“I Present to You the Rational Consumer”

In the Office’s sixth episode of season 7, Dunder Mifflin’s “accountant extraordinaire” Oscar Martinez dresses up as the “rational consumer” for the office’s Halloween costume contest. His character is inspired by the contest’s prize, a booklet worth over $40,000 in coupons to many of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s finest establishments. Though the rest of the employees come to work dressed in creative and sometimes head turning (Gabe as Lady Gaga) costumes they have obviously put a lot of thought into, Oscar comes dressed in jeans, a collared shirt and a cardigan as a sign that the booklet should be of no interest Continue reading “I Present to You the Rational Consumer”

Reflection on The Why Axis: the Role of Time Discounting in the Education Gap.

Two eeks ago I wrote about chapter 4 of The Why Axis. I hope you continue (or begin) to read along with us as we make our way through the book and enjoy it as much as we are! The authors do a great job relaying some tricky behavioral economic ideas while they tackle profound topics in a fun way. One such topic, the gap in childhood education between inner city kids and many wealthy even simply middle class kids, was central in the fourth chapter. I found Gneezy’s and List’s discussion provoking and I have given some thought to Continue reading Reflection on The Why Axis: the Role of Time Discounting in the Education Gap.

The Why Axis Chapter 4: How Can Sad Silver Medalists and Happy Bronze Medalists Help Us Close the Achievement Gap

Gneezy and List take the book in a completely different direction in Chapter 4 when they use evidence from field experiments to suggest methods to reduce the infamous Achievement Gap in public schools. The authors begin by laying out the facts of the achievement gap, particularly between high income families and those living in inner cities. The U.S. spends the 5th most amount of money per capita on students – $11,467 – yet there is a 9% drop out rate for “low-income” students and drop-out rates of above 50% for inner city kids, compared to a low 2% rate for Continue reading The Why Axis Chapter 4: How Can Sad Silver Medalists and Happy Bronze Medalists Help Us Close the Achievement Gap

Is Economics a Science?

Two prominent economists, Russ Roberts from the Hoover Institute, and Noah Smith from Stony Brook University, partook in an insightful conversation on Roberts’ podcast EconTalk a few weeks ago. Though they covered many interesting topics, most provoking to me was their discussion regarding whether or not economics is a science (Found from approximately minute 14 to minute Roberts, a strong neoclassical liberal economist, fell strongly on the side that economics is not a science arguing that “economics is not much of a science in the way that people in everyday English think about it” because “it doesn’t produce reliable empirical Continue reading Is Economics a Science?

Are Economists “Feeling the Bern”?

Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has taken America by storm, and for good reason. A year ago few could have predicted the relatively little known junior Senator from Vermont would be entrenched in what has become a very interesting race with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination. His charisma, willingness to seemingly always speak his mind, and socialist views have attracted Democratic voters, particularly younger ones, looking for something other than the malaise that has followed Hillary Clinton since her days as Secretary of State. Though the exact reason for Sanders’ success is difficult to pin down, as a student Continue reading Are Economists “Feeling the Bern”?

Lower Gas Prices: Thank Saudi Arabia?

If you own and regularly drive a car then you’ve undoubtedly noticed your wallet has a little extra money in it these days. You’ve also probably made the connection between that extra spending money and the low price of gas, which since June 2014 has steadily decreased as the world price for a barrel of oil has fallen more than 70%. I have been driving for four years now which makes me old enough to remember what it felt like trying to fill up for $4 a gallon. Being that that was the price of gas when I first got Continue reading Lower Gas Prices: Thank Saudi Arabia?

Betting on Gatorade Baths

As America prepares for the country’s biggest unofficially official holiday of the year, better known as the Super Bowl, many very hard hitting questions are making the rounds online and on social media. Some examples are: What color will the Gatorade poured over the winning coach be? Will “Left Shark” make an appearance on stage during the Super Bowl Halftime Show? How many times will the word ‘dab’ be said by CBS Super Bowl broadcast duo Jim Nantz and Phil Simms during the game? Or my personal favorite, will the winning team score more points than the percentage of votes Continue reading Betting on Gatorade Baths