The Impact of a Cardboard Economy

With the growth of online shopping and the cardboard containers used to ship all we buy, we are creating a long list of externalities that affect us daily.

Has the Invisible Hand Given You a Nudge Recently?

Encouraging businesses and consumers to interact productively as they pursue their self-interest, Adam Smith’s invisible hand moves a market’s participants.

Do Brazilians or Russians Work Shorter Hours?

Brazil or Russia? Who tends to work shorter hours? Who takes longer lunch hours? Who watches more TV? Who is more likely to sleep 8 hours or more each night?   Brazil was the correct answer to every question. My…

Packaging Matters

How much do you think a package affects your buying decisions? In 2009, Pepsi changed Tropicana’s packaging. It was disastrous. Within 2 months, sales plunged 20% and they quickly switched back to their traditional orange with a straw. Some consumers…

Big Macs and Currency Manipulators

In China, a Big Mac costs close to the equivalent of $2.44. That same burger in the US is $4.20. The basic idea is PPP, purchasing power parity. The dollar can buy more when the yuan is undervalued. And President…

Living Solo: Part 2

Soup and ready-made meals sales are soaring in Brazil. The reason is probably more singles. In the United Arab Emirates, if you are over 30 and female, there is a 60% chance you are unmarried. For Japan, 31.5% of all households…

Developing a Soda Habit

Why do Brazilians drink Coca-Cola? Our story starts during 1990. Trying to cope with an 80% monthly inflation rate, Brazilian shoppers rushed to supermarkets early in the morning before higher price stickers replaced the old ones. In just one month,…

Creative Incentives

In his New Yorker Magazine article on creativity, Malcolm Gladwell describes Mick Jagger, the musician, and Gary Starkweather, an optical engineer, as gentlemen who pour out countless ideas and develop an endless stream of products. For Jagger, the product is…

Unexpected Economic Indicators

Instead of the G.D.P., CPI, and assorted leading and lagging indicators, economists also look at an entirely different set of data. Sometimes hemlines, movie star preferences, and everyday purchases provide business cycle evidence. During a plunge in economic activity, people’s…