Is Economics a Science?

Two prominent economists, Russ Roberts from the Hoover Institute, and Noah Smith from Stony Brook University, partook in an insightful conversation on Roberts’ podcast EconTalk a few weeks ago. Though they covered many interesting topics, most provoking to me was their discussion regarding whether or not economics is a science (Found from approximately minute 14 to minute Roberts, a strong neoclassical liberal economist, fell strongly on the side that economics is not a science arguing that “economics is not much of a science in the way that people in everyday English think about it” because “it doesn’t produce reliable empirical Continue reading Is Economics a Science?

Stoned Moms: The Marijuana Industry’s Greatest Untapped Market

If you’ve seen this video of grandmothers getting high then you’re going to love this Granny who loves her weed too. Since the legalization of recreational weed use in Colorado in 2012 entrepreneurs and investment bankers have been looking for the next big push to get the legal marijuana industry profitable. Justin Hartfield is the creator of WeedMaps, a yelp for marijuana dispensaries that marries the marijuana and tech industries into a modern entrepreneurial dream. However the next untapped market that the medical and recreation marijuana industry needs are everyday people, you, me, and your mom too.   Contrary to popular belief, the majority of Continue reading Stoned Moms: The Marijuana Industry’s Greatest Untapped Market

SoundCast – Episode 4: Valentine’s Day!

Intro and outro music royalty-free from, it’s great stuff! The economics of Valentine’s Day and other consumerist-holidays are explained, with special guests, sophomore Emily Walker and Professor Andrew Monaco. Hosts are Nicky Smit and Cole Driscoll.

Seasonal workers and the ever-sensitive immigration debate

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the recently released seasonal worker visa program, or the H-2B.  While the purpose of the program is to enable seasonal staff to do jobs that American citizens typically don’t want, there has been significant backlash. Immigration is an extremely sensitive and controversial issue across the nation.  So really any program dealing with migrant workers, even if their visas are temporary, is bound to get attention (and some backlash). The WSJ article points out that new H-2B applies primarily to certain industries (landscaping, forestry, amusement, tourism and construction), and clarifies that many Continue reading Seasonal workers and the ever-sensitive immigration debate

Your Neighbor Winning the Lottery Might Send You into Bankruptcy

Most of us are familiar with the idea that winning the lottery can sometimes backfire: having so much money at once might not allow you to learn how to spend, friends and family can wear you down, the list goes on – but what about how it affects your neighbors? The Federal Reserve of Bank recently released a working paper showing how income inequality can cause financial distress, specifically if it’s caused by exogenous shocks (like winning the lottery). Researchers saw an increase in bankruptcy filings when someone in a neighborhood won a lottery (2.4% to be exact). Homes and cars Continue reading Your Neighbor Winning the Lottery Might Send You into Bankruptcy

It’s a High Risk Business: Music Festivals

In the past decade music festivals have become bigger and bigger as attendance at major festivals continuing to grow. One of larger festivals in the US is Coachella Music and Arts Festival located in southern California. Coachella started out with a crowd of 25,000 people in 1999 and has grown to more than 600,000 attendees in two weekends. It’s not just Coachella that has record breaking attendance, the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas recorded 400,000 attendees in a single weekend. With attendance numbers like this it is worthwhile to take a look into incentives for companies to organize these Continue reading It’s a High Risk Business: Music Festivals

Cost Per Vote in New Hampshire

This post is a follow-up to my original post a few weeks ago about campaign spending per vote in the US primary elections. When I wrote that post, only information about the Iowa causes was available. Now, New Hampshire data is available. NPR put together a great table tabulating the TV advertising expenditures of campaigns in that state for all the major candidates, in both parties. You should click over there and look at it. Some interesting tidbits from their analysis: Jeb Bush, like in Iowa, burned a lot of cash but it didn’t translate to votes. Spending over $30 million dollars Continue reading Cost Per Vote in New Hampshire

Wizard World:

My ticket through the front gate is a bright yellow plastic bracelet, “hold your hands up high, so we can see your tickets,” the volunteers advise. I hardly lift my wrist as I pass through the crowd of costumed people, on my left is an endearingly cheerful young Pikachu, on my right is a Spiderman only slightly past his prime. Some would think, either absent minded-ly or based on stereotype or other, that the individuals who go to comic con conventions would be more of a strange and astonishing. Or some others would say, that they met a man selling Continue reading Wizard World:

Are Economists “Feeling the Bern”?

Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has taken America by storm, and for good reason. A year ago few could have predicted the relatively little known junior Senator from Vermont would be entrenched in what has become a very interesting race with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination. His charisma, willingness to seemingly always speak his mind, and socialist views have attracted Democratic voters, particularly younger ones, looking for something other than the malaise that has followed Hillary Clinton since her days as Secretary of State. Though the exact reason for Sanders’ success is difficult to pin down, as a student Continue reading Are Economists “Feeling the Bern”?

Big Bills = More Crime

Imagine two shady characters, making a swap over briefcases. One ends up with cocaine or something, but the other opens his briefcase to reveal $100,000 in cash. Probably happens more frequently than you think. Now imagine that the $100 bill no longer exists and they want to make the same transaction. That dude’s got to lug around five briefcases now and that’s not suspicious at all. I’m making light of the situation, but a recent study by Peter Sands of Harvard gives a good argument that terminating big denomination notes would hurt criminal activity, and have little to no negative effects Continue reading Big Bills = More Crime