I write about wealth inequality sometimes, it’s an important issue in the US (at least to me). The distribution of wealth is incredibly skewed. The US’ wealthiest people (400 of them) own more wealth than 61% of the country. I always wondered what would happen if some of them just gave up a bunch of their wealth to those less fortunate, and not in a controlled superficially-philanthropic way, but a massive Ebenezer Scrooge-ish dump of their assets. Mark Zuckerberg almost made my dream come true yesterday when he announced he was giving away 99% of his and his wife’s worth in Facebook stock, Continue reading Mark Zuckerberg’s Really, Really Impure Altruism
This week I interviewed Jared Soares, a UPS Alumni who works not too far away at Earth Economics! When did you graduate from UPS? May 2014. Can you tell me about your work at Earth Economics? (What do you do? How did you end up there? Do you have an idea of where you want to go within/outside of Earth Economics?) I am a research assistant. My primary job is to assist project leads and analysts. This can be anything from compiling data for reports to travelling to events to present information for private and public decision makers. I also Continue reading Interview with Jared Soares from Earth Economics!
Unfortunately I’m not talking about it being too hot to work on your thesis, or to do a problem set – I’m referring to economic productivity. Not only is climate change destroying our atmosphere, making our seasons more harsh and/or unpredictable, and killing polar bears – but its also impacting our economic productivity. A study recently published in Nature claims that “growing evidence demonstrates that climactic conditions can have a profound impact on the functioning of modern human societies”. Now this is what I call environmental economics (or ecological economics, I guess). The main conclusion of the study (called Global non-linear effect of temperature Continue reading Warmer Temperatures are Impacting Our Productivity
This week I interviewed UPS Alumni Carl Larson, who currently works in energy services at Solar City! When did you graduate from UPS? May 2009. Can you tell me about your work at SolarCity? (What do you do? How did you end up there? Do you have an idea of where you want to go within/outside of SolarCity?) My work at SolarCity definitely builds on what I studied in Econ at UPS, which is great. SolarCity is the nation’s leader for rooftop solar energy, we’re sister companies with Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and majority-owned by Elon Musk. I’m in sales at SolarCity, even though I’m never Continue reading Interview with UPS Alumni Carl Larson!
Uber might be convenient, and it’s growth is promising – but it’s been hailed as a bad sign for taxi cabs, especially the massive taxi market in NYC. I used Uber in Boston on the regular, and there’s both a strong taxi cab and Uber presence there – but it doesn’t come close to NYC in regards to reliance on taxi cabs. There’s been tensions and debates this past year regarding Uber and taxis in the Big Apple this year, as they share the same (very small and highly profitable) space. About a year ago, taxi medallions (which allow taxi drivers or companies Continue reading Uber vs. taxis in New York City
This week I interviewed Tom Merritt, a 2014 UPS economics graduate. I asked him a few questions about his experiences with economics, UPS and graduate school. When did you graduate from UPS and where did you go for grad school? I graduated from UPS in 2014 and then went straight into the Economics MA program at Cal State-East Bay. Can you tell me a little bit about the PhD application process? Are you looking to stay at the same university or are you looking at others (if that’s how it works)? Do you have a focus in mind? I’m looking at Continue reading Interview with Thomas Merritt – UPS Alum and PhD Candidate!
This is the first installment of our Friday interview series! Every Friday a Sound Economics contributor will conduct an interview with a current student (or alumni). Some economics students spent the summer conducting research, studying abroad, or doing an internship. This is a chance to hear more about their experiences. Since we’re still organizing interviews, I’ll start with my own internship. I interned at a small company (Karson Management) in Boston over the summer – it offered financial services to a wide variety of companies. Initially I thought they offered some sort of financial consulting (i.e. risk management). This was true, but the firm did much more Continue reading Friday Interviews (name pending)!
77% of voters approved San Francisco’s Prop J last year – and on May 1st the San Francisco minimum wage increased to $12.25. This is the first minimum wage hike of many, as Prop J will raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 by 2018. Although raising the minimum wage seems like the socially optimal option, especially in a city with such a high cost of living, is it feasible for the smaller establishments and local shops that many San Franciscans know and love? Brian Hibbs is the owner of Comix Experience, a comic book store he has run for Continue reading Prop J and San Francisco’s Minimum Wage Hike
As-needed scheduling and hours for workers is becoming more popular with many businesses. Employers may give workers tentative shifts, but then contact them right before telling them they are no longer needed for said shift – if needs are already met. This “just-in-time” scheduling is being picked up by restaurants and retailers to keep from paying for more employees than needed and minimize their other costs. It makes sense initially: through this system employers won’t have to pay unneeded employees to sit around. However, Robert Reich of Guernica argues that this flexible kind of scheduling is not allowing workers to live their lives. The Continue reading “Flexible Hours” are Benefiting Employers and Hurting Employees
Welfare benefits are a point of contention for lawmakers and consumers alike. Some states have been mulling over changing their welfare policies, most of which are aimed at controlling what the poor spend their food stamps and welfare checks on. Some politicians are worried that the poor take government money and spend it on non-essentials (concerns include welfare checks being spent at strip clubs and food stamps being used for filet mignon – I’m not kidding). To help put those fears to rest, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently updated their consumer expenditure survey. The consumer expenditure survey shows how much individuals from Continue reading How do the poor and rich spend their money?