Global Economic Growth: From Meat to Luxury Cars

For many of us, becoming  more affluent first means more meat and then maybe a washing machine. Imagine a spending ladder in emerging market nations like the BRICs–Brazil, Russia, India, China. At each rung, spending surges and then flattens at…

Behavioral Economics: Menu Incentives

In economics, sometimes psychology comes in handy… If you were creating a wine list for a restaurant, which order would you select: Alphabetize everything. By price, start with the cheapest bottles. By price, start with the most expensive bottles. Group…

Supply and Demand: Who Responds to Fair Labor Practices?

The Bangladesh building collapse tragedy led me to 3 types of news articles. I wonder what the impact is when you combine them. Please let me know your opinion. 1. Suppliers: Low Cost The cost attraction of Bangladesh has been…

Demand and Supply: A Columbia Dining Hall

The Nutella-gate crisis at Columbia University is classic demand and supply. First the facts… A “creamier-than-peanut-butter, chocolate hazelnut spread from Italy, …” Nutella had been served in crepes on weekends at Columbia’s undergraduate dining halls. However, when Columbia started offering it…

Big Ten Tickets

For $75 you can see all 9 Big Ten Conference basketball games…Maybe. Here’s the story. If you buy a Golden Ticket online from the Minnesota Golden Gophers, you can attend up to 9 Big Ten games but only if Minnesota…

An Economic High?

On November 6, Colorado voters resoundingly agreed that recreational use of marijuana would become legal. However, as Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said, “…federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or goldfish too quickly.”…

Caffeine Highs and Lows

Among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world, euro-zone consumers are cutting back. As one Milan café owner explained, “Since the beginning of the year most of our regulars cut their coffees from around four to two a day. Sometimes,…

Hurricane Sandy Stories

Just some notes today about close-to-home Hurricane Sandy economics. Trees: Walking down my NJ street, I stopped to talk with 2 gentleman in a truck from Gainesville, Florida. They said they did tree work and had driven the 1000 miles to look…

Halloween and That “Warm Glow”

With NJ kids trick or treating on November 5 because of Hurricane Sandy, they still have time to look at the Zillow Halloween Index. Zillow, the housing website, tells us that the biggest candy hauls come from more affluent neighborhoods…

A New Name for Price Gouging

Yesterday, a friend of mine waited on a gas line for 3 hours to fill his tank. The price was close to normal but the line was not. Hearing about gas lines, I remembered when Boston’s water supply was temporarily…