Physics and Economics

As a student at a liberal arts university, I have developed into a huge proponent of multidisciplinary learning. It’s the way in which we can truly solve problems in the real world, as well as keep our minds open. Although I’ve only been a college student for two years, I’ve had the opportunity to take many classes that I wouldn’t have expected to take at a more degree-oriented university, with topics ranging from ancient philosophy to banking, and pretty much everything in between. One subject that I’ve somehow managed to avoid my entire life is physics. In high school, I Continue reading Physics and Economics

A New Trend in Emissions and Economic Progress

Two weeks ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that in 2014, there was a decoupling of economic growth and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. As the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 3%, global emissions totaled to 32.3 billion tons, which was the same amount emitted in 2013. There were many reasons for this paramount shift, but to sum things up, many countries in different stages of development are finding considerable and effective methods in curbing their carbon emissions on both a household and industrial level. This is the first time in 40 years that a halt in global CO2 emissions wasn’t tied to a huge Continue reading A New Trend in Emissions and Economic Progress

Ghosts of Economic Activity’s Past

  Over spring break, I drove to Utah with a group of friends to camp in a couple of the incredible national parks that the state has to offer. The drive consisted of a little over 1,000 miles and traveling through the depths of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and finally, Utah. On the rare occasion that our route deviated from the major highways, I noticed a few disheveled clumps of chipped-painted buildings and houses that looked like nobody had gone inside of them in years. I quickly realized these ill-fated areas were ghost towns. Simply put, ghost towns are abandoned cities that contain Continue reading Ghosts of Economic Activity’s Past

The Economics of Buzzfeed

It seems like one can’t go anywhere on the internet without being exposed to some sort of obnoxiously catchy title that is practically begging to be clicked on. Whether it’s a slideshow of before-and-after weight loss pictures that will “blow your mind,” or an article talking about an obsolete cultural phenomenon that “only 90s kids will understand,” these links have permeated nearly every social media site and search engine. These attention-seeking articles are known as linkbait. Linkbait (also known as clickbait, although some people argue that they are different), is a type of digital advertising technique that showcases a story with a provocative Continue reading The Economics of Buzzfeed

Mitumba and Perfect Competition

Anybody who has taken an economics course is familiar with the term “Perfect Competition.” It is a market structure in which there are many buyers and sellers, there is free entry and exit into the industry, firms sell an identical product, buyers have perfect information about the product being sold, and most importantly, firms are price takers, meaning that firms cannot control the market price of their product because of their equally small market share. Anybody who has taken an economics course also knows that perfectly competitive markets are virtually hypothetical and are basically just a benchmark to compare real-world Continue reading Mitumba and Perfect Competition

The Market of Reusing

Recently, I was talking to my mom on the phone, and she mentioned that my family was considering selling our suburban house and moving closer to the city. She then added that they weren’t completely sure if she was going to do it because if they did, our house would almost certainly get torn down. Our house would be nothing special to the housing market, but nevertheless, every part of my house has an intrinsic value that can’t be measured based on merely market values. So many aspects of my childhood would end up as waste: the walls of my room that were painted over countless times in order to find the perfect color, Continue reading The Market of Reusing

Not All Energy Efficiency is Created Equally

We are constantly bombarded with advertisements of goods that market their innovations in efficiency. Whether it is a car with a higher MPG, or a washing machine that uses less water per load, companies are quickly realizing that environmental efficiency is a huge appeal to a broad range of consumers. Although energy efficiency with everyday goods is a step in the right direction, not all energy efficiency should be treated equally. In fact, some cases of energy efficiency might end up being more harmful in the long run. Although this may seem counterintuitive, it can be explained with Jevons Paradox. Continue reading Not All Energy Efficiency is Created Equally

Analysis of Obama’s Free Community College Proposal

It’s safe to say that almost everyone agrees that the price of higher education in the United States is far too high. Although 44% of college students opt to attend a more affordable community college, tuition prices have been steadily increasing over the years due to a lack of state funding. In fact, according to College Board, the price of going to community college for two years has increased by 250% in the past 30 years. As you can see in the chart below, there is a primarily negative correlation between changes in education spending and changes in tuition costs: Continue reading Analysis of Obama’s Free Community College Proposal

Increasing Potential of Perfect Price Discrimination

In most microeconomics textbooks, perfect price discrimination is seen as more of a theory than an actual business method used by firms. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, perfect price discrimination, also called first degree price discrimination, is a form of nonuniform pricing in which a firm with market power sells each unit at each consumer’s maximum willingness to pay. The obvious issue with actually administering perfect price discrimination is that it is either impossible or financially infeasible for a company to acquire perfect information about each consumer, so they are unable to set a reserve price for each potential Continue reading Increasing Potential of Perfect Price Discrimination

Coffee and Fair Trade

Hello, my name is Miranda Kraus, and I’m a coffee-holic. Ever since I thought it would be “cool” and “adult-like” to start drinking coffee my freshman year of high school, I’ve developed a physical and psychological need to drink at least a cup every day. Frighteningly, I’m not in the minority. The National Coffee Association reported that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. The United States alone buys more than 22% of world coffee imports, which shows an interesting wealth polarity between the consumers and producers of coffee. Coffee is the second most valuable Continue reading Coffee and Fair Trade