A Contagious Disease

Seeing the Bloomberg Businessweek headline, “Greek Contagion Spurs Surge in Portugal, Spanish Debt Swaps,” I started thinking about diagnosing fiscal illness, treating it, and contagion. How can we diagnose the illness? The illness seems to be the Greek spending disease. Just like you…

A Closer Look At Consumer Spending

We always hear reporters saying that, “Consumer spending makes up more than 70% of the economy…” Mike Mandel, former chief economist at Newsweek, believes the reporters are misleading us. Yes, the consumer component of GDP is 70% of all spending.…

Change in India

Hey Everyone My name is Ilya Sabnani. I am currently a sophomore at Princeton majoring in Economics with certificates in Environmental Studies and South Asia Studies. I’m guest blogging about social and economic change in India. This past fall, I…

Max Bialystock and CDOs

Comparing the deal to Bialystock, Bloom, and Springtime For Hitler in The Producers, NPR’s This American Life looked at how a Chicago hedge fund made money on seemingly unprofitable CDO transactions. Available as a podcast, the story made the CDO derivatives world entirely understandable.  The…

Can More Be Less?

At Starbucks, no one orders just a regular coffee, at the Gap, we look at easy fit or relaxed or straight leg, and when selecting health insurance, we think about deductibles and prescription drug coverage. Everywhere we have many choices.…

Another Unregulated Market

Carbon offset markets are about thinking at the margin. Hoping to become the first carbon neutral state in the world, the Vatican bought carbon offsets. The U.S. House of Representatives funded an $89,000 purchase of carbon offsets. Before boarding, you can…

Economic Facts About Dogs

Have you ever thought about the connection between your dog and the economy? During an interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, Michael Schaffer, author of One Nation Under Dog, spoke about dogs’ lives. A lot of his stories relate to the onset of two…

Crisis Autopsy

In an October NY Times op-ed, Calvin Trillin describes a (hypothetical) conversation in a midtown bar about the financial crisis. “The financial system nearly collapsed because smart guys had started working on Wall Street.” By contrast, decades ago, a top student became…

Frugal Fatigue and Yuan Updates

Re a March 21 post about frugal fatigue… For a fifth straight month, consumer spending is up, meaning perhaps that we are headed for a “V” recovery?   Data from the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report indicates that internet spending…

A History of Financial Regulation

The Plunge Protection Team is composed of the chair of the Federal Reserve, the Secretary of the Treasury, the SEC, and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.  Officially called the Working Group on Financial Markets, this group was formed after the…