Why We Have a Christmas Tree Shortage

Christmas tree prices are up this year and supply is tight. The most likely causes are the Great Recession and the weather. A third possibility, though, is a bit less evident. This is the story: The Christmas Tree Supply Where?…

A Closer Look at the Digitization in Our Lives

Recorded music used to start with a label and an artist. The production process was expensive because of the skilled technicians and the sophisticated equipment. Add to that a music video, the physical album, the distribution process, and what do…

How Our Tipping Behavior is Changing

When we last looked at tipping, we said that it was a way to impress people (like Seinfeld’s George, below). Also we might be expressing altruism or just saying thank you for good service. But beyond all of the basics, our…

Why Albums Are Longer

We are streaming more of our music with the newest albums having as many as 45 tracks. Where are we going? To some marginal thinking. But first, a bit of history… Music Industry Revenue Does anyone remember LP records? In…

The Economics of the Pumpkin Slingshot

For the next bite of a doughnut or the next try at a pumpkin slingshot, economist Alfred Marshall’s marginal analysis helps you decide whether to say yes.

Why We Buy Our iPhones

With its newest and priciest product launch, Apple has made iPhone conspicuous consumption the reason to buy their phone.

Why It Helps to Have (Emoji) Standardization

We know that transactions are easier when weights and measures and times are standardized but do we need emoji standardization?

Why We Like Lotteries

We can ask why our lottery ticket spending has been $70 billion annually when we have such an infinitesimal chance of winning.

When Product Ratings Are a Problem

The worst summer in 20 years, movie box office revenue from May to Labor Day in 2017 was 15% less than the same dates last year. The reason could be lower film quality. Or it could be Netflix and Amazon.…

Why Hamilton Fights Bots

Hoping to control Hamilton’s ticket prices, the show’s producers are waging a war against the bots and scalpers that distort supply and demand.