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Nigerian Bailout Satire

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

The following letter has been floating around the web. If you have ever received an email from a Nigerian scammer (i.e. if you’ve had email for more than a month) it’s quite funny. Dear American: I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude. […]

Assorted Bailout Thoughts

Friday, September 26th, 2008

I’m not a Macroeconomist. And, I’m conflicted about the Paulson plan. But, given the recent unprecedented events, I figure I should chime in. A few thoughts: I had a Macroeconomics test today. In our models we assume No Ponzi Schemes. Representative agents aren’t allowed to pay off their debts by borrowing more, and more and […]

A New Take on Bottled Water

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Bottled water is immensely popular in the United States. And, while bottle labels display gurgling springs and mountain glaciers, most bottle water comes straight from municipal water sources. The two most popular brands of bottled water, Dasani and Aquafina, (owned by Coke and Pepsi respectively) both get their water right from the tap. Sure, they […]

A Terrible Idea

Friday, September 19th, 2008

The SEC bans the short-selling of financial stocks. This is a sad day. Fear and politics triumph over individual freedom and sound policy. Arnold Kling offers a primer on short-selling and why stock prices can fall even if no one is “shorting.” Tyler Cowen notes that investors are still able to short the exchange traded […]

Agricultural Inconsistencies: Senegal

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

It seems like just the other day that Bono was vilifying developed countries for flooding the world markets with cheap food.  Consider this excerpt from a news article leading up to the 2006 G8 summit: In Senegal, a resilient showcase of democracy in a continent otherwise pervaded by corrupt dictatorships and brutal wars, producers of […]

Rational Gus Guzzling

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

It infuriates me when Congress calls on the CEO’s of oil companies to justify their profits. Economists routinely study gasoline prices and find no evidence of price manipulation. Washington State recently commissioned a report on gas prices (HT Knowledge Problem: The report, written by University of Washington economist and petroleum expert Keith Leffler, didn’t find […]

Markets in Everything: Substitute Grandchildren

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

A Japanese toymaker designed dolls for the elderly: As Japan produces fewer children and more retirees, toymakers are designing new dolls designed not for the young but for the lonely elderly – companions which can sleep next to them and offer caring words they may never hear otherwise. Talking toys have become such a hit […]

Social Capital, Entrepreneurship and CB Radios?

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

I’m in a group in my economics department that discusses microeconomics literature and research ideas. During our last meeting we discussed “Does Social Capital Promote Industrialization? Evidence From a Rapid Industrialization” by Edward Miguel, Paul Gertler and David Levine. This 2005 paper used evidence from Indonesia to dispute an earlier conclusion by Putnam (1993) that […]

Firefighting and Immigration?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

I’ve been reading up on the economics of fighting wildfires in the West. As an undergraduate, I had a few friends who fought wildfires during the summer. Most of them worked for the U.S. Forest Service, but one was employed by a private company which received government contracts. The use of private contractors has become […]

Are Payday Loans Repugnant?

Monday, February 18th, 2008

I didn’t get my first credit card until I was 22 years old. Up until that point, I had no need for one. I had adequate savings and paid for most of my expenses with scholarship money and part-time jobs. However, when my savings dwindled I wanted some credit in case of emergency. It was […]

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