How do the poor and rich spend their money?

Welfare benefits are a point of contention for lawmakers and consumers alike. Some states have been mulling over changing their welfare policies, most of which are aimed at controlling what the poor spend their food stamps and welfare checks on. Some politicians are worried that the poor take government money and spend it on non-essentials (concerns include welfare checks being spent at strip clubs and food stamps being used for filet mignon – I’m not kidding). To help put those fears to rest, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated their consumer expenditure survey. The consumer expenditure survey shows how much individuals from Continue reading How do the poor and rich spend their money?

Where is ‘Big Data’ Going?

Everyone has become infatuated with the use of data in business. This trend started with Billy Beane with the Oakland A’s, using simple statistics to govern strategic decision making about how to assemble a team. The idea of using statistics in more aspects of life has become popularized with movies like Moneyball and websites like Fivethirtyeight. The use of analytics or big data is now spreading across businesses and industries.  If you are a fan of basketball, you have seen NBA franchises begin to invest millions in departments dedicated solely to using math to give their team an advantage. These types of Continue reading Where is ‘Big Data’ Going?

Why Recent Growth in the Board Game Market isn’t a Bubble

Anyone trying to go to a bar or coffee shop over the weekend may have been forced to wait longer in lines or found it harder to find places to sit because tables were full of people were sitting around tables playing board games. That’s because last Saturday was ‘International Tabletop Day,’ and tons of people came out to bars, coffee shops and other places to play games with friends or meet new people who enjoy board games. This idea was the brain-child of Wil Wheaton, who hosts the youtube show, ‘Tabletop’ where biweekly he brings his celebrity friends to Continue reading Why Recent Growth in the Board Game Market isn’t a Bubble

Physics and Economics

As a student at a liberal arts university, I have developed into a huge proponent of multidisciplinary learning. It’s the way in which we can truly solve problems in the real world, as well as keep our minds open. Although I’ve only been a college student for two years, I’ve had the opportunity to take many classes that I wouldn’t have expected to take at a more degree-oriented university, with topics ranging from ancient philosophy to banking, and pretty much everything in between. One subject that I’ve somehow managed to avoid my entire life is physics. In high school, I Continue reading Physics and Economics

Econ Social Hour and an Internship opportunity

Two announcements to send your way! First, our next Econ Social Hour will happen this Friday, April 17th, from 4-6 pm at Engine House No. 9. All economics students are welcome! Additionally, here is an internship opportunity at the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. The internship involves updating the Washington State Economic Climate Survey. The closing date is April 30, 2015. To apply, CLICK HERE!

Is Going into Finance the Best Use of Your Skills?

As a disclaimer, I am not against careers in finance. I plan on pursuing one myself. Where a student goes with their qualifications and talents is a greatly personal decision. I’m not a senior, but I know many students who are. The stress of graduating and moving on to the next stage in your life can be exciting, terrifying or both. Many students are already making employment decisions before they even walk across the stage and get their degree(s). As an economics major, I’m no stranger to the assumptions made by my family, peers and even myself that I’m going to pursue Continue reading Is Going into Finance the Best Use of Your Skills?

Problem with College Athletics

In my last post I talked about for-profit schools, but failed to mention Division I athletics in this conversation. Although these obviously aren’t technically for-profit, I would argue that the structure of these programs seems to go against the non-profit nature of the schools. The reason I say this is that these programs themselves seem to be almost treated as for-profit entities by the school where they are attempting to maximize the profits made by athletic programs every year. Money drives many of the decisions made by colleges and major athletic conferences to the point where things like television networks are Continue reading Problem with College Athletics

Seattle’s Traffic and the Urban Village

If you turn on the radio and listen to the local northwest radio stations, there seems to be a single conclusion about the region, and specifically Seattle’s future: profound economic growth. People are moving to the northwest in droves, some drawn in by the impressive array of job opportunities available, and others attracted by the sheer appeal of the region (even those without jobs at all.) However, there’s a problem with this rapid development, and that is traffic. While this may sound a little like that person who whines that ‘too many people like them,’ it’s not untrue, and Seattle’s Continue reading Seattle’s Traffic and the Urban Village

Economics in social media

As an academic blog, Sound Economics is our way, as students and faculty of economics, to explore economic ideas publicly, engage in debate, and exchange reactions to and analyses of current events. These forums have played an increasing role in economics in recent years. As further evidence of the expansion of economic discussions online, last week former Fed chair Ben Bernanke announced his new blog, hosted at the Brookings Institution. In his own words, Now that I’m a civilian again, I can once more comment on economic and financial issues without my words being put under the microscope by Fed watchers. I look Continue reading Economics in social media

Podcasting: An Emerging Industry? (Part 3)

Last week I outlined the history of the podcast. I noticed that previous attempts to launch podcast-like services as organized business ventures had failed. Podcasting only took on its modern form around 2005, when it launched as an open-source method of embedding audio files in RSS feeds. The first user-side podcast service was the personal project of an ex-MTV host. These observations raise the question: why did podcasting emerge outside of the corporate sphere? This week we’ll investigate the emergence of podcasting by looking at it as a disruptive technology. What is a disruptive technology? NPR recently interviewed Ryan Knutson, Continue reading Podcasting: An Emerging Industry? (Part 3)