Econ of the Anti-Vaxxer

On January 25th of this year, the state of Washington declared a state of emergency because of a measles outbreak.  Following this, and previously to this, vaccinations have been a large part of the local and national conversation. I have to start this post by saying that I am a biased source in the sense that I believe everyone should get vaccinated, but I am going to try to look at this topic from purely an economic standpoint. In order for vaccinations to be effective and prevent an outbreak, the vaccination rate needs to be about 90-95%. Unfortunately, vaccination rates Continue reading Econ of the Anti-Vaxxer

Thesis Corner: Ellen Knowles

Welcome to Thesis Corner with Ellen Knowles! Q: What was your thesis about? For my thesis, I looked at how homeowners are able to apply pressure on local governments to restrict the quantity of housing through zoning. From there, I looked at how this affects the rental prices of multi family units. Q: How did you pick your topic? I heard about this issue while listening to a Planet Money podcast and found it interesting. Q: What were your results? I found that there was a positive correlation between the amount of political pressure homeowners place on local governments and Continue reading Thesis Corner: Ellen Knowles

Every Luxury Must Be Paid For

As Spring Training for the upcoming MLB season continues, some marquee free agents were recently signed to teams looking for future success. Manny Machado signed a 10 year contract for $300 million with the San Diego Padres. At the time of the signing, it was the largest contract ever signed by a free agent in any U.S. sport. However, he did not hold this record for long. Eight days later, another free agent player made history with the new largest free agent contract in U.S. history. Bryce Harper, now with the Philadelphia Phillies, signed for 13 years for $330 million. Major Continue reading Every Luxury Must Be Paid For

Super Low at the Super Bowl

It has now been five days since the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots, led by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, went on to beat the Los Angeles Rams to win their sixth league championship. The game, held in Atlanta, Georgia, was the lowest scoring NFL championship in league history with both teams combining for a total of 16 points. The score was not the only low point at Mercedes Benz Stadium, however. This past season, the ownership of the Atlanta Falcons decided to slash concession prices during home football games. Fans could purchase a beer for $5 and a Continue reading Super Low at the Super Bowl

Thesis Corner: Annie Vela

Alex Shaw (AS): Annie, first, what was your thesis about? Annie Vela (AV):  My thesis was about US government changing allocation of funding from public prisons to public education. AS: How did you arrive at this topic? AV: When Kate (Stirling) asked us to start thinking of a topic over the summer, I started thinking about which of my economics classes I really enjoyed my Urban Economics class with Bruce Mann, which I loved. I’m very interested in how economic policy tangibly affects actual people. So I thought about topics that focused on people, and education is super important to Continue reading Thesis Corner: Annie Vela

Some Miss Out on Minimum Wage

Many states have been following the push to increase the minimum wage, with the hope of increasing the standard of living, and make the minimum wage a “living wage.” Yet many workers are still missing out on wage hikes because they work for tips. Many state minimum wage laws provide some sort of exemption from workers who receive tips. There is a minimum wage, and a “tipping minimum wage,” where the minimum wage for employees whose income partially comes from tips is typically lower than the minimum wage for employees who don’t get tips. In fact, only seven states mandate Continue reading Some Miss Out on Minimum Wage

Is the Discipline of Economics Lacking Diversity?

It’s rather interesting to think about different fields of study and the gender break down within them. For example I took a psychology class here at UPS, in which there were only two men. In contrast I took a computer science class in which I was the only girl out of 23 students. But women are not necessarily misrepresented in the field of economics– look at Janet Yellen, the most powerful economist in the world. But at the same time Elino Ostrom is the only female to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and she herself was a political scientist. Continue reading Is the Discipline of Economics Lacking Diversity?

And the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics goes to…

While most of us were sleeping this morning the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom were awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences “for their contributions to contract theory.” Hart, an English-born economics professor at Harvard, and Holmstrom, a Finnish-born economics and management professor at MIT, received the award for improving the design of contracts. Hart and Holmstrom are two giants in contract theory. Though the first formal treatment of contract theory was given by Kenneth Arrow in the 60’s, the pairs’ work, which began in the 1970’s, helped establish contract theory as Continue reading And the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics goes to…

The Benefits in the Long Run of Investing in On-Site Child Care Outweigh the Costs

As of 2015, America’s workforce was made up of 53.2% men and 46.8% women, and over the past 20 years, this 7-10% gap in genders represented in the workforce has remained fairly consistent. There has been a lot of research done as to why this gap between involvement exists, part of it is due to there being less women in the manual labor, science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, while another aspect is the ever so present gender pay gap. The causation of the gap in gender in the workforce is multi-dimensional though, often the focus of the conversation is set on identifying the Continue reading The Benefits in the Long Run of Investing in On-Site Child Care Outweigh the Costs

The Game Behind North Korea’s Fifth and Largest Nuclear Test

On September 9th, North Korea completed their fifth and largest nuclear test, just fifty miles from the Chinese border. The test was the second this year and a clear example of the increased pace in nuclear trials that Kim Jong Un has been pushing since he inherited power in 2011. The US has attempted to slow this rapidly increasing progression of tests by imposing sanctions and as of July 2016 deploying an advanced missile defense system in South Korea, however, the tests have continued to ensue and now the US is considering placing an embargo on North Korea. According to Continue reading The Game Behind North Korea’s Fifth and Largest Nuclear Test