continue reading When to buy airline tickets

Rethinking the Poverty Trap: A Multidimensional Approach

The discussion of the presence of poverty traps in certain impoverished areas has been a very important and somewhat controversial developmental economic idea for decades. It is most frequently described as a self-reinforcing mechanism that causes poverty to persist. As further explained in Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, your income today influences what your income will be in the future. The amount of money you have today determines what you eat, how much money spent on health, education, ways to improve your work, etc., which in turn influences your income in the future. The poverty trap is seen Continue reading Rethinking the Poverty Trap: A Multidimensional Approach


With fall break in front of us and midterms almost behind us, perhaps one of the last things that any student is thinking of right now is the work due after break. You know, that paper that was assigned weeks ago to be turned in the day classes resume? Procrastination is real and we can use economic theory to prove that the phenomenon is a result of rational thinking contrary to the many perceptions of laziness and lack of time management which surround the act of doing work later, rather than sooner. The theory comes from microeconomics and it goes like this. Continue reading Procrastination

Americans Underestimate Economic Inequality and the Pay Gap

Despite the vilification of the “1%”, occupation of financial centers like Wall Street and the visibly widening income gap, many Americans don’t actually know how severe the United States’ economic inequality is. In fact, those surveyed for Michael Norton’s (Harvard Business School) new study on public opinion of executive pay grossly underestimated the pay gap between the average worker and CEOs. According to the AFL-CIO, the average American worker makes about $34,000 a year, while the average CEO earns more than $12 million. For a better understanding of such a disparity, the average American worker makes about .28% of what the average Continue reading Americans Underestimate Economic Inequality and the Pay Gap

ASK Night: Words of Wisdom from Former Econ Majors

Last Thursday, Career and Employment Services hosted an event called ASK Night, where Puget Sound alumni generously volunteer their time to talk to students about what career-related endeavors they’ve been up to since graduation. I thought this would be a great opportunity to chat with some former Economics majors, see how they’ve been doing, and how their studies helped them with their careers. I was disappointed to discover online that out of the 50 or so alumni that attended, only three majored in Economics (and a very small handful minored in it). Out of the three Economics majors, I had the time Continue reading ASK Night: Words of Wisdom from Former Econ Majors