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…

Nobel Matchmakers

One of the first calls a new Nobel Prize winner might get is from Adam Smith, editor of NobelPrize.org. As you might expect, hearing his name, people initially wonder if the call is for real. Usually Mr. Smith does a…

Pork Problems

Announcing the cancellation of this year’s bacon eating contest, Major League Eating (“the world body that governs all stomach-centric sports’) said,  “We cannot, in good conscience, allow [top ranked eater] Joey Chestnut to eat bacon during a global pork shortage,…We…

Fresh Apple Demand

Again we connect to China with an apple but this time it’s the fruit. As incomes rise, so too has fresh fruit consumption in China. In addition to buying pork and owning dogs, consuming pecans and carrying Coach purses, an…

Singapore’s Pollution Solution

When a country’s economy is ranked the 2nd freest in the world, how do they manage auto congestion and pollution? By auctioning a limited number of vehicle permits, Singapore makes owning a car very expensive. A VW Passat in Singapore could cost…

iPhone 5 Economics

Explaining the probable impact of the new Apple iPhone, one UPS employee recalled the impact of the last new iPad launch.  At its internal hubs, UPS created more work hours for part timers and enjoyed more revenue because of the volume…

Speed Pricing

What does a price tell you? Assume that you were going to purchase a GE Advantium 120 microwave oven on Sunday, August 12. Comparing Sears, Best Buy and Amazon’s sellers at 3 a.m., you would have seen, respectively, $899.99, 809.99 and…

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…

Sports Walks

Whenever I go to a Philly’s baseball game, the walk from the car to my seat takes awhile. Located in a “stand alone” sports complex off of Route 95, the stadium is one of several and the parking lots extend…

Higher Prices at the Gas Pump

Sometimes 25 cents at the gas pump can make a huge difference. Economist James Hamilton explains why with his “rough rule-of thumb” correlation between the price of crude and gas at the pump. When crude increases by $10 a barrel,…