Health Insurance Dilemmas

Assume for a moment that you are slim, love broccoli and run 4 miles each day. Should your health insurance premium be lower than the amount paid by someone with an unhealthy lifestyle? Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and Safeway say, “Yes.” One…

Defrosting the Doughnut Hole

A global phenomenon will open up new areas for oil exploration, enable ships to take shortcuts, and provide easier access to world markets for iron ore and other minerals. The phenomenon? Global warming. Because of global warming, the polar ice…

Environmental Externalities

There is oil under Murchison Falls National Park. Home to rare birds, lions, elephants, and giraffes, this Ugandan nature park is a tourist mecca. The Ugandan government, though, prefers oil to tourists as a revenue stream.  Thinking as economists, we…

When a Buffet Problem Becomes a Tragedy

I just heard a perfect example of “the tragedy of the commons.” (defined yesterday) In a recent “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, during a dinner party, Larry David observed a friend depleting the caviar on a buffet table. Predictably, he complained to…