Presidential Futures

The prices of buy and sell contracts for the Republican presidential candidates in Iowa provide a good history of the beginning of the primary race. Romney contracts (max of $1) on the first and last day of each month since…

The Good Life…For Cows

I suspect that the life of a cow producing organic milk got better last June. For their owners, though, business surely became more complicated. According to a new USDA rule, any milk labeled organic now has to come from a…

Domestic Work

What do drip dry clothing, take-out food, dog walkers, dishwashers, dry cleaners, and dusty ceilings have in common? A servant shortage. Currently, Brazil has less household help because of economic growth. Low income women who had worked and lived in…

Paying Kids For Good Grades

What happens when you combine a $100 student payment with a teacher bonus for high A.P. grades, better lab equipment, free tutoring, Saturday classes and extra teacher training? At one Boston school, the results for an A.P. statistics class were:…

Organ Markets

When a San Francisco court said that certain bone marrow donors could be paid, they did not have to focus on medicine. Instead, the 3 judge panel could have discussed the market. The court said it was all about new…

Jell-O, Gillette, and the Kindle Fire

At first no one wanted to buy Jell-O. The year was 1902, the product was jiggly, and people had no idea how to serve it. Then, its producers went door-to-door with free cookbooks. And the rest of the story is…

The Rent-A-Ship Market

Knowing the price to rent a Handysize can come in handy if you want to measure economic activity. A Handysize is a small cargo ship. The very biggest vessels, called Capes because of the routes they have to take, are…

Happy Pecan Farmers

With soaring demand from China and less supply in the U.S., you have some very happy pecan farmers. However, they have one big problem. Theft. Armed with ladders, pecan snatchers are shaking the trees in Georgia’s pecan groves, catching the…

A Thanksgiving Mystery

Although supply and demand should increase turkey prices at Thanksgiving, supermarkets discount turkeys.

Presidential Wagers

 Looking at the University of Iowa GOP Iowa Caucus Market, you could create these headlines: “Gingrich gains.” “Cain crashes.” Perry plummets. Romney remains. With quotes indicated every 15 minutes, the University of Iowa prediction market for the Republican presidential nomination…