The Why Axis: How to get People to Give More

In Chapter Nine of the The Why Axis, Uri Gneezy and John List examined some of the conventional wisdoms about the techniques used in charity fund raising to try to determine if they really work at all, as well as which work better than others. What are the motivations for people to give to charity? How might these motivations be exploited to get people to donate more? The authors noted that in their travels, that most charities rely on the assumptions and conventional wisdoms of the previous decision makers, “rather than verifiable data.” One of the conventional wisdoms John came Continue reading The Why Axis: How to get People to Give More

Thesis Corner: Zander Biro

Alex Shaw (AS): First off, what is your thesis topic? Zander Biro (ZB): My thesis topic is essentially looking at developing social capital while in the institution of higher education and how the role of alcohol can actually be beneficial in lowering relationship costs in order to establish a more broad base social network. AS: I’ve heard there is a bit of a story from how your thesis started to what it ended up being, could you elaborate? ZB: It has definitely been quite the process. Starting in the fall, it started very broad as everyone says it will, and Continue reading Thesis Corner: Zander Biro

The Economics of Our Candidates, Part 2

Welcome to part two of a three part series on our presidential candidates’ stances on economic issues. Take a look at last weeks post on taxation, it’s exciting stuff. There are now fewer candidates, thanks to the Iowa Caucus smashing the hopes and dreams of a few contenders. So goodbye Martin O’Malley, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and, the only person I actually included in last week’s post who’s quitting, Rand Paul. This week I’ll also not look at Ben Carson, because I’d prefer to give more time to fewer candidates. This week, the issue is regulation! An enormous part of Continue reading The Economics of Our Candidates, Part 2

Presidential Candidates: What’s Their Economics?

Welcome to part one of a three part series on our presidential candidates’ stances on economic issues. There are so many candidates, I frankly don’t have room to give them all equal representation. So, NOT included in the series will be candidates with very little vote (consistently under 5%), similar stances as other candidates, and/or very little information on their tax plans. That’s Chris Christie, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and Martin O’Malley. Sorry to disappoint those supporters. This week, the issue is taxation! No presidential candidate can get by without addressing this contentious issue and how Continue reading Presidential Candidates: What’s Their Economics?

Careers (and internships) in Economics

Studying economics can open up countless opportunities for your future – here’s a short video from the American Economic Association showing the many ways how: To aid in this pursuit, Sound Economics hopes to share some job and internship opportunities with you throughout the semester. You can find many opportunities by visiting LoggerJobs (through my.pugetsound) or from visiting Career and Employment Services. This week, you’ll find: Private Wealth Management Summer Analyst at Goldman Sachs: Seattle (ID# 27101) – Oct. 21 deadline! (Open to sophomores and juniors and available in multiple locations.) Several positions at Liberty Mutual Insurance, including an Actuarial Internship (ID#27103) Continue reading Careers (and internships) in Economics

An Outside look In

Authors: Tesha Shalon and Connor Lennon Often times here, on this blog and elsewhere in the discipline, economics can be a little insular. We’re happy to take our models and insights to how our discipline applies elsewhere, but rarely do we bring in other disciplines to provide an opinion back. So we decided to ask non-economics professors and majors to tell us what they thought economics was. We posed a two part question to the group: 1.) What, in your own words, is economics? and 2.) Is economics useful, why or why not? Without further ado, these are their responses: Continue reading An Outside look In

Goodhart’s Law and Standardized Tests

As the debate surrounding American education reform continues, more states are adopting a system of teacher evaluation that relies heavily (up to 50%) on their students’ standardized test scores. Considering the published studies showing correlations between increased test scores and student success in college and later in life, it’s not surprising that the Education Department has been encouraging school districts to adopt this new evaluation system. Eduardo Porter recently wrote an article for the Atlantic about these new education policies, and their potential for failure due to Goodhart’s law. Goodhart’s law was named after British economist Charles Goodhart, and explains how performance statistics Continue reading Goodhart’s Law and Standardized Tests

Snobby Beer

Aside from the actual game itself, this past super-bowl weekend carried with it an interesting development in a non-football related field that is quite close to my heart: beer. Budweiser aired this commercial during the game, to the annoyance of people who apparently like to spend lots of money on beer they don’t drink. Ninkasi, a northwest brewery located in Eugene, immediately shot back with a quite hilarious response video. The point is that for many years now, craft brewers and the big macro brewers like Budweiser and Coors have been increasingly competing for the same market share. While I can Continue reading Snobby Beer

The Science of Decision-Making: Behavioral Economics

Most economic models and theories rely on the assumption that people (consumers, producers, etc.) are rational. The idea of homo economicus, or the “economic human”, represents the perfectly rational and perfectly imaginary individual represented in most of economics. The assumption of rationality keeps models straightforward and results consistent. Rational people buy low and sell high, they always purchase a perfectly balanced bundle of goods that satisfies them completely, and they definitely consider consumer/producer surplus when buying Christmas presents and/or the opportunity costs when buying a house or a car. The economic human is psychologically rational and fundamentally self-interested. However, we Continue reading The Science of Decision-Making: Behavioral Economics