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College Pricing

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Ever wondered why college sticker prices are so high?  I have.  Part of the explanation is that universities price discriminate and the most palatable way to do so is to charge a high price and offer discounts based on ability and income.  But how do universities choose the price that they do?  When I was […]

Rent vs. Buy

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

I have two friends in the graduate program who were on the market this year and accepted jobs.  Both have been house hunting.  One has already purchased a home.  The other intends to soon.  Home ownership is something I’m looking forward to.  I’d love to have a library, a fireplace, and maybe even a secret […]

Status Credit Cards

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

In high school, credit cards were alluring.  They were a symbol of freedom and adulthood. I couldn’t register a domain name or rent a hotel room without one.  So, I convinced my parents to cosign the papers I needed to get a debit/credit card at my local credit union. The credit part of the card […]

Paradox of Choice

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

A friend of mine, an aspiring ecologist with a blog of his own, sent me a link to Barry Schwartz’s 2005 TED talk on the paradox of choice.  Schwartz, a psychologist, has written a book with the same title that I have not read.  The video is entertaining and thought-provoking. Schwartz argues that too much […]

Secret Menus

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

As happy as I am with the buzz generated by my last post, I feel the need to update so new visitors are greeted with something a little more upbeat.  A post about fast food and cable television (the keys to a good life) seemed to fit the bill. Tyler Cowen recently blogged about secret […]

Hot Dog Pricing Paradox

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Over Labor Day weekend I visited Chicago and spent Sunday afternoon watching Boston pummel the White Sox.  Walking into the ballpark I had noticed a stand selling premium Chicago-style hot dogs with all of the fixings.  While I was tempted, the ballpark level prices dissuaded me.  Fortunately, on this particular day the ballpark was running […]

Lessons from My Laundromat

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

In the current hard economic times, most businesses have been lowering their prices.  Burger King reduced the price of their daily specials from $4.50 to $3.99.  Car companies are offering to forgive your monthly payments if you lose your job.  Frito Lay is putting more chips in their bags for free.  However, I’ve also noticed […]

Has the Internet Made Advertising Obsolete?

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Eric Clemons over at Tech Crunch argues so in this thought-provoking article.  His points are: Consumers do not trust advertising. (References Dan Ariely of Predictably Irrational) Consumers do not want to view advertising Consumers do not need advertising The crux of his argument is that the internet has made information so widely available that advertising […]

Sunk Costs: Literally

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

When the cost of maintaining a boat exceeds it’s value, owners abandon them. From Unlike cars, wooden and fiberglass boats have virtually no scrap value. So rather than pay the high cost of hauling their boats to the dump, people ditch them or sell them for as little as $1 to anyone who will […]

My Visa Credit Line Just Increased

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

By 25%. I wouldn’t know we were in a “credit crunch” if I wasn’t reading the news. About 3 weeks ago Alex Tabarrok wrote a post pointing to evidence that consumer, industrial, and real estate loans are at all time highs. While these numbers don’t include the latest data, housing prices have been sliding for […]

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