Thesis Corner: Jadyn Kerns-Funk

Below is my conversation with Jadyn Kerns-Funk about her fascinating thesis, which focuses on incentives to collude in online markets. Enjoy! What inspired your interest in studying online markets? Over the summer last year my dad asked me to go through his comics from the 60s and 70s and sell them online (for a percent cut of the profit of course). I turned to eBay first, and was forced to then determine the best way to portray our version of the comic as superior to others— primarily through trust formation and reputation. This was difficult as a new seller, where Continue reading Thesis Corner: Jadyn Kerns-Funk

Thesis Cornerstone: Sean Wong-Westbrooke on Amazon and Antitrust

In this edition of Thesis Corner I sat down with Sean Wong-Westbrooke to talk about his findings about Amazon and Antitrust laws. To understand Antitrust laws in the United States it’s important to start from a historical perspective. Standard oil had an overwhelming majority of the oil market during early 20th century and started using its size to fix prices and political influence to force deals. This eventually lead to the enforcement of Antitrust Laws and the company subsequently broke up into several segments, birthing companies like ExxonMobil. The perceived benefits of the break-up were essentially rendered void when an Continue reading Thesis Cornerstone: Sean Wong-Westbrooke on Amazon and Antitrust

Tesla: $702 Million Loss Raises Questions About EV Market & Subsidies

Back in December of 2018, the Trump administration announced that it wanted to end federal subsidies for electric vehicles. This may have been in part in retaliation to General Motors for its planned layoffs, however it would also have implications for the future of the renewable fuel and electric car industry. Under current regulations, the subsidies no longer apply to purchases of vehicles from an individual manufacturer after it sells 200,000 of the model. Tesla, one of the most well known electric car brands in recent years, hit this mark in July of 2018. From then, the tax credit was/will Continue reading Tesla: $702 Million Loss Raises Questions About EV Market & Subsidies

Watchers on the Wall – The Costs and Benefits of Workplace Surveillance Tech

Is increased surveillance an appropriate method for increasing worker productivity? At what point can corporate investments begin to cut into productivity? There have been a collection of developments in workplace surveillance technology and methods that have caught the eye of worker’s rights groups. Recently, Amazon has developed a patent for surveillance band for warehouse workers that would monitor their arm movements to record inefficiencies. Whole Foods has introduced a new inventory management system that scores and ranks employees based on re-stocking efficiency. UPS has implanted sensors in delivery trucks to monitor exactly how long workers take to deliver packages to Continue reading Watchers on the Wall – The Costs and Benefits of Workplace Surveillance Tech

NFL Draft Strategy

Last night, the NFL Draft took place in Nashville, Tennessee. Football fans across the country tuned in to see if their respective teams would capitalize on this next wave of young football talent. With the coveted #1 overall pick, the Arizona Cardinals selected reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray. Murray, who has been compared to the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, appears to be a promising dual threat offensive weapon for years to come. However, in the year 2005, a paper titled “The Loser’s Curse: Overconfidence vs. Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft” was published by economist Richard Thaler. Continue reading NFL Draft Strategy

The Incoming Lombard Street Toll

Tolls in San Francisco are high and unavoidable. From most places in the bay area, the only way to get to San Francisco is to cross a bridge, and every bridge has a toll associated with it. Another thing worth noting is that according to rent reports, San Francisco is the most expensive city to live in. On Monday, a bill proposing a toll to drive down the infamous Lombard Street in San Francisco passed the Assembly and Transportation Committee in an 11-3 vote. This is monumental as the street has always been free. While Lombard Street is typically a Continue reading The Incoming Lombard Street Toll

Do you Stand or Walk on an Escalator? Lemming Decision Making

Economic models assume consumers choose the bundle of goods that will maximize their utility. It’s no secret that this assumption holds very little water –that consumers fail to make utility maximizing choices in their day to day lives– and it can be interesting to look at examples of these failures of decision making. One interesting example of consumers incorrectly maximizing their utility is lemming decision making. Lemming decision making is essentially what happens when someone does something incorrectly just because everyone else is also doing that thing incorrectly, without actually evaluating the various outcomes and making a real decision about Continue reading Do you Stand or Walk on an Escalator? Lemming Decision Making

Thesis Corner: Julia Ratcliff

In this edition of Thesis Corner, I sat down with Julia Ratcliff to discuss her investigation into the connections of blockchain technology and multi-sided platform theory. What was your thesis project about? Essentially my project was about blockchain and multi-sided platform theory. I was trying to see if technologies could essentially replace these businesses that act as intermediaries between two different groups of people. What were your conclusions? Technically I did a theory based paper, I didn’t do an econometrics paper, but really it was more on the argumentative side because I was trying to work multi-sided platform price theory Continue reading Thesis Corner: Julia Ratcliff

Seattle Considers Congestion Pricing

Driving through Seattle is a challenge. Seattle is one of, if not the most, traffic congested cities in the state. In an attempt to alleviate some of the traffic, the city of Seattle may implement congestion pricing: a toll that drivers must pay to use popular routes during peak hours. If successful, the tax will reduce use of the roads during those hours, and the revenue collected will fund transportation projects. Cities such as New York, London, Singapore, and Stockholm have already used congestion pricing. While New York’s tax is fairly new, the system worked well in the other cities. Continue reading Seattle Considers Congestion Pricing

Swipe Right on Paul Oyer

Looking to pick up a book for some fun econ reading? I would highly recommend Paul Oyer’s Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating. This book brings some of the concepts looked at across economics classes and applies them to dating. The book is engaging funny and easy to follow even for a non-economics major. IT is structured by the concept and all concepts have an example of the economics concept in dating and in a separate industry. My favorite two topics covered were cheap talk and network externalities. Cheap talk is the idea Continue reading Swipe Right on Paul Oyer