Walking Matters

A podcast on cities from WNYC’s Radiolab cited walking speed as a part of a city’s personality. To walk 60 feet, people averaged 10.55 seconds in Singapore,  12.37 seconds in Paris, 21 seconds in Buchanan, Liberia, and 31.60 seconds in…

Economic Insight

Have you ever looked at “The 3 Little Pigs” through an economic lens? Referring to the third little pig, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser suggests the fairy tale is about investing wisely. In my econ class, a student used opportunity cost…

Environmental Dilemmas

It’s the same question. Economic development or conservation? During April, the headline said, “Uganda Seeks to Reconcile Oil-Nature.” Now, in Tanzania, “Proposed Serengeti Highway Is Lined With Prospects and Fears.” The places differ but the issues are the same. In…

The Price System: Pelicans, Professors, and Murders

Is a pelican worth $500? What is the value of a college professor? What does a murder cost us? Sometimes it’s tough to get a price. We know that BP owes money for wildlife lost on devastated wetlands. But how…

Some Like It Hot?

A warmer Detroit? A wetter New York? In the future world that UCLA professor Matthew Kahn describes, cities will adapt to climate change. Assuming that warming is gradual, populations will migrate and innovate. If San Diego becomes less habitable, people…

Opportunity Cost and the Sunday Papers

Articles in the Sunday papers may not have referred to opportunity cost but it was everywhere. Do you agree that judges should know the dollar cost of a prison sentence? Is it good or bad that dishwasher detergents have become…

The Locavore Challenge

Being a locavore is not always easy but it can feel very good. Those of us who are locavores believe that we are helping the planet by saving on transport costs and emissions, patronizing small businesses rather than distant impersonal…

Utilities Included

In NYC, there are 250,000 housing units that use more electricity than most others. The reason? Buildings without meters for each apartment have leases that say “utilities included”. So, whether tenants use more or less power, the rent is the…

Parking Problems

Parking expert Professor Donald Shoup has identified a traffic problem with implicatons far beyond city streets. Essentially he says that cheap city parking is really rather expensive.  Throughout parts of NYC, for example, drivers can select meters that might require…

Wind Farms

What if peak wind for your wind farm equals peak demand? Good? Not necessarily. The key is timing. According to a NY Times article, certain wind installations have to “dump energy late at night…” because there is no demand for power…