The Ukrainian Economy: Stuck in the Middle

On March 1st, the Ukrainian Parliament called on the U.N. security council for an emergency meeting regarding the military actions of Russian troops in Ukraine. President Obama has threatened to place trade sanctions on Russia if the militia are not removed and Putin insists that this force is a response to provocations from Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry has promised a billion dollar aid loan to the Ukrainian government. Details are pouring out daily as the event unfolds and all eyes are on Ukraine and Russia. (For those of you who may be confused, check out this link.) Ukraine may have Continue reading The Ukrainian Economy: Stuck in the Middle

The Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed pipeline construction project that would funnel crude tar sand oil from Alberta Canada to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. As this is a construction project that is both international and revolves around environmental issues, many interested groups are involved. Environmental activists argue against the project, saying that the construction is contradictory to progressive environmental standards. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and corporation TransCanada would see the pipeline put in tomorrow and say that construction will create jobs for and attract investment to the US. Ultimately, the decision is up to Continue reading The Keystone XL Pipeline

15$ Minimum Wage.. It’s Happening Right Now

We’ve all heard the hullabaloo about potentially raising the minimum wage in Seattle. Well as of January 1st, Proposition 1 went into effect in the City of Seatac, which endorsed a 15$ minimum wage and paid sick leave. Additionally, employers must promote part-time workers to full time before hiring more employees and retain employees for at least 90 days after a change in ownership. So why haven’t more people heard about it? Where are all the dramatic and radical effects that were predicted? A recent article from the Seattle times states that Prop 1 “has not created a large chain reaction of lost Continue reading 15$ Minimum Wage.. It’s Happening Right Now

Opportunity or a Trap? The Economic Impact of Scottish Independence

The contention between Scotland and England is a historical issue and there have been calls for Scottish Independence for hundreds of years. In the past these views have been dismissed, but under Scottish Prime Minister Alex Salmond, Independence has taken a new seat in the headlines. While there are surely deep national and politic issues surrounding this topic, what would succession mean economically? Independence for Scotland would offer a buffet of options that were not available say 60, or even 20 years ago. Unexhausted rich oil reserves along the Scottish coast are a hot topic when talking about potential Scottish Continue reading Opportunity or a Trap? The Economic Impact of Scottish Independence

The Economics of Spite

What are the motives behind spite? Why are individuals willing to take on large costs in order to exact “revenge” on other? Is spite unique to humans? In an episode of the Freakonomics radio show called Spite Happens, an economics approach is used to explain spite and takes a look at the trade-offs behind the spite mentality. Warning! The beginning of this show contains a graphic example that includes sexual violence. If you’d wish to skip this, jump to 4:12. Imagine an experiment where individuals sit down in front of computers and are randomly paired up with another player. The players do not know each other Continue reading The Economics of Spite