College: At What Cost?

On March 5th, 50 people were prosecuted for paying extravagant bribes so their children can get into well know, elite colleges. The most famous of these 50 include Mossimo Giannulli, his wife Lori Loughlin who is Aunt Becky in “Full House,” and Felicity Huffman. There were two ways that these bribes worked. The first would be to improve their child’s SAT or ACT scores and the other would be to manipulate the requirements the children had to meet to get into specific schools. William Singer organized this fraud as the CEO of a college prep business called The Edge College Continue reading College: At What Cost?

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

GDP is a Bad Indicator

GDP,  we hear about it all the time, and whatever it is makes nations cry when it (technically, real GDP growth) decreases and celebrate when it chugs along at 3%. But what the heck is it really indicating? And is it even good at its job?? In short, GDP is a measure accumulating all of a nation’s production to indicate the nation’s wealth, and, also in short, it’s not that accurate or helpful. See GDP was developed during the great depression to help take stock of what was actually going on in the American economy – so that people could Continue reading GDP is a Bad Indicator

What is Capitalism Really, and Why Do People Hate it So Much?

Why do people hate capitalism so much? What’s wrong with the freedom to exchange private goods and services without major intervention by the government? What are people really saying when they denounce capitalism? First, a definition: Capitalism: an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Synonyms include free enterprise and the free market.  I take two issues with the “fuck capitalism” attitude. 1. People don’t seem to know what socialism is (but love it anyway). 2. They’re confusing capitalism for income inequality and/or commercialism. Capitalism is Continue reading What is Capitalism Really, and Why Do People Hate it So Much?

Income Inequality: Two Perspectives

[This post was written for Sound Economics by Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski] Here are two videos demonstrating opposing views on what continues to be a hot button economic topic: income inequality. The first video is a Ted Talk describing the problems caused by income inequality. The second is an interview where Richard Epstein attempts to dispel the belief that inequality is bad. What do you think?

What Percent are You In, and Will it Make You Happier

Would you rather make $100,000 a year or $200,000 a year? You probably think that’s a dumb question, and in its current form, it is. Of course you would rather take home twice the money. You can make the argument that you’d have to work more, or work in a field you don’t like, but for this case, we’re assuming that for the same job, if you could either make 100,000 or 200,000 dollars, you’d pick 200,000. However, the answer may actually change based on what your peers make. Researchers have found people are happier based on their relative wealth Continue reading What Percent are You In, and Will it Make You Happier

Your Neighbor Winning the Lottery Might Send You into Bankruptcy

Most of us are familiar with the idea that winning the lottery can sometimes backfire: having so much money at once might not allow you to learn how to spend, friends and family can wear you down, the list goes on – but what about how it affects your neighbors? The Federal Reserve of Bank recently released a working paper showing how income inequality can cause financial distress, specifically if it’s caused by exogenous shocks (like winning the lottery). Researchers saw an increase in bankruptcy filings when someone in a neighborhood won a lottery (2.4% to be exact). Homes and cars Continue reading Your Neighbor Winning the Lottery Might Send You into Bankruptcy

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?

Washington is Actually the most Unfair Tax State

Over the summer I worked as a cashier at a tourist shop in Seattle. That means hardly any customers were from Washington, and that means hardly anyone expected our whopping sales tax. “Oh yes, taxes,” an elder German would sigh, not used to having it left out of the price tag. A Coloradan would demand to know why it was so high – Denver has a sales tax of 3.65% compared to Seattle’s 9.5%. A Montanan would laugh and flash their ID. Any resident from the five states without sales tax – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon – Continue reading Washington is Actually the most Unfair Tax State

Fitness Apartheid? A moral look at price discrimination

Fitness Apartheid. That’s right, apartheid. That’s one way the housing market in New York City has been described recently by a tenant. An inflammatory word? Absolutely. Comparing exclusive fitness centers to an entire history of racially based and politically enforced segregation is entirely inappropriate and I don’t support it in the least. However, the housing market in New York is a battle ground and the actions that landlords are taking have become downright offensive. This episode of Freakonomics explores the idea of price discrimination through first class airplane seats, “the poor door”, and yes, an exclusive fitness center. To listen to the episode, Continue reading Fitness Apartheid? A moral look at price discrimination