Jeff Bezos’s Economic Prophecy

A few weeks ago, Jeff Bezos (of fame) invited reporters to tour his space venture “Blue Origin.” The company has existed in some form or another since the early 2000’s, but this was the first time that Blue Origin held a formal press event. The New York Times put together a great article on the event, written by Kenneth Chang. While much of the proceedings focused on the business plans and technological achievements of the firm, Bezos also took a little time to extoll his vision for the future of humanity (as you might expect from a billionaire who privately bankrolled a Continue reading Jeff Bezos’s Economic Prophecy

Is Marriage Worth Saving?

Marriage has long been argued as essential for building a family and properly raising children, yet, as this New York Times article discusses, more and more American children are born to unmarried parents, and consequentially, many are raised by single parents. Today, nearly 40% of new mothers aren’t married, and there is a clear racial disparity; “one in five white children, one in four Hispanics and one in two blacks live without a father at home.” Since the 1960’s, the U.S. Government has promoted marriage and two-parent families, and still does today, but it seems to not have an effect Continue reading Is Marriage Worth Saving?

Thesis Corner | Cydne Pope

A few weeks ago I talked about the details regarding the costs associated with products marketed to females versus males. This week I interviewed senior Cydne Pope whose thesis ties in very well and dives into the related topic of the social and economic consequences of gendered toys in America. She explores everything from the difference in cognitive ability that these toys promote to the future consequences of toy segregation. TS: What inspired you to choose this topic? CP: When deciding on a thesis topic, I always knew that I wanted to incorporate gender and gender differences into my paper Continue reading Thesis Corner | Cydne Pope

Income Inequality: Two Perspectives

[This post was written for Sound Economics by Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski] Here are two videos demonstrating opposing views on what continues to be a hot button economic topic: income inequality. The first video is a Ted Talk describing the problems caused by income inequality. The second is an interview where Richard Epstein attempts to dispel the belief that inequality is bad. What do you think?

The Why Axis: Bribing People and Competition

Here’s a delightful discussion of the main points in the first two chapters. Next Monday Geremia will be taking you for a ride along chapters 3 and 4, so please read along! Chapter one They dive right into the juicy stuff. What incentivizes people? Why are incentives so tricky? Gneezy and List hammer home the point that monetary incentives don’t always work in your favor. Sometimes, like for poor Rebecca and her daycare, putting a money penalty effectively makes the problem worse. As the authors explained, there’s lots of reasons for this. For starters, she set the penalty at $3 Continue reading The Why Axis: Bribing People and Competition

The War on Drugs…in 1511

Abyssinian goat herders may have been the first people to use the coffee bean for it’s psychoactive properties. The goat herders were likely to have observed their goats eating  red berries off one particular tree, Cofea. After trying the berries themselves the goat herders experienced the psychoactive properties of the berries, and somewhere along the line they learned to roast the beans to make coffee. Now, caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance. And though it has become the world’s leading choice of stimulant, what happened before it achieved it’s popular status? Why was coffee banned with such force? Continue reading The War on Drugs…in 1511

Continue along The Why Axis with Sound Economics

In a Sound Economics post from earlier this week, Tesha introduced us to The Why Axis. If you liked what you read and are interested in reading along with us, we will be posting along the way.  Here is our current reading/posting schedule: Week of 3/21: Chapters 1 and 2 Week of 3/28: Chapter 3 and 4 Week of 4/5: Chapter 5 and 6 Week of 4/12: Chapter 7 Week of 4/19: Chapter 8 Week of 4/26: Chapter 9 Week of 5/3: Chapter 10 and 11 We would love to hear your comments and responses as we develop and share our Continue reading Continue along The Why Axis with Sound Economics

Are Universities Turning into Hedge Funds?

A recent article from The Nation claims that university endowments are being heavily invested in hedge funds. This “intersection between higher education and high finance” means that university money is torn between paying hedge fund managers and being spent on actual education resources. This criticism was first brought up regarding Harvard investing 15% of its $38 billion endowment in hedge funds. In reality, public universities are looking to hedge funds as well now that state aid is decreasing. Hedge funds utilize high risk methods for large returns, and often operate in convoluted overseas structures to avoid taxes. Investing endowments in risky hedge funds rather than investing Continue reading Are Universities Turning into Hedge Funds?

Morocco Launches Gigantic Solar Power Plant

To follow up on Nicky’s post about solar energy efficiency, Morocco has recently launched a power plant (called the Noor I) in the Sahara Desert that is capable of generating 160 megawatts of power. These solar panels cover thousands of acres of the desert (can actually be seen from space) and when the two other Noor plants are implemented they will offer renewable energy to over a million Moroccans. What are the economic impacts of this implementation? Right now, Morocco relies on imported sources of energy for 97% of its total energy use (according to the World Bank) while also having its electricity demand Continue reading Morocco Launches Gigantic Solar Power Plant

Video Games: Just a Plastic Disk

For all those Xbox, PlayStation, Wii owners out there, have you ever thought about why your video games cost you so much these days? The average game costs about $60 when it is first released and can go to about twice that if it includes bonus material. But if you think about it, the actual game is just a plastic disk. It can’t be that difficult or costly to produce. But you guessed it… individual games for consoles such as Xbox or Playstation actually have huge budgets. In 2014 Activision, a popular video game developer, announced that one of their Continue reading Video Games: Just a Plastic Disk