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Archive for December, 2007

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Recycling Christmas Trees: A Family Tradition

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Many cities host Christmas tree drop-off sites where used trees are picked up by city officials and mulched up to be used for compost and landscaping. Most trees are dropped off after Christmas. However, a few families leaving town early for the holidays drop off their tree early. My family banks on recovering such a […]

Thoughts from New Orleans

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

I’m done with my first semester of graduate school and am spending the day in New Orleans before driving with my brother back to Idaho. We visited Bourbon Street last night. What a place. Drinking in public is allowed (no glass containers though), and it was really interesting to see the disparity in prices between […]

Finals and Ice Storms

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

are keeping me occupied.  I should be back to posting in a few days.

The Opportunity Cost of a Trip to Yellowstone…

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Is all the Wii you could have played if you stayed home. In a 2006 paper, Oliver Pergams and Patricia Zaradic come to the conclusion that the increase in electronic media is responsible for the decline in national park attendance since 1988. That national park attendance was on the decline was news to me. Growing […]

Markets in Everything: “Mafia” Clubs

Friday, December 7th, 2007

The game that involves 10 to 20 players role-playing townspeople and members of the mafia is phenomenally popular in China. The game is based on deceit and deception. A few players are secretly designated as the mafia and attempt to kill off the other players (townspeople) before they themselves are discovered and executed. If you’re […]

Hometown Unemployment

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

The unemployment rate in the Idaho Falls/Blackfoot greater area is currently 1.4 percent (as of September). The data is courtesy of, a great site that compiles all sorts of interesting economic data. It is worth checking out. And, if you’re looking to relocate to a small western town with amazing trout fishing, frisbee golf, […]

Causes of the Subprime Fiasco

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

I tutor a Principles of Macroeconomics class and today I helped some students prepare for a final exam question on the causes of the subprime housing meltdown. We discussed how the packaging and sale of securities on Wall Street provided the wrong incentives for banks granting loans. The tendency of appraisers to overvalue homes was […]

Carbon Emissions Fall

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

From the December 3, Wall Street Journal opinion page: The Bush Administration announced last week that U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide fell by 1.8% from 2005 to 2006. Output of all greenhouse gases was down 1.5% last year. All this while the American economy grew by 2.9%. It’s the first time since 1990, when the […]

Chavez Constitution Fails

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Voters rejected the proposed amendments to the constitution 51 to 49 percent.  The new constitution would have eliminated term limits, making it possible for Chavez to rule indefinitely.  The United States is still the single largest buyer of Venezuala’s oil. However, much of the oil is consumed internally. Petróleos de Venezuela, the state oil company, […]

What’s a “spiring” Economist?

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Is the first question I usually get when I show my blog to others.  I tried to make an A out of a mountain by using clouds.  Unfortunately, no one realized it was an A.  I outlined the clouds and the mountain in black to make it more clear.  But, it looks pretty ugly.  I’ll […]

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