Behavioral Economics

The intersection of psychology and economics, behavioral economics looks at human tendencies that involve biology and culture when predicting and explaining economic decision-making.

Geography Matters

According to Harvard economist Ed Glaeser, big US cities deserve our attention. Rather like a ripple, first, as ports, they attracted commerce. Commerce led to more affluence. The affluence brought more people. The people wanted better education. Better education generated…

Restaurant Economics

For a new restaurant in Chicago, Next, no one is sitting at the phone taking reservations. Instead, online, you can buy a ticket for a table seating 2 or 4 (not 3 or 5). According to Chicago Magazine, the tickets…

Internet Distractions

At work, we “should not be watching that excellent new video of a schnoodle howling along to its own piano playing.” Yes? According to New Yorker journalist James Surowiecki, the answer actually is, “No.” Citing recent academic studies, he says…

PC Benefits

We know that the computer has really made a difference. It replaced typewriters, photo albums, calculators and maybe even travel agents. But still, can we precisely state its impact? Yes, $1700. Economists have calculated that each year since 1977, on…

SAT Questions

NFL draft candidates, supermarket cashiers, and college applicants all share one characteristic: A short-term test. To judge a draft candidate, the NFL might clock a 40-yard run. To decide the productivity of a cashier, researchers have timed how fast items…

Altitude and Attitude

A recent article in Scientific American cited a correlation between altitude and attitude. Describing four different experiments, researchers concluded that physical elevation seemed to connect to generosity, kindness, and cooperation. This is what they found: 1. At a mall, shoppers…

Gender Matters

For years, female musicians said that they were being treated unfairly. The problem, they claimed, was audition bias. Many more men were selected for orchestras than women. The response was that the men were better. A Harvard and Princeton study…

Looking Back at a Decision

Testifying in 1978, one public official said that economists, citing cost and benefit, recommended using a lower level of levee protection against hurricanes in Louisiana than he thought was necessary. (p. 90 of the Congressional Report on Hurricane Katrina) Similarly,…

Peanut Butter Prices

Let’s say that you saw the price of Skippy peanut butter, Tropicana orange juice, and Quaker oatmeal went up. Would you be concerned about inflation? In a recent paper, researchers from Yale and the University of Chicago said it is…

Oscar Markets

Can a crowd be smarter than an individual? In The Wisdom of Crowds, business columnist James Surowiecki, says “Sometimes, yes.” Starting with a crowd betting on the weight of an ox and ending with the crowd and democracy, Surowiecki looks…