Sunday, November 27, 2005

Why is econ so hard?

Arnold Kling thinks it has something to do with a split personality, or at least two ways to think about things.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Nothing is safe from economic analysis

Bryan Caplan and Larry Iannaconne recently debated the economics of faith at George Mason University. There is an introduction to the debate here and a some comments and links here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thinking of grad school?

If you are considering grad school in economics, this link and this link will be useful.

Do good times mean bad times, part 2

As an oil exporting nation, Russia should be celebrating now, right? This New York Times article suggests that not everyone is joining the party.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rich guys worry about fairness too, or do they?

The head of Nascar thinks that some owners have too many cars in their stable and that's unfair. NYTimes reporter Andrew Zimbalist suggests there may be other motives
It is nice to see that France, who may soon be leaving the family business, has discovered an interest in competition and fairness. His family, after all, owns Nascar, the Motor Racing Network (the radio network that broadcasts all Nascar races) and Americrown (the catering company that sells food at most Nascar tracks); it also owns a share of Action Performance (the dominant motor car memorabilia company) and owns a controlling interest in the publicly traded International Speedway Corporation.

Read the whole thing. (Hat tip to Rich Hart)

Friday, November 11, 2005

"That's not fair..."

... is the "ubiquitous refrain of six-year-olds and intellectuals" according to this interesting post by Allen Sanderson (University of Chicago) from the Library of Economics and Liberty. In short, it suggests that a lot of people would like "low prices for me, but (given the likely consequences) not for thee". I didn't see anything about social justice in there, but I may not have looked deep enough.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Greenspan inspires

Alan Greenspan not only inspires confidence in the bond market, but also art work and symphonies. (Hat tip to Bill Craighead)

update: more Greenspan art here.

Learning a language can be important

Will trade unions reduce outsourcing? Here is an article that asks this question, but it is about Indian trade unions, not US trade unions. Also, speaking english turns out to be pretty valuable if you live in India

Sanyal’s thesis is interesting. But before we anticipate that change, it is
necessary to address an important differentiator that has already emerged in the
job market today. It is the earning difference between those who are conversant
with the English language and those who aren’t.

Salary differences between equally qualified (non-professional/technical) candidates can be as high as 400 to 500 per cent. In fact, the more fancied jobs in airlines, hotels, media, banks and financial services only to those who know English, the rest are forced into less fancied assignments.

Thanks to the Library of Economics and Liberty for the link.

World competition in beer

What is the relevant size of a market? There are just a few large US beer producers, but is the US the appropriate geographical area to assess competition? Here is a table with a list of major world beer producer.

Do good times mean bad times?

As described in this New York Times article, not when you're a US farmer with a menu of support programs to choose from.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The response to higher gas prices

James Hamilton at econbrowser argues that gas prices are fulfilling their allocative function. When prices spiked in September it appears that the quantity of gas demanded declined and people seemed to have switched toward more fuel efficient cars.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Don't worry, be happy!

Tyler Cowen discusses the economics of happiness. He has tips and links.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Job growth is a bit sluggish

The number of new payroll jobs created in October was lower than expected. I wonder if the FOMC is thinking about its action earlier in the week?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What are oil prices doing?

Lynne Kiesling at the Knowledge Problem disagrees with congressman Bernie Sanders about the role of prices.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The economics of girlcotts...

...or, why I'm glad my kids' school has a dress code. An interesting story about those who prefer not to buy a good, and who also prefer that others not exercise their preferences. Do they have any that say "for rent"?

Reducing distortions?

A bipartisan proposal for tax reform.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fed raises rate

The Federal Open Market Committee announced today that the target federal funds rate will increase by 25 basis points to 4%. It appears that Fed is still in the midst of undoing the expansionary policy it followed from late 2000 to the first few months of 2004.