The Economics of Living with Roommates

Living with lots of housemates is a necessity for many people today, from those in college to professionals living in pricey cities. When moving to a new place for a job, your roommates are often your first “family.” Beyond this, finances force many people to live with several roommates for longer periods than in the past. An Atlantic article comments that what was anticipated by some as a cyclical phenomenon actually stuck with us. Living with a handful of strangers is still common, often across the country from family members, as people become increasingly mobile. The economic benefits are pretty Continue reading The Economics of Living with Roommates

Why Would I Do it Now When I Could Do it Later?

Procrastination: it doesn’t seem very efficient. As I procrastinated writing this blog post, along with all of my other assignments in the home stretch of my last semester, I thought about how much I would regret my past decisions of not working in the near future. In behavioral economics, these decisions are posed as problems of “intertemporal choice.” There is a distinction between the decisions we make in the present and those we foresee in the future. One article delves into this issue, which the author calls “The Seductive-Now Moment.” People would rather have instant gratification and devalue both the Continue reading Why Would I Do it Now When I Could Do it Later?

An Economic Indicator to Watch: the Tooth Fairy Index

With April Fool’s day just behind us, I stumbled upon a “semi-fictional” Planet Money video on a very important topic: the price of a tooth. As the accompanying article states, the amount parents pay their kids when they lose a tooth has risen much more than one would predict based from inflation. Twenty years ago, the price of a tooth was around $1.30. But last year, it was a whopping $4.13. These numbers are all tracked by Delta Dental, a large dental insurance company. In 1998, they began tracking the amount of money kids find under their pillow by surveying Continue reading An Economic Indicator to Watch: the Tooth Fairy Index

The Sporadic Economics of the “Spring Break Effect”

“Spring Break”- an alcohol-fueled, money-guzzling phenomenon that has distracted and attracted people since ancient Greece. With all the travelling and partying that spring break implies for much of the college population, it’s worth considering how all this impacts the local economies of popular travel destinations. While college students on break provide a boost of revenue (though the extent of impact this varies by destination), they also cost these locations money in criminal activity. Via quantitative methods on a variety of case study “host locations,” one 2008 study examines the question, “Is spring break worth the cost of the student impacts?” This Continue reading The Sporadic Economics of the “Spring Break Effect”

Thesis Corner: Natanya Glatt

An interview about a neat thesis on an issue that many of us from the Bay Area and similar tech-crazed regions are familiar with! Natanya is an Economics major with Business and Math minors. You can check out her thesis here if you want to know more! What’s your thesis about? How tech workers impact median household prices. I looked at this from an econometric standpoint, collected data from the Census Bureau, and then used a fixed effects model to analyze whether [tech workers] have an impact, adjusting for variables like entity and time and other variables that may affect Continue reading Thesis Corner: Natanya Glatt

That’s how much sports cost?

This is what I blurted out in class, baffled by the high price casually associated with a seat at a basketball game. This got me thinking – what influences the wildly different prices of professional sports tickets? How are the tickets priced? The first price determinant, as we would expect, is the sport itself. For instance, the average NFL ticket is more expensive than an average MBL ticket, which is more expensive than an average NHL ticket. This isn’t too surprising, but what’s interesting is the huge disparity within a given sport. This disparity tends to come from pricing methods, Continue reading That’s how much sports cost?

Why Tacoma shuts down when it snows: A network optimization problem

(Picture from UPS Facebook Page) This storm seems to spark a lot of emotion. While watching Tacoma residents and California transplants loot Safeway for canned beans and Rainier, Minnesotans and Chicagoans laugh and jeer about how they walked to school in five feet of snow every winter without a jacket. Okay, maybe not quite so extreme, but how would I know – I haven’t left North Tacoma in five days because I, too, am a California transplant. This past week has made glaringly clear the difference in protocols and design between cities that brace for snow vigilantly every winter, and Continue reading Why Tacoma shuts down when it snows: A network optimization problem

Hidden costs to outdoor recreation during the government shutdown

The longest government shutdown in our country’s history was expensive in more ways than one. The outdoor recreation economy, which made up 2.2% of total GDP in 2016, was one of the losers. According to an article written on January 4 (just 14 days into the shutdown), the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) estimated that the partial shutdown had already cost the National Parks Service (NPS) at least $5 million in entrance fees. Although the NPS left some areas open, they operated with limitations and did not collect entrance fees. Fortunately, many outdoor communities stepped up to volunteer in garbage Continue reading Hidden costs to outdoor recreation during the government shutdown