Demand and Supply: Chocolate Stories

Because the price of cocoa is soaring, we might soon be paying more for cookies. But first, a bit of history. A Chocolate Butter Drop Do Cookie crisis in 1930 is the reason we have chocolate chip cookies today. One…

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…

Getting More Power

After Hurricane Irene last August, I lost my electricity for 8 days. Then, only weeks later, after a surprise snow storm, all over again, 8 days without power.  Facing a similar plight last week, economist Arnold Kling asked why the…

Should We Buy Local?

I just finished an omelette with eggs and spinach from a nearby farm. It tasted good, I supported local business and I helped the environment. You could say that I had my cake (but it was spinach) and ate it…

The Oreo Centennial

Next year, we can celebrate Oreo’s 100th birthday. First sold in 1912, Oreos have been priced at: 1922: 32 cents/lb. 1934: 27 cents/lb. 1960: 45 cents/lb. 1991: $2.39/lb. 2008: $4.29/18oz. 2011: $4.29/16.6oz. Amazingly, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics…

Peanuts or Cotton?

Farmers decided to plant fewer peanuts when cotton prices soared. The result? Now peanut prices are skyrocketing. Here is the story. Perhaps it all began with higher cotton prices. Responding, peanut farmers switched some acreage to cotton. Combine that decision…

The Value of a Price Tag

Asking, “Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?” a group of researchers decided to find out. They described the results of their study in a working paper for the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE). The researchers introduced their paper by…

The Value of a Price Tag

Asking, “Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?” a group of researchers decided to find out. They described the results of their study in a working paper for the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE). The researchers introduced their paper by…

The Afghan Votes Market

In Kunduz Province, the price of a vote was $15 while in Kandahar, it was closer to $1.  Do we have a market? Just like shoes or shirts, it appears that the price of an Afghan vote was determined by…

The Locavore Challenge

Being a locavore is not always easy but it can feel very good. Those of us who are locavores believe that we are helping the planet by saving on transport costs and emissions, patronizing small businesses rather than distant impersonal…