Leafy Luxury: The Market for Rare Houseplants

Almost everyone likes, or at least tolerates, houseplants. Most homes are shared with a plant or two, but in recent years, the practice of cultivating massive populations of indoor plants as a hobby has taken hold in the USA and Europe. There is no one catalyst for this surge, but the consequence is apparent. No more are plants just a means for production of a fruit, or a flower. Rather, in the eyes of their owners, they are unique individuals as well as receptacles for emotional projections. Not only do more and more people want to own a large collection, Continue reading Leafy Luxury: The Market for Rare Houseplants

The Economics of Coffee Shop Art

Credit to “.nate” and the twitter emoji project If you have entered into a non-chain coffee shop in the last decade you have likely encountered an interesting phenomenon: ridiculously over-priced art from unknown artists. These pieces of art from postmodernist takes on the human form, to classical paintings of a bowl of fruit. However, they all share the common characteristics of costing enough to give any reasonable person sticker shock, and being the creation of an artist no one has ever heard of. Now you might suggest that the price of art is simply a way to signal value, and Continue reading The Economics of Coffee Shop Art

Supplying into the Void: The Unusual Characteristics of the Market for Blog Posts

Every day, content is posted all over the internet that receives little to no attention. Every day, another hopeful blogger posts another product review or anecdote or creative endeavor, only to check their blog stats and find no record of visitors. And yet, many bloggers just keep posting. This is not a plea for more readers to come to this blog (although that certainly would not be unwelcome), but a simple statement of fact. The market for blog posts is not in equilibrium; there is a surplus, and it grows larger by the day. How is this possible? Why does Continue reading Supplying into the Void: The Unusual Characteristics of the Market for Blog Posts

SoundCast – Episode 4: Valentine’s Day!

Intro and outro music royalty-free from http://www.bensound.com, it’s great stuff! The economics of Valentine’s Day and other consumerist-holidays are explained, with special guests, sophomore Emily Walker and Professor Andrew Monaco. Hosts are Nicky Smit and Cole Driscoll.

SoundCast – Episode 3: Black Friday

Royalty free music credits go to Bensound (www.bensound.com) for the opener, and “Up on a Housetop” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). Full transcript (with links): NICKY: Hello and welcome to episode number three of Soundcast, the Econ Department’s official Podcast. I’m one of your hosts, Nicky Smit. COLE: And I’m host number two, Cole Driscoll, and have we got a topic for today. You guessed it, Black Friday. NICKY: And Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving and all these other days with big sales. There’s something of interest happening here, Black Friday sales went down. C: And so did in-store sales on Thanksgiving. This Episode Continue reading SoundCast – Episode 3: Black Friday