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 Groundhog Day in Greece (Part Two)

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 Abolish the minimum wage? A debate.

Marijuana Money

This article is a part one. Look for the second half next week! I remember proudly voting for the legalization of weed. July 8, 2014, marked the opening of legal vendors in Washington State, and lines of Americans stretched for miles outside the few stores that qualified. Sadly, I wasn’t 21 so I didn’t partake in that historic occasion, but plenty sure did. In the first month, Washington sold $3.8 million in pot from just eighteen stores. If that sounds impressive, one year later, a combined 160 stores were selling more than $1.4 million each day. I’m certain that even Continue reading Marijuana Money

Economics That Really Matters

A quick note on this Friday regarding a new-ish (and new to me) economics blog: Economics That Really Matters. With posts written by graduate students and young faculty in economics, the blog aims to contribute to the discourse of development economics, encourage debate relevant to poverty reduction and agricultural development, and share thoughts from our research experiences. The most recent article is written by a friend and former colleague of mine (and killer poker player!) Carolina Castilla. She employs field experiments to test outcomes of a trust game to analyze differences in household spending patterns between men and women. The work has Continue reading Economics That Really Matters

Getting the Price Right: Carbon Tax

Last week, I introduced the issue of negative externalities and how the amount that consumers pay for energy fail to reflect the environmental and social costs that come with its extraction and production. Recall that the supply curve typically shown in introductory economics classes only projects the Marginal Private Cost (MPC) of the firm, but there also exists a curve called the Marginal Social Cost (MSC), which gives a graphical representation of the external costs that come with the creation of a good. The gap between the MPC and the MSC must be closed for the sake of sustaining not only the Continue reading Getting the Price Right: Carbon Tax

Should Tacoma increase its minimum wage to $15/hour? A live debate!

On October 8th at 7pm, colleagues at Pacific Lutheran University will hold their latest installment of the Ruth Anderson Public Debate, where two teams (one expert and one student debater each) will engage in a debate on the subject of increasing the minimum wage in Tacoma to $15 an hour. Sound Economics will be there covering the debate live, and we encourage those economically-minded readers to attend if you can! If you cannot attend, follow the debate on Twitter; a small handful of questions for the debaters will be selected from Twitter submissions. In the weeks leading up to the debate, Continue reading Should Tacoma increase its minimum wage to $15/hour? A live debate!

A Perfectly “Hip” Competitive Market

Hipster. There is a lot of requirements for a person to be able to be associated with this word. Vintage clothing, vinyl records, interest in independent and underground bands. And craft beer. Many different industries have been impacted positively by this new movement, especially microbreweries residing in the beer universe. A microbrewery or craft brewer has been defined by the Brewers Association as being “those that produce fewer than six million barrels a year and are less than 25 percent owned by a large beverage maker.” The demand for these craft beers has been rising in the last few years Continue reading A Perfectly “Hip” Competitive Market

The Game of Genuine Altruism

What can explain why we do something out of the goodness of our heart, or put ourselves into dangerous situations and perform heroic acts? Most heroes that you ask will tell you that they acted instinctively and unconsciously, and didn’t stop to think. But clearly if we all stopped to think about helping and saving others from a purely economical standpoint, there would be a sharp decline in heroic acts. So why do we continue to put ourselves in situations that can be proven to always leave us with lower payoffs? Some explanations turn to the long run and karma; Continue reading The Game of Genuine Altruism

Groundhog Day in Greece

I thought I would take this opportunity early on in the semester to take another look at one of the bigger stories of the summer: the brief time in June and July Greece stood on the brink of default and the Eurozone stood on the edge of crisis. Not only was the international media thoroughly aflutter over the situation, but emergency measures imposed on Greeks at best proved a severe inconvenience. Most visibly, capital controls curtailed the ability of Greeks to access their savings, leading to long lines for ATMs.   NPR’s Planet Money team interviewed a man who, disillusioned Continue reading Groundhog Day in Greece

Washington is Actually the most Unfair Tax State

Over the summer I worked as a cashier at a tourist shop in Seattle. That means hardly any customers were from Washington, and that means hardly anyone expected our whopping sales tax. “Oh yes, taxes,” an elder German would sigh, not used to having it left out of the price tag. A Coloradan would demand to know why it was so high – Denver has a sales tax of 3.65% compared to Seattle’s 9.5%. A Montanan would laugh and flash their ID. Any resident from the five states without sales tax – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon – Continue reading Washington is Actually the most Unfair Tax State