Minor League Baseball Players are being Neglected

When hundreds of people in a “business” are making below the federal poverty line, then you would think that business would be doing quite poorly. Think again. Major League Baseball (MLB), which has heard the narrative that it is dying due to lack of interest from the younger demographic and the idea that is somewhat of a boring sport, is doing quite well at the moment. According to the Washington Post (WP) article linked first, “baseball has in recent years parlayed renewed popularity into record earnings, leveraging apparel and media demands into $9.5 billion in revenue last year; its 30 franchises averaged $23 Continue reading Minor League Baseball Players are being Neglected

How Much Luck Do You Have?

How does luck play into one’s success? When thinking about successful men and women, the fact that luck could have played a role in the road to success isn’t always brought up. This isn’t to say that successful people haven’t worked hard to get to where they are. But there are some people who possess hard-working qualities and superior knowledge, who do not catch a break. It possible that people “underestimate” the amount of luck that plays into their success and the success of people around them. If we take a look at the success of an athlete like, say Continue reading How Much Luck Do You Have?

Stopping Population Growth: “Get Used to it”

Have you ever thought about how many humans there are on this planet? The simple answer is a lot. But by digging a little further, it is evident that the Earth’s population is continuing to grow at astonishing speeds. The world’s population was recorded by WorldBank.org to be at 3 billion in 1960 and 7.125 billion in 2013. BBC estimates that the population will grow to 10 billion by 2083. Many people have seen this as an obvious problem, but what is to be done? Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institutet and co-founder of Gapminder, Hans Rosling makes the case Continue reading Stopping Population Growth: “Get Used to it”

Economics That Really Matters

A quick note on this Friday regarding a new-ish (and new to me) economics blog: Economics That Really Matters. With posts written by graduate students and young faculty in economics, the blog aims to contribute to the discourse of development economics, encourage debate relevant to poverty reduction and agricultural development, and share thoughts from our research experiences. The most recent article is written by a friend and former colleague of mine (and killer poker player!) Carolina Castilla. She employs field experiments to test outcomes of a trust game to analyze differences in household spending patterns between men and women. The work has Continue reading Economics That Really Matters

Inequality matters… but so do the details.

A lot of public attention has been paid recently to economic inequality, from the Occupy Movement’s “We are the 99%” to more recent debates over hiking the minimum wage. Sometimes lost in this discussion are important questions such as which inequalities matter most and how they vary throughout an individual’s lifetime. Sociologist Mark Rank and a co-author looked beyond the static distribution of income into the mobility of individuals throughout their lives within the income distribution. Their results suggest that income distribution is more complex than the oversimplified picture of “one-percenters,” as if they were a relatively fixed collection of Continue reading Inequality matters… but so do the details.

Food Aid or Food Assistance

The United Nations formed the World Food Program (WFP) in 1961 to allocate foreign food aid to those suffering from famine or other disasters (man-made or natural). The program originally provided aid by sending staple foods directly to the region in need. This use of aid quickly undercuts local markets. And while it does feed people, many are still left malnourished.There is a need to take a closer look. Flooding a region with free commodities can drive local producers out of business and cause more long term damage than short term good. There is not much use in feeding a Continue reading Food Aid or Food Assistance

Poverty, Equitable Taxation, and the Earned Income Tax Credit

Along with his proposal to raise the minimum wage, President Obama is trying to tackle poverty with a broad expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC program essentially gives those earning around and below the federal poverty line ($12,566 a year) a tax credit when they file their taxes. In 2012, it helped lift 6.5 million Americans, including 3.3 million children, out of poverty. President Obama is currently proposing a $60 Billion expansion of the tax credit’s benefits over 10 years. The program’s expansion will in part help to provide greater benefits to childless workers. Currently, the Continue reading Poverty, Equitable Taxation, and the Earned Income Tax Credit

Looking Closer at the US Farm Bill: Food Stamps

    In the most recent US Farm Bill signed by President Obama, Food Stamps are set to be cut $8 billion over the next decade. This comes after a discontinuation of the $5 billion a year increase in funding that was allocated because of increased need during the recession. Also known as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the program provided assistance to 46.8 million Americans in 2013, a full 15.1% of the US population. Supporters of the recent cuts argue that programs like SNAP create a “dependence” on government and reduce incentives to work, while opponents point out that without SNAP, an Continue reading Looking Closer at the US Farm Bill: Food Stamps

Many Mouths to Feed

Those that live in poverty spend differently than those with a higher income. In general, poorer individuals have a higher marginal propensity to consume and spend a majority of their income on food. The ability to afford food provides greater health and well being. Poorer countries often use subsidies to make food prices artificially low, but governments may find that subsidizing food costs for buyers can have significant benefits. Subsidizing food costs can push the supply or demand side of the market. When food subsidies go to farmers supply is pushed out; when they go to consumers, demand shifts out. Continue reading Many Mouths to Feed

More Evidence on the Effects of Raising the Minimum Wage

Following up on Collin’s article “$15 Minimum Wage.. It’s Happening Now”, the CBO has recently released it’s report on the economic impact of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. A New York Times Economix Blog article pulls a few nuggets from the report: -An estimated 16.5 million low-wage workers will see their wages increase as a result of the minimum wage increase. -900,000 people who are currently impoverished will move above the poverty threshold. -Raising the minimum wage will reduce low-wage employment by roughly 500,000. The article even questions the employment loss estimates as being too high, noting that the most precise Continue reading More Evidence on the Effects of Raising the Minimum Wage