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Econ201 Posts

From Big Think Chief Economist Daniel Altman: the economic knowledge you need to navigate a volatile world.

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Econ201

How to Predict the World Cup

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about 1 month ago

With the World Cup in Brazil only a day away, the predictions are pouring in from gamblers, analysts, and even investment banks. All of them are trying to guess who will advance in the tournament, as well as who will win it all. But which model is best? It’s a question that can’t be answered in ...

Econ201

When the Perfect Really Is the Enemy of the Good

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3 months ago

Very few aspects of our lives are completely meritocratic. As much as we might like it to be the case, we usually aren’t evaluated solely on our talents and effort. Something that has nothing to do with us will almost always affect our success – and that should change how we try to attain it. To ...

Econ201

Will Our Kids Be Better Off Than We Are?

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6 months ago

One of the bedrock principles of the American economy is that each generation should be better off than the one before. In terms of material living standards, the nation has done a pretty good job of fulfilling this promise. But the ability to consume goods and services may not be what matters most ...

Econ201

The Manufacturing Myth

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7 months ago

Hardly a month goes by without me hearing people bemoan the decline of American manufacturing. I find their laments hard to understand, as do other economists. Why is a manufacturing job superior to a job in any other sector? It’s true that American manufacturing employment has fallen steadily ...

Econ201

How Much Is a Life Worth?

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8 months ago

I’m a supporter of foreign aid for health, because I believe in helping the less fortunate, but also because I think it’s a great investment for the United States. As I wrote in my book with Philippe Douste-Blazy, saving lives in poor countries is cheap, but incomes in poor countries are rising ...

Econ201

How Are Jobs Connected to Economic Growth?

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8 months ago

A few days ago I got into a Twitter discussion with The Guardian’s United States finance and economics editor, Heidi Moore, about inequality and growth. My main point was that inequality hurt growth by preventing the economy from allocating opportunities to the people best able to exploit them ...

Econ201

The Sixteen Days of Shutdown Song

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10 months ago

Sixteen days - that's how long the government shutdown lasted, at a total cost to the American economy that may reach $24 billion. About one fifth of that amount would have come to the Treasury as tax revenue, so the government itself may have lost $300 million for every day that Congress ...

Econ201

When the Odds Are News

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10 months ago

This morning a story broke reporting that Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary former boss of the Manchester United soccer team, was quickly becoming a favorite to be the next coach of Ireland’s national squad. It’s certainly possible that some gamblers got a tip and poured a ton of money onto ...

Econ201

The Perils of Restaurant Week

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12 months ago

Here in New York City, diners are lining up for the semi-annual ritual of Restaurant Week – it’s really almost a month – when some of the city’s finest establishments offer cut-rate meals. But if they thought about the economics of the event, they might prefer to stay away. Consider an ...

Econ201

What to do With an Old Pair of Shoes?

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about 1 year ago

Today I went into my closet and realized that I had an old pair of shoes that I no longer wore. The shoes are still pretty serviceable, so I’ve been wondering what I should do with them. To an economist, this question does not have an easy answer. Here are my options: Throw them away. By ...

Econ201

Snowden’s Endgame

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about 1 year ago

Another day goes by, and leaker Edward Snowden is still – so we hear – in the transit area of a Moscow airport. Russia hasn’t offered him asylum yet, and he can’t easily get to the countries that have. A little bit of game theory suggests how his odyssey might end. Game theory was a popular ...

Econ201

Turn That Bubble Into Bricks!

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about 1 year ago

This week the New York Times published a story about Chinese investors snapping up property in the United States. Prices are rising here, but I don’t think these purchases are just speculation. Instead, the stateside spending spree is probably the latest manifestation of a well-known phenomenon ...

Econ201

The Value of a Complaint

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about 1 year ago

I’m writing this blog post from tens of thousands of feet above the midwestern United States, on an airline that I won’t name here. The flight got off to a rocky start, and before we left the airport I had lodged a complaint with the airline via Twitter and its website. Should I be rewarded ...

Econ201

The Failure Fetish

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about 1 year ago

Failing is cool. Failing is great. Failing is the best thing you can do. A fetish for failure has been sweeping the blogosphere, the Twitterverse, and the broader market for ideas for a couple of years now. It’s ridiculous, and here’s why. Thought leaders, social innovators, and TED talkers ...