The Pricey Purse That Created a Problem

When Hermes combined very high prices with limited availability for its Birkin bags, it not only generated conspicuous consumption but also a problem.

An Economist’s Gift Giving Dilemma

After an economist long ago told us that gift giving adds less to economic activity than the price of the present, a pro-gift giving group disagreed.

The One Investment That Is (Probably) a Sure Thing

Calculating the value of college involves what we spend, what we sacrifice, what we earn, and some other surprising considerations.

The Inconspicuous Consumption That Shouts Your Wealth

The average American has access to the types of consumer goods that only the wealthy used to buy. We can purchase a pricey iPhone or watch Netflix on a massive home TV screen. We eat steak, enjoy ahi tuna, and…

What Baby Names Tell Us

When parents choose a baby name, they could be conveying a message to the world that signals their politics and the child’s future profession.

Throwback Thursday: Looking Back at the Tiffany Brand

Shifting from Audrey Hepburn elegance to Lady Gaga, the Tiffany brand has a new face to market its luxury image and its Veblen goods.

The Significance of a Baby’s Name

As a signal from parents, popular baby names can convey a quest for individuality as well as a liberal or conservative message.

Weekly Roundup: 6 Mysteries

Our everyday economic stories involve participation rates, human capital, signaling, ROI, money, price, austerity, personal income, monopoly and bubbles.

The Mystery of Why Grads From 4 Year Colleges Earn More

It is a mystery whether college matters because it creates better human capital or creates signals that indicate graduates completed a long-term task.