Possible Economic Boom?

Generally, when an economics student is taking the introduction to Macroeconomics Theory the most commonly used word that will come out of the professor’s mouth is Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is a term defined as the value of all final goods and serviced a country produces in a given period. This monetary value enacts as an indicator of how the overall economy is doing. However, two other factors play a role in what a sustainable economy looks like. These factors are 1) inflation: the change of prices over time and 2) the unemployment rate. In the eyes of economist’s, Continue reading Possible Economic Boom?

The Uncertain Future of Digital Advertising

So far, this series has examined recent trends in digital advertising, and covered various approaches to increasing digital ad revenue. This installment will take a look at the apparent trajectory of this industry, and some of the challenges that publishers and content creators face. At the moment, the future direction of digital advertising is in question. Agencies are being founded with the express purpose of selling unblockable advertising, while other companies opt for paywalls or simply barring adblock users from accessing their sites in the first place. Some companies such as Twitch have found success with new ad serving technology, Continue reading The Uncertain Future of Digital Advertising

The Upward Trend of Esports

More news in the world of Esports has emerged since my last post about professional gaming. The NBA franchise, the Miami Heat purchased a significant stake in the Esports organization, the Misfits on January 10th. The Heat also announced a partnership along with this deal, in which the basketball franchise will “cross-promote” both organizations. The team tweeted a picture of both the Miami Heat’s logo and the Misfits’ new logo side by side. The Esports team changed their logo to match the color of the Heat’s logo, further promoting the partnership. The basketball team’s CEO, Nick Arison made an official Continue reading The Upward Trend of Esports

The Irrationality of Free

One of the books I’ve been reading for Economics of Happiness, the best connections class to make you happy (maybe except for the wine-tasting one) is Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, who examines some of the incentives and day-to-day interactions we have, how they affect our decisions, and more specifically, how they nudge us towards irrational decisions. One idea that we can’t deal with very well is the idea of free, or costing zero. If something is free, or costs zero, our decision making about that thing changes considerably. Predictably Irrational discusses how when presented with an otherwise great deal Continue reading The Irrationality of Free

Restauraunts Passing the Buck to the Customer due to Minimum Wage Increase?

The minimum wage in Washington has been of hot discussion for the past couple of years as there had been a push for higher wages for workers that had been relying on low-wage jobs. In the November election, Initiative 1433 passed across Washington to push the minimum wage up to $13.50 per hour by 2020. In other areas like Seattle and Sea-Tac, the rate can be as high as $15. Many businesses do not exactly support the increase, as they have to find a way to balance out the costs. Well, it seems that several restaurants across Washington are combatting Continue reading Restauraunts Passing the Buck to the Customer due to Minimum Wage Increase?

The Sharing Economy

In this booming technological age, American citizens are connected with each other like never before. Innovators are taking advantage of this new-era connectivity to build companies that rely solely on peer-to-peer contact. Companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Taskrabbit are all examples of companies that network strangers together in order to optimize the wants and needs of both parties in the transaction. In economics, this has become known as the “sharing economy.” These “innovative” companies are simply eliminating transaction costs by kicking out the middleman. By doing so, people are able to better optimize their time and money and hopefully Continue reading The Sharing Economy

Identifying the Gullible: Why are there so many Nigerian princes out there?

The other day, I received a phone call from a number with my area code. I answered and then the conversation went like this: Caller: Hi… Me: Hello…hello? Caller: …Oh sorry…I was having problems with my headset… Me:[Realizing this is a recording] Oh alright then… Caller: I’m calling to let you know you’ve won… And that’s when I hung up. If you have a cell phone, you’ve probably received a phone call like this and wondered, how do scams like these still happen? Does anybody actually give their information? Then I wondered how schemes like this can even be profitable. After Continue reading Identifying the Gullible: Why are there so many Nigerian princes out there?

The Cost Benefit Ratio of Universal Basic Income: India’s Dream to Close the Poverty Gap

India is one of the fastest growing economies, with not only a large population, but also a serious poverty issue. According to The World Bank, in 2009 India’s poverty rate hit a high of 31%!  Although it has decreased since then, the poverty rate is still quite significantly high. Generally most approaches to decrease poverty are rarely sufficient and cannot produce any significantly transformational results. Since India has evidently struggled to close the poverty gap, recently reports from the Indian government have expressed interest in creating a universal basic income. Universal basic income is an extremely uncommon approach that in theory distributes Continue reading The Cost Benefit Ratio of Universal Basic Income: India’s Dream to Close the Poverty Gap

Facebook Struggles with the Future of Digital Ads Despite Massive Revenue

This is a continuation of our ongoing series investigating unblockable online advertising. Last week we took a look at Twitch.tv’s successful attempt to rework their site to support unblockable ads, and this week will be examining Facebook, the challenges they face, and their less-than-successful attempts to circumvent adblockers. Facebook boasts a tremendous number of active users, surpassing 1.86 billion in the 4th quarter of 2016. A recent article from TechCrunch (linked at the end of this piece) states that Facebook earned $8.81 billion in revenue in Q4 2016, vastly exceeding analyst estimates. Despite this tremendous success, Facebook has warned that Continue reading Facebook Struggles with the Future of Digital Ads Despite Massive Revenue

US Immigration: “The Best and Brightest to the Front, Please”

Immigration is one of the most talked about political topics in the US and seems to dominate every speech around election time. Political figures have tried to find the “perfect” immigration system (the newest one being a $15 billion wall). But what do economists think about this issue? NPR’s Planet Money asked three different economists for their ideal immigration system for America’s borders. One of these economists came up with a plan titled, “the best and brightest.” The first plan was given by Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. His “dream system” for American Continue reading US Immigration: “The Best and Brightest to the Front, Please”