What Can We Learn From Downton Abbey Economics?

Downton Abbey can tell us a lot about the British economy…but not everything. We know the aristocracy is struggling. Many of the 700 families who had controlled 80% of all acreage during the 1870s faced financial collapse 50 years later.…

Problems With Grade Deflation

The number of hours we study is down and our grades are up. Between 1961 and 2003, full time college students diminished their study time from 40 to 27 hours a week. And yet, they have been getting higher grades.…

Three Reasons You Might Want Hundred Dollar Bills

At WheresGeorge.com, you can enter the serial number of a $100 bill, your zip code and maybe even write WheresGeorge on the bill, and then send it on its way. Whenever its subsequent spenders note that serial number at WheresGeorge.com…

The One Question They Should Have Asked Janet Yellen

This bingo card was tweeted by Quartz just before Fed chair nominee Janet Yellen spoke to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. It reminded me that Monetary Policy is not what it used to be. For years, teaching…

Six Areas Where Economists Disagree With Everyone Else

A small firestorm ignited when the Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers said, “Outsourcing is a growing phenomenon, but it’s something that we should realize is probably a plus for the economy in the long run.” Hearing the comment…

Gender Issues: Janet Yellen and Feminism Matters

Whether you agree or disagree with Janet Yellen’s policies and politics, do keep in mind that it helps women to have a woman lead the Fed. Or, as economist Justin Wolfers said about his own daughter in a Bloomberg column,…

The Difference Between the Shutdown and the Debt Ceiling

Let’s just do a shutdown and a ceiling primer today. The shutdown is all about the federal budget. Very simply stated, certain agencies need yearly (or a different time period) funding that has to be approved by the President and…

The Money Supply: The New Hundred Dollar Bill

Our story begins in 2010 when the United States announced that it would be issuing a state-of-the-art $100 bill. Designed to thwart counterfeiters, the new bill has 3-D interactive features. When you move it, certain shapes and colors shift. There…

Fiscal Policy: What We Need to Know About the Debt Ceiling

Like me, you might have thought that the US has not yet reached its debt limit. But actually it has. The story is unimaginably complicated. From what I can discern in a Congressional Research Service report, for the last 9…

Behavioral Economics: Your Language Might Influence Your Savings

While in English we say, “It will rain tomorrow,” someone speaking in German states, “It rains tomorrow.” According to UCLA economist Keith Chen, because their language makes the future feel closer, Germans deal with it more responsibly. I know, it sounds farfetched.…