Chinese State-Run Firms

Where would your cell phone, your car, your gasoline, your savings account and the TV station you watch all have one thing in common? China. Called state capitalism, 45% of the Chinese economy is owned or controlled by the government.…

Our Shopping Habits

Our story starts during the 1990s. When Procter & Gamble (P&G) first advertised Febreze as a room deodorizer, they thought it would be an instant success. However, the households that most needed it did not respond and sales were tepid.…

Pricey Pigeons

At the Paradise Pigeon auction in Belgium, a Dutch breeder sold a female pigeon to a Chinese shipbuilder for $328,000. Purchased to breed rather than race, Dolce Vita (the bird) will enable Hu Zhen Yu, also the owner of a…

Super Bowl Economics

The least expensive Super Bowl weekend in Indianapolis might cost close to $6248. That means you purchased a “nosebleed” seat for $2100 from StubHub, your coach airfare from NY or Boston was $1379 instead of the usual $400, and you…

Movie Tickets

Should you pay more to see a blockbuster film during the Christmas holidays when movie going peaks? Less for an obscure foreign film? More on Saturday and at 7 pm? Less on Tuesday and 11 am? The issue is variable…

Presidential Futures

The prices of buy and sell contracts for the Republican presidential candidates in Iowa provide a good history of the beginning of the primary race. Romney contracts (max of $1) on the first and last day of each month since…

The Good Life…For Cows

I suspect that the life of a cow producing organic milk got better last June. For their owners, though, business surely became more complicated. According to a new USDA rule, any milk labeled organic now has to come from a…

Domestic Work

What do drip dry clothing, take-out food, dog walkers, dishwashers, dry cleaners, and dusty ceilings have in common? A servant shortage. Currently, Brazil has less household help because of economic growth. Low income women who had worked and lived in…

Paying Kids For Good Grades

What happens when you combine a $100 student payment with a teacher bonus for high A.P. grades, better lab equipment, free tutoring, Saturday classes and extra teacher training? At one Boston school, the results for an A.P. statistics class were:…

Organ Markets

When a San Francisco court said that certain bone marrow donors could be paid, they did not have to focus on medicine. Instead, the 3 judge panel could have discussed the market. The court said it was all about new…