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Twenty bucks, same as in town!

World taxi prices: What a 3-kilometer ride costs in 72 big cities. From Lowest to Highest.
posted by vidur on Nov 3, 2010 - 58 comments

Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States

Winner-Take-All Politics [1,2] (PDF) - "The sources of American economic inequality are largely political – the result of deliberate political decisions to shape markets in ways that benefit the already-privileged at the expense of a more-or-less unaware public." (via bd) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 21, 2010 - 47 comments

Automation Insurance: Robots are taking Middle Class Jobs

Is the rise of automation from computers software and robotics and web-fueled outsourcing leading to a shrinking middle class? MIT Economist David Autor thinks so. Good Magazine speculates on the implications for America's future.
posted by mccarty.tim on Oct 15, 2010 - 69 comments

The rise of the pensionable pop fan.

What is working for the music industry and why the top buyers of pop music albums are now those over 60.
posted by rongorongo on Oct 8, 2010 - 33 comments

The Gentle Art of Poverty

A former magazine writer in his late fifties moves to San Diego and lives on very little money indeed. In the October 1977 issue of The Atlantic, he describes the stratagems behind his thriftiness. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 7, 2010 - 23 comments

In America, everyone thinks of themselves as middle-class.

Americans have no idea how rich the rich are, nor how poor the poor are.
posted by Pope Guilty on Sep 29, 2010 - 237 comments

Krugman and Wells on the economic slump

Paul Krugman and Robin Wells have a long two-part essay in the New York Review of Books on the current economic slump. The Slump Goes On: Why? And The Way Out of the Slump.
Since around June 2009 many indicators have been pointing up: GDP has been rising in all major economies, world industrial production has been rising, and US corporate profits have recovered to pre-crisis levels. Yet unemployment has hardly fallen in either the United States or Europe--which means that the plight of the unemployed, especially in America with its minimal safety net, has grown steadily worse as benefits run out and savings are exhausted. And little relief is in sight: unemployment is still rising in the hardest-hit European economies, US economic growth is clearly slowing, and many economic forecasters expect America's unemployment rate to remain high or even to rise over the course of the next year.
[more inside]
posted by russilwvong on Sep 28, 2010 - 41 comments

75,000 is the magic number

"We infer that beyond about $75,000/y, there is no improvement whatever in any of the three measures of emotional well-being." Two social scientists at Princeton, Angus Deaton and Nobelist Daniel Kahneman, have a new paper in PNAS about money and the determinants of happiness. Increased income above $75,000 is not associated with higher subjective happiness, though it is associated with superior scores on measures of overall life satisfaction. Other tidbits: "Religion has a substantial influence on improving positive affect and reducing reports of stress, but no effect on reducing sadness or worry... The presence of children at home is associated with significant increases in stress, sadness, and worry."
posted by escabeche on Sep 8, 2010 - 49 comments

The President's Economic Team

A detailed exposition of the roles of the White House economic team. This isn't a discussion of Obama's team per se, but rather an explanation of the mechanics and relationships of the various economic advisers to the President.
posted by OmieWise on Aug 27, 2010 - 4 comments

He's not Haggard, though the economy is

Do you feel overwhelmed trying to understand the driving forces behind our economic collapse. When listening to the latest Planet Money podcast, do you find yourself yearning for something a bit more toe-tappin'? Meet Merle Hazard. "He is the first and only country singer to write about mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and physics."
posted by mkultra on Aug 24, 2010 - 8 comments

Futurama, baby

Goodwill: Monetary policy for the 21st century
Here's my proposal. We should try to arrange things so that the marginal unit of CPI is purchased with "helicopter drop" money. That is, rather than trying to fine-tune wages, asset prices, or credit, central banks should be in the business of fine tuning a rate of transfers from the bank to the public. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 19, 2010 - 20 comments

"This is just the beginning."

China is now the world's second-largest economy.
posted by knave on Aug 16, 2010 - 70 comments

Plutonomy

Some say the USA is a Plutonomy-an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. In a further sign, the top 5% of Americans by income now account for 37% of all consumer outlays (the bottom 80% by contrast share about the same). Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product. In a possibly worrisome sign, the wealthy are cutting back on spending.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 6, 2010 - 83 comments

What is the value of a pelican?

What is the value of a pelican? - The Planet Money crew investigates how we can estimate the value of a pelican killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (podcast)
posted by Argyle on Aug 6, 2010 - 25 comments

Law, economics, and Facebook

"The meteoric rise of Facebook raises four general questions . . . How is it possible for a teenager, however brilliant, to create a multibillion-dollar online business in such a short time? How likely is such a business to flame out? What, if any, legal protection from competition should be given to the ideas that power these businesses? And how far will social networking erode privacy or have other social consequences, good or bad?" Richard Posner (the federal judge and University of Chicago law professor best known as one of the pioneers of the "law and economics" movement [Wikipedia]) answers these questions in his brief history and critique of Facebook. (This is a printer-friendly version that may cause a print dialogue box to pop up, but it's the only link that will work unless you subscribe to The New Republic. The article is nominally a book review but spends barely any time talking about the book that's supposed to be reviewed.)
posted by Jaltcoh on Aug 5, 2010 - 41 comments

Lebronenomics

After announcing that Lebron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade would join the Miami Heat in July the team almost immediately sold out their seasons tickets packages while placing another 6,000 on the waiting list. The result? All 30 seasons ticket salespeople were fired on friday becasuse as a staffer put it `They let us go because there was really nothing left to do anymore.'' [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Aug 2, 2010 - 57 comments

One of the more persistent economic fallacies of our day.

The Broken Window Fallacy. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by tybeet on Jul 31, 2010 - 44 comments

Caring with cash

Shared social responsibility - When customers could pay what they wanted in the knowledge that half of that would go to charity, sales and profits went through the roof ... Gneezy describes the combination of charitable donations and paying what you like as 'shared social responsibility', where businesses and customers work together for the public good. (via mr) [also see 1,2,3]
posted by kliuless on Jul 28, 2010 - 19 comments

The Opening of a Conservative Mind

Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans - The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 26, 2010 - 156 comments

""You can't forget there are people listening when you say you are going to do things, and I try not to overpromise."

This past March, former US President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that tariff policies his administration championed in the mid-1990's helped destroy Haiti's rice production and contributed to the impoverished nation's inability to feed itself. But while most of the world has stopped paying attention to Haiti's woes, Mr. Clinton has become the de facto leader of the effort to rebuild it after the catastrophic earthquake this past January. Will his influence be enough? Reports from the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti indicate that the reconstruction progress has been slow. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 21, 2010 - 35 comments

Four Economic Benchmarks We Need Now

With capitalism in crisis, can it be sustained or is it altogether outdated? As Umair Haque asks though, perhaps a better question is: "are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses?" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 13, 2010 - 15 comments

Damn That Lemonade Stand!

"His fiancee smiled and commented, 'Isn't that cute. They have the spirit of giving.' That really set me off, as my regular readers can imagine. 'No!' I exclaimed [...] 'They're giving away their parents' things [...] It's not theirs to give.' I pushed the button to roll down the window and stuck my head out to set them straight. 'You must charge something for the lemonade.'"
posted by WCityMike on Jul 7, 2010 - 124 comments

I hope I get the opportunity to do Jello shots with Paul Krugman!

"Trying to do something he knows he really can't do for no good reason tells you a lot about Peter Van Loan" MeFI's own mightygodking snagged an official accredited journalist title via Torontoist in order to post reports and interviews from the controversial G20 Conference.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 26, 2010 - 12 comments

Doctors, Not Gods

What US Health Care Needs Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board. (via)
posted by kliuless on Jun 21, 2010 - 43 comments

Student Evaluations Get It Wrong When It Comes To Professor Quality

"Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors" by Scott Carrell and James West is the title of an interesting new study in this month's Journal of Political Economy, a leading journal in economics. (For a summary of the paper, see this review. An ungated version, too). The authors are interested in determining the role of "professor quality" in student learning. They do this by exploiting an unusual institutional feature of the Air Force Academy whereby all undergraduates are randomly assigned their professors, and all professors use the same syllabus. The authors also have the professor's student evaluations, as well each student's subsequent performance in the follow-up classes. To keep it simple, they focus only on Calculus I and the follow-up courses in Calculus (which are mandatory), though they note that an earlier study that looked at Chemistry and Physics found similar things. [more inside]
posted by scunning on Jun 12, 2010 - 44 comments

neocolonial OCP-like company towns: changing the rules (in a good way)

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Ending Poverty In the 1990s, Paul Romer revolutionized economics. In the Aughts, he became rich as a software entrepreneur. Now he's trying to help the poorest countries grow rich—by convincing them to establish foreign-run "charter cities" within their borders. Romer's idea is unconventional, even neo-colonial—the best analogy is Britain's historic lease of Hong Kong. And against all odds, he just might make it happen. (via cc) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 10, 2010 - 92 comments

Sometimes, I doubt our commitment to Sparkle Motion

Make Work[1,2,3] or: How I Learned[4,5] to Stop Worrying[6] and Love Deficit Spending[7,8,9] (during a general glut at the zero bound) -- When I was a kid, if I was sitting around the house and complained I didn't have anything to do, my mom would always respond the same way. "I'll find something for you to do," and she would. It was make work, she was finding something for me to do on the spot to cure my unemployment problem... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 8, 2010 - 33 comments

The Earth Mark II

It's been described as one of the most profound scientific initiatives of the 21st century - building an Earth Simulator. Not to figure out icepack melt, calculate global climate patterns, predict earthquakes or determine once and for all 'What do you get when you multiply six by nine'. No, this one's to prevent another kind of meltdown. [more inside]
posted by Hardcore Poser on Jun 7, 2010 - 26 comments

Exploitative Outsourcing?

Outsourcing has been a mainstay of internet marketers and lifestyle designers ever since Tim Ferriss made it popular. But at least one of its biggest proponents is now wondering: is outsourcing exploitative by taking advantage of international economic inequality?
posted by divabat on May 25, 2010 - 60 comments

you are the result of a social experiment; it's the simplest explanation

The experimental method: Testing solutions with randomized trials -- In trying to help explicate the complexity of society Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo is raising the productivity of social policies by increasing our knowledge of what works and doesn't work through repeated social experiments of randomised controlled trials. She has a large surplus labour pool, a veritable industrial reserve army, to worth with. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 19, 2010 - 18 comments

planning a revolution? contribute to greater net good by doing better

Moving beyond GDP for an information-based society - If indeed[1,2] "A 'Quantum Leap' in Governance" is needed[3] then, as part of the solution,[4] we might start looking past GDP[5,6] and perhaps more toward "betterness instead of business, pursue awesomeness instead of innovation — and maximize good, instead of quarterly profits..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 16, 2010 - 29 comments

Hello, Dr. Evil here...

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. In a few hours, I will destroy the Greek economy. Unless, that is, you give me the sum of...one trillion dollars! (SLNYT, but with this much money I can afford to look frumpy)
posted by anigbrowl on May 10, 2010 - 61 comments

The Woman Who Just Might Save the Planet and Our Pocketbooks

What if our economy was not built on competition? Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom talks about her work on cooperation in economics. [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 11, 2010 - 32 comments

Building a Green Economy

Building a Green Economy, Paul Krugman on the economics of Climate change.
posted by afu on Apr 9, 2010 - 10 comments

Eros Kapital

This recent academic article [PDF] by Catherine Hakim presents "a new theory of erotic capital as a fourth personal asset, an important addition to economic, cultural, and social capital," and proposes "a new agenda for sociological (and feminist) research and theory." Here's a stripped-down magazine version. The theory is controversial and thought-provoking, sure, and there are counter-arguments. The Financial Times notes the obvious: If eroticism is indeed a kind of capital, then there is a market in it. Meanwhile, newspapers get yet another reason to print pictures of sexy people. [All links are SFW]
posted by chavenet on Apr 6, 2010 - 45 comments

The price is write

Cory Doctorow gives a talk at Bloomsbury on book pricing in the internet age (47min video)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 2, 2010 - 132 comments

Economics and Physics Envy

"Take a little bad psychology, add a dash of bad philosophy and ethics, and liberal quantities of bad logic, and any economist can prove that the demand curve for a commodity is negatively inclined." MIT economist Andrew Lo and string theorist turned asset manager Mark Mueller on the "physics envy" that plagues economics, and how to stop worrying and love uncertainty.
posted by escabeche on Apr 1, 2010 - 37 comments

Renminbi Appreciation and US Policy

Recently, Paul Krugman has been advocating for US trade protectionism to counter China's apparent undervaluation of renminbi. Peking University Economics professor Yiping Huang disagrees.
posted by jjray on Mar 30, 2010 - 47 comments

WEF Global Risk Report 2010: Risks Interconnection Map

The World Economic Forum's Global Risk Report 2010. Here is the full report (HTML). As reported by the BBC, Wall Street Journal, and Reuters.
posted by WalterMitty on Mar 24, 2010 - 9 comments

Whence Altruism?

A new study suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion in human history, as well as more complex economies. (Via). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2010 - 49 comments

Do less, tax more

A NYTimes columnist just comes out and says it: America's taxes should be higher. The Perils of Pay Less, Get More. [more inside]
posted by The Devil Tesla on Mar 16, 2010 - 218 comments

MTV Hits and Nick Too for $.01

What the cable company pays for the channels you don't watch. A chart of the subscriber fees for basic and digital cable. ESPN laps the field at over $4.00 per subscriber, MTV Hits ("MTV Classic") and Nick Too (west coast Nick) come in at $.01.
posted by pollex on Mar 8, 2010 - 100 comments

Tracking the Knowledge Economy

It has been looked at for many years (link to a 2003 PDF revised edition of a 1983 report). Inspiring reports trying to predict where this was heading, the knowledge economy is incredibly difficult to get a grip on, mainly because its products are intangible. [more inside]
posted by JoeXIII007 on Mar 6, 2010 - 8 comments

Be it resolved that financial 'innovation' does not boost economic growth

Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2010 - 34 comments

Wall Street's Bailout Hustle

"The reality is that the post-bailout era in which Goldman [Sachs] thrived has turned out to be a chaotic frenzy of high-stakes con-artistry, with taxpayers and clients bilked out of billions using a dizzying array of old-school hustles that, but for their ponderous complexity, would have fit well in slick grifter movies like The Sting and Matchstick Men. There's even a term in con-man lingo for what some of the banks are doing right now, with all their cosmetic gestures of scaling back bonuses and giving to charities. In the grifter world, calming down a mark so he doesn't call the cops is known as the "Cool Off.""
posted by Pope Guilty on Feb 22, 2010 - 50 comments

funemployment

How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America
The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come. (via rw)
posted by kliuless on Feb 11, 2010 - 84 comments

Roughly 1 in 4 Americans is employed to keep fellow citizens in line and protect private wealth

“Being willing to sit in a boring classroom for 12 years, and then sign up for four more years and then sign up for three or more years after that—well, that’s a pretty good measure of your willingness to essentially do what you’re told,” - The Santa Fe Reporter talks to Economist Samuel Bowles about New Mexico's income gap, welfare, social mobility, and a radical way to help. (Via)
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2010 - 47 comments

The Dynamite Prize in Economics

As a reaction towards the financial crisis the Real-World Economics Review will award the Dynamite Prize in Economics to the three economists who contributed most to blowing up the global economy. The Real-World Economic Review is the central organ of the movement for Post-Autistic Economics which is critical about the current mainstream in economics — in particular microeconomics and neoclassical theorists. [more inside]
posted by jfricke on Feb 4, 2010 - 52 comments

Hundred-to-won

Last December, the government of North Korea unexpectedly revalued its internal currency, the North Korean won, at a rate of 100-to-1 and capped the amounts that residents could exchange old currency at 300,000 won (approx. $90 U.S. on the black market). This effectively wiped out many peoples' savings and killed the nascent market economy that had begun to emerge after a series of economic reforms starting in July, 2002. Professor Rüdiger Frank of the University of Vienna argues that while it represents a temporary victory for the North Korean government, this move may ultimately lead to the end of North Korean socialism. [Recently here]
posted by albrecht on Feb 3, 2010 - 23 comments

American declinism

The End of Influence - the latest in a long series documenting the US' relative decline (esp wrt China 1 2 3 4 5) Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen reflect on what has brought us to our past, but now fast-fading glory: "Roosevelt's strategy [entering WW2] was to make Britain broke before American taxpayers' money was committed in any way to the fight against Hitler." Before delving into our present predicament, however, it might also be useful to briefly consider some of the lessons from Bretton Woods and what the wealth of nations is really built upon.
posted by kliuless on Jan 31, 2010 - 39 comments

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