About Brennan

Brennan is a fourth year economics major at the University of Puget Sound.

Patent Pools: Consumer Friendly Cartels?

Patent/intellectual property pools represent a key form of strategic cooperation, also known as cartel behavior. Before getting to far into it, what is a patent pool exactly? There is some variation within the concept of a patent/intellectual property pool, but generally, patent pools are organizations that are jointly owned by anywhere from a couple to a couple hundred companies that control intellectual property such as patents. These joint ventures allow companies to share patents, such as new technological equipment, thereby creating standardization across industries. While this may not seem beneficial, if we look to the specific example of the HDMI Continue reading Patent Pools: Consumer Friendly Cartels?

Wealth Inequality Part 1

When it comes to inequality there are a lot of phrases that get thrown around: wealth inequality, Income inequality, gini coefficients, etc. Therefore I am going to define a few of these terms to help to clarify the discussion. Wealth inequality is the difference in the distribution of assets (wealth) within the population of a country/society. The measurement for this difference in distribution is called a gini coefficient/index and goes from 1 to 100. Income inequality is a term referring to the differences in the distribution of income income within a society/country and is similar to wealth inequality. These terms Continue reading Wealth Inequality Part 1

Really Economics?: Ending Old Practices

Really Economics? I say this phrase as just this month, the hiring practices for all Economists has changed from occurring in hotel rooms to actual interview spaces. It is pretty astounding that it took until 2019 for the American Economic Association to realize it was not a good practice for young, female, post-docs, to be interviewed in closed hotel rooms (or for that matter young post-docs at all). Though it is astounding that this practice did not end until recently, it is not surprising: economics is a pretty homogeneous discipline. According to data taken from the census bureau, over 70% of Continue reading Really Economics?: Ending Old Practices

The Fed Can Fix It

Despite the name, I don’t just want to talk about the marvels of the Fed, but actually about how the Fed is a good model for other public agencies and corporations. The Federal Reserve has always been the target of criticism from all sides of the spectrum, but this is reflective of inherent strengths of the Fed that naturally can draw some ire from the Political space. The Federal Reserve has successfully led the country through over 70 years of economic hardships in way that no other governmental body truly could and this is due to its unique features that set Continue reading The Fed Can Fix It

The Market of Professors and Department Importance

Recently, I heard the argument that the best way for Universities to show respect for all fields of study, and show that they are of equal importance is to pay all professors the same wage. This caused me to think about what economics had to say about this idea. Given that there is a certain amount that the private sector will pay for individuals with a PhD and that this phenomenon influences what Universities will pay for PhD-holding individuals, it makes sense that there exists a market for professors. This market has different demand for different doctorates e.g. a professor Continue reading The Market of Professors and Department Importance

Pirate Parties and the Free Market of Ideas

During a procrastination fueled Wikipedia binge, I stumbled upon a page on the mainly European phenomena of the Pirate Party. Pirate Parties are political parties based on a movement started in Sweden when some activists created a semi-satirical anti-copyright political party. Pirate Parties are varied in their approaches, but they tend to value direct democracy, government transparency, and digital/technological freedoms. Pirate Parties often attract younger, more technologically savvy voters, who most likely feel fed up with the political system and ready to vote for Parties which are less traditional in nature. Pirate parties have been waning in significance due to the Continue reading Pirate Parties and the Free Market of Ideas

Modern Monetary Theory: Let’s Play Some Calvin Ball

Modern Monetary Theory or MMT as it is also known, is a new branch of heterodox economics that is quickly gaining popularity among the political far-left in American politics. While the theory is quite confusing in its exact specifications and rules ( Economist Paul Krugman likened it to “Calvin ball”) the basic tenets are that the assumptions of “fiat currency” and “endogenous money” are the correct macroeconomic assumptions. While these are core elements for most MMT theorists, it is important to stress that like many heterodox economic theories and “Calvin ball,” the ‘rules’ often change depending on which promoter of the Continue reading Modern Monetary Theory: Let’s Play Some Calvin Ball

Thesis Corner: Henry Gardella

This is an interview with senior, Henry Gardella (HG), about his senior thesis “The Alliance of Youtube and Patreon.” B: To begin with, what is your thesis?   HG: What do you mean what is it called, or what…   B: Basically what is your thesis called and what is it about?   HG: So my thesis is called the Alliance of Youtube and Patron. If you don’t know what patreon is, it is a crowdfunding platform that allows content creators to make money to produce their content. Basically, this is really hard to explain…   B: Take your time Continue reading Thesis Corner: Henry Gardella

The Kansas Experiment: Was Kansas Going to Fail Anyway?

While it’s been 6 years since the Governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback, embarked on what is now known as the “Kansas Experiment”,  its impact is still being felt by the economy and politics of Kansas today. Given the outcome, the real question is, was Kansas moving in a downward economic trend before the tax cut or was the tax cut the cause? The answer is: it was. I wish I could have drawn it out to a surprise conclusion or at least had some ambiguity to work with, but it is clear from the downgrading of the state credit rating Continue reading The Kansas Experiment: Was Kansas Going to Fail Anyway?

The Utility of Schadenfreude

Recently, in one of my economics classes, the professor decided to have us play a game theory scenario. The first interesting factor to know for context, is that the class consists of a minority of economics majors. The second factor is that the class consists of over 20 students (decently sized for a Puget Sound econ course). The game we played was a basic variable contribution mechanism game, with the class splitting into groups of around 3 and given the opportunity to contribute ‘tokens’ to a group pot to get points for the entire class or keep the ‘tokens’ to Continue reading The Utility of Schadenfreude