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.

When Will China and India Catch Up?

In one wonderful 4 minute animated video, Swedish professor Hans Rosling shows us how, during 200 years, 200 countries became healthier and wealthier. The turning point for one group of nations is 1810 with the industrial revolution. The next turning…

Are You Middle Class?

What is the “middle class?” In a recent NPR interview, a painting contractor, an employee of Healthy Montana Kids, a man who runs a hi-tech robotic firm, and a hospice worker, all earning between $25,000 and $100,000 annually, said they…

A Savings Lottery

Assume you have 3 extra dollars each day. Would you use it for a lottery ticket or a savings account? Most people would select the lottery ticket. Economists, though, hoping to elevate our nation’s savings rate, would like to encourage…

World Cup Soccer and Game Theory

Economists can explain more about soccer than we might expect. Why, for example, do players rarely kick down the middle when taking a penalty? This takes us to “The Prisoners’ Dilemma.” Please assume that when arrested, two bank robbers do…

Walking Matters

A podcast on cities from WNYC’s Radiolab cited walking speed as a part of a city’s personality. To walk 60 feet, people averaged 10.55 seconds in Singapore,  12.37 seconds in Paris, 21 seconds in Buchanan, Liberia, and 31.60 seconds in…

Giving and Getting Gifts

With the holiday season beginning, we should consider the economics of gift giving. Let’s start with University of Pennsylvania Professor Joel Waldfogel who focused on receiving gifts. Then, through Duke’s Dan Ariely, we can look at how to give the…

Dietary Incentives

Which would you choose? 2000 calories from 10 donuts that would cost you $5? or… 2000 calories from Greek yogurt, organic raspberries, a turkey avocado wrap, Alaskan King Salmon, green beans, a whole wheat roll, strawberries and heavy cream for…

Inequality and Movie Stars

Did you know that Academy Award winners live longer than losers? Much more than a trivia fact, Academy Award winner longevity provided researchers with data about inequality. As reported in the May 15, 2001 issue of The Annals of Internal…

Stocks and Tweets

An Indiana University researcher thinks he has confirmed that mood and stock market movement correlate. The results, though, were not what he expected. 1) Originally, he and his students thought that they would discover a positive relationship between the direction…

Healthy Incentives

What happens in a school cafeteria when apples are placed in bowls rather than on a metallic pan? Sales more than double. Require trays? Students eat 21% more salads. Call corn “creamy” and more people ask for it. As displayed…