Putting a Price on LGBT Discrimination in the Workforce

The workforce of America today is covered in trends and policies of marginalization. From women being squeezed out of the computer science field to an identical resume being passed up for one with a more “white” name on it, discrimination in the workforce hurts countless hardworking, Americans including those whom can still be legally fired in some states for sexual orientation and gender expression. What about employers though? Are there economic incentives for practicing discrimination, and if so, how strong are they? In 2012, the Center for American Progress released a study on just that called The Costly Business of Discrimination; Continue reading Putting a Price on LGBT Discrimination in the Workforce


With fall break in front of us and midterms almost behind us, perhaps one of the last things that any student is thinking of right now is the work due after break. You know, that paper that was assigned weeks ago to be turned in the day classes resume? Procrastination is real and we can use economic theory to prove that the phenomenon is a result of rational thinking contrary to the many perceptions of laziness and lack of time management which surround the act of doing work later, rather than sooner. The theory comes from microeconomics and it goes like this. Continue reading Procrastination

Don’t be fooled, Loggers.

Kal Draws is a video series put on by The Economist. Each of these cartoons takes a basic economic concept and attempts to illustrate it in a minute or two. Here is their cartoon on trade, take a look for yourself. Not everyone needs to master economics to have a meaningful opinion about economics. So when a popular economic news source tries to pass off extremely biased and uninformative media as accurate information on basic econ terminology, it’s embarrassing. There is some good information here. It’s true, trade does benefit countries. Theory and practice tells us that by specializing in the production of Continue reading Don’t be fooled, Loggers.

Fitness Apartheid? A moral look at price discrimination

Fitness Apartheid. That’s right, apartheid. That’s one way the housing market in New York City has been described recently by a tenant. An inflammatory word? Absolutely. Comparing exclusive fitness centers to an entire history of racially based and politically enforced segregation is entirely inappropriate and I don’t support it in the least. However, the housing market in New York is a battle ground and the actions that landlords are taking have become downright offensive. This episode of Freakonomics explores the idea of price discrimination through first class airplane seats, “the poor door”, and yes, an exclusive fitness center. To listen to the episode, Continue reading Fitness Apartheid? A moral look at price discrimination

New Faculty Interview: Lea Fortmann

As promised, this week we have an interview with Lea Fortmann, new Assistant Professor for the Economics Department. (If you missed last week’s interview, here is a link to the interview with our department’s other newest member, Peter Sullivan.) Where did go you go to college? Most recently I graduated with my Ph D. from Ohio State university so there I was in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and prior to that I did a Master’s at the University of Washington in the Evans School of Public Affairs. So there I got my PMA and I did my undergrad Continue reading New Faculty Interview: Lea Fortmann

New Faculty Interview: Peter Sullivan

The Economics department this year welcomes two new members to the faculty. This week we have an exclusive interview with one of the two new Assistant Professors. Hired for his background in Macroeconomics, here is Peter Sullivan. So where did you go to college? “University of New Hampshire. I did all my degrees there.” And how many degrees was that? “The Bachelor of Arts in Economics, the Master of Scienc- or Arts in Economics, so the B.A., M.A., and Ph D. The program I did for the Ph D. gets you a Master’s degree after ten months.” What brought you to the Continue reading New Faculty Interview: Peter Sullivan

Food Prices

If you buy your own food, you may have noticed in the past couple years that food prices have been rising faster than the prices of other goods. Today, we’re going to pull apart an interview on food inflation into economic terms, that we can then turn back into real world discussion. If you’re not quite sure what inflation is yet, here’s a link to a previous post on inflation. Here’s the interview. It’s from Marketplace, with a guy named Matthew Boesler from Business Insider. In total, it’s about 5 minutes long. Food inflation, or, why bacon is a good investment by Raghu Continue reading Food Prices

The Institute for New Economic Thinking

After the Great Recession, as the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 has become known as, the need for greater economic research led to the founding of The Institute for New Economic Thinking. This think-tank is dedicated to the perpetuation of economic innovation and sharing new economic thought. One could practically get lost in the depths of information, interviews, videos, and blogs through-out their website. Here is just a glimpse at what they have to offer with a post from The Institute’s Blog: The Chartbook of Economic Inequality By Tony Atkinson and Salvatore Morelli. “The acute loss of job prospects, especially among the young, the Continue reading The Institute for New Economic Thinking

A Beginner’s Guide to Inflation

Inflation. It’s one of those economic terms that gets thrown around a lot, but perhaps not explained as much as it should be. I’d like to offer an accessible and brief guide to understanding inflation, mostly for intro economics students but also for anyone that may find themselves in a situation where someone tries to tell you that inflation is “bad” or “good”. Inflation is a necessary part of our current and modern economy. It is neither good nor bad, it simply exists, and there are benefits and consequences to relatively higher or lower inflation. The debate on inflation should always Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Inflation

The Importance of Virtual World Economics

How much would you pay for a virtual spaceship? Ten dollars? One hundred dollars? One thousand dollars? Try $10,000. Yes, for a virtual spaceship. With online gaming on the rise, what can we expect to see from games like World of Warcraft, Eve, and Second Life? Well there are big spenders, like the hot shots that own Titans in the massive interstellar reality Eve, which go for $10,000. Then there are people who have quit their day jobs to pursue a full-time career in acquiring and selling virtual items. What you have is a free market consisting of potions, laser Continue reading The Importance of Virtual World Economics