Why We Want New iPhones

A competitive strategy, planned obsolescence is controversial. It can spur innovation and growth or represent corporate waste and consumer manipulation.

A Surprise in the Federal Budget

Told by the World Court to stop the subsidies paid to cotton farmers that distort prices, the U.S. has settled the case by paying Brazilian cotton farmers.

Expanding How We Measure Inflation

Our CPI measure of the inflation rate has been debated because it could be calculated using a chained CPU, could be real time, and excludes some seniors.

What Refrigerators Can Tell Us About Global Markets

In refrigerators in developing nations, we can see the impact of affluence on their diet and on supply and demand that will change worldwide food prices.

The Impact of World Cup Soccer On Stock Markets

“Amongst all unimportant subjects, football is by far the most  important.” Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) European Central Bank researchers have hypothesized that World Cup Soccer distracts stock market participants. Using data on trading activity during the 2010 games from 15 International…

A Water Shortage During Brazil’s World Cup

A major source of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s water supply has shrunk. Down to 14.7% of its capacity, the Cantareira Basin supplies almost half the area’s water. With little rain until recently (and it’s the rainy season from December to March)…

Brazil’s World Cup To-Do List

Preparing its transportation infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, Brazil has one giant to-do list. In the air and on the ground, it has the participants, the officials and the fans that have to be moved around.…

Entitlement Spending: Does Unexpected Wealth Make a Difference?

Assume for a moment that the leaders of a society want to see what happens when they make people wealthier. Their approach is simple. To random households, they decide to make available the median level of wealth. At this point,…

Trade Barriers: A Surprising Thread in the U.S./Brazil Cotton War

The US might soon stop sending Brazilian cotton farmers $150 million annually. The short version of the story is that because federal subsidies give US farmers an unfair advantage in world markets, Brazilian cotton growers protested. In 2009, the World…

Emerging Markets: Brazil’s Big Mac

The price of a Big Mac can explain some of Brazil’s problems. But first, I wanted to share some insight about Brazil from financial writer James Surowiecki. In emerging markets like Brazil’s, the problems start when GDP rises, people earn…