Tesla’s Battery Update: Price Differentiation Tactics Revealed

In early September, 2017 the car manufacturer Tesla released an update that would extend the battery life of some models of its cars for customers in the hurricane Irma evacuation zone. According to a report by NBC News, the update would give owners of certain Tesla models the ability to drive an additional 30 to 40 miles without needing to charge. The aim of the upgrade was to help people escape the effect of the hurricane during a period when electricity and time for charging would be difficult to come by. Initially, this upgrade appears to be a great benefit Continue reading Tesla’s Battery Update: Price Differentiation Tactics Revealed

The Drive for Equality: Uber’s Misguided CEO Search

Uber, the popular ride-sharing app, has been having a rough year so far. In January, over 200,000 Uber customers deleted the app after drivers tried to do business at JFK airport during a New York Taxi Workers Alliance strike. On Saturday, January 28th, the drivers’ labor union called for all taxi drivers to avoid JFK airport in response to President Trump’s executive order barring travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US. February saw allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination within Uber. In June, the company announced they had fired over 20 employees as a result of their Continue reading The Drive for Equality: Uber’s Misguided CEO Search

Up to Date: Market Thickness in Dating

The motivation for this article came from a heterosexual, female friend saying, “Why are there no good guys here [at UPS]? All the good guys are either already dating someone or not interested in women!” One explanation for the seeming lack of “good” guys could be due to the general gender imbalance of higher education, and especially private institutions. Here at UPS, we’ve seen a similar trend. According to the Office of Institutional Research’s Common Data Set, we have seen our female-male ratio slide closer to 60-40 over the past few years. (This obviously fails to account for people not Continue reading Up to Date: Market Thickness in Dating

Graham-Cassidy: Repeal and Replace but don’t Repair

This summer’s post-ACA repeal attempt blues seem to be going away this week with the introduction of the GOP’s latest healthcare bill, the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill. Introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the bill’s purpose is to take a, “fundamentally different approach to healthcare than Obamacare. We are giving power over health care to the states, not DC” said Cassidy over twitter. In other words, the Republicans are taking one last jab at repeal-and-replace of the ACA but are thus far not seeing their efforts play out all that well. According to a poll produced by Continue reading Graham-Cassidy: Repeal and Replace but don’t Repair

The Market for B-Movies

Last summer marked the release of the fifth movie in the Sharknado franchise. The film series, which involves a cyclone that picks up vicious sharks and carries them around a terrified city, checks many of the classic B-movie boxes, including low budget, relatively unknown actors, outlandish plot, and special effects that require a high suspension of disbelief. Much of the publicity that surrounded the release of the first Sharknado movie was negative, and it continues to be negative. As of September 2017, the movie holds an unfavorable rating of 3.3 out of 10 on IMDb. How, then, are there five Continue reading The Market for B-Movies

Fall of Duty: Video Games vs. The Labor Market

As technology has advanced, we have seen the effect it can have on labor demand, especially for lower-skilled workers. Erik Hurst, an economist at the University of Chicago, decided to look at how technological change influenced the other side of the market, or labor supply. Hurst, along with his co-authors Aguiar, Bils, and Charles released a working paper called .Leisure Luxuries and the Labor Supply of Young Men examining the impact of video games and other recreational computer activities on the willingness of young men to act as labor suppliers. A Theory of Individual Labor Supply One way which economists have looked at Continue reading Fall of Duty: Video Games vs. The Labor Market

Economics of the Opioid Crisis

Rationality in the opioid market It is no lie to say that the drug problem facing America right now is of pandemic proportions. With an estimated 2.1 million individuals facing opioid problems, drug use in the U.S. is far higher than other OECD nations to the point that drug overdose has overtaken traffic fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death. Driving this issue is the abuse of prescription and non-prescription opioids. The origins of the issue are up for debate, with many experts citing the the high propensity of heroin available in Vietnam during the war as a catalyst Continue reading Economics of the Opioid Crisis

Turning the Tables on the Vinyl Revolution

Recently, Sony Music announced that it would resume production of vinyl LPs, an operation the company halted in 1989, according to a report by CNN Money. The reason for that 1989 stop? Compact discs, which had taken over the market for audio recordings so completely as to render vinyl obsolete as far as Sony was concerned. Now, as digital music and streaming are rising in popularity and the death of CDs is being proclaimed (sensationally and, perhaps, prematurely) by sources including Time and The Atlantic, vinyl is coming back. Initially, it would appear that the production of new vinyl records Continue reading Turning the Tables on the Vinyl Revolution

The Burning Question: How Much Do Wildfires Cost?

If you live in the American West, you’re probably aware that it’s fire season. According to Chris Wilcox of the National Interagency Fire Center, there were about 123 large fires across the country, adding up to 2 million acres on fire as of September 10th. An ArcGIS Map shows the extent of the damage, with fire markers blanketing Idaho and tracing the Cascade Range. Coupled with the property damage and destruction caused by the flames, the smoke trapped by high pressure systems has been prompting air quality warnings for months. While the trapped smoke actually helps firefighters, it comes with health Continue reading The Burning Question: How Much Do Wildfires Cost?

The Fallacy of Free-market Healthcare

This last summer saw a contentious political climate nationwide over the ever-heated issue of healthcare and insurance. In California, the state saw overwhelming support for the Healthy California Act, which would have provided single-payer insurance to all in the state, including undocumented individuals. On a federal level, the GOP unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have seen over 20 million individuals lose coverage. These heated discussions on the future of healthcare in America represent an interesting paradox. On one hand, you have the largest state in the union showing near unanimous state senatorial support for a Continue reading The Fallacy of Free-market Healthcare