Women and Competition

Just a comment today on a study about females and competition. Comparing a matrilineal society in India to a patriarchal society in Tanzania, a 2007 study revealed a huge difference in how much women compete. These quotes are wonderfully representative:…

Different Kinds of Capitalism

How much does Chinese capitalism resemble U.S. capitalism? In a New Yorker article, journalist John Cassidy suggests that China’s combination of authoritarianism and capitalism is somewhat similar to our own history. Reminding us of our government’s economic intervention during the…

Made in China?

True or false? Is Apple’s iPhone made in China? The answer is true and false. True. According to U.S. trade statistics, the iPhone is made in China. Consequently, the iPhone is recorded as a minus for us and a plus…

Unintended Green Incentives

True or False? When we become more energy efficient, we use up fewer resources. This New Yorker Magazine article says maybe. Citing the “rebound effect,” the article briefly takes us back to Williams Jevons, England, and 1865. In a book…

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…

Big Boxes

What we ship things in makes a difference. Take the banana, for example. In 1876, at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, the banana was a delicacy (and very black). Millions of bunches could only be sent to U.S. shores if they…

Supership Problems

When is a supership a problem? When the water is not deep enough or the Bayonne Bridge is not high enough. To understand the Bayonne Bridge problem (and care about the answer), we have to look back to August 1914…

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…

A Different Kind of Currency Crisis

Our story begins with the United States announcing that it would be issuing a state-of-the-art new $100 bill. Designed to thwart counterfeiters, the new bill has 3-D interactive features. Move the bill and certain shapes and colors shift. The bill,…

A Rule About Gold

Yes, gold is a part of Dodd-Frank financial regulation but not exactly the way you would expect. Dodd-Frank says that businesses have to tell the SEC if the gold, tin, tantalum, and tungsten (the 3 Ts) in their supply chain…