How to think like an economist

Economists are a peculiar brand of individuals.  They often think more quantitatively than researchers from other social sciences, but also are fond of never giving a straight answer.  If you wonder how economists view most problems, I will give a basic framework to use.   1. Identify the parties involved 2. Identify the incentives of each…

Father of Microcredit

On NPR’s Marketplace, my favorite radio program, there is an interesting interview with Muhammed Yunus.  Mr. Yunus is the founder and director of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.  The bank describes itself as follows: GB [Grameen Bank] provides credit to the poorest of the poor in rural Bangladesh, without any collateral. At GB, credit is a…

Naked Economist peeps at healthcare

Charles Wheelen is a respected journalist, author and lecturer. He is currently a lecturer in public policy at the University of Chicago, but he is most famous for his best selling book “Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science.” In his blog, he cites the top ten reasons why health care costs are increasing. While the…

The Dismal Science

Alex Tabarrok of the Marginal Revolution blog, has an interesting post regarding economics, long known as the dismal science.  First off, he has an entertaining excerpt from the Jon Stewart show: Jon Stewart: Uh, the way you’ve explained the tax cuts doesn’t really seem fair. John Hodgman: Fairness isn’t really the point.  They don’t call…

Blogs as a marketing tool for economic departments

The Mises Economics blog notes how George Mason University professors have been using blogs for the past few years. In addition to any individual gain the professors may receive from writing, the blogs give prospective graduate students a way to find out more about the professors with whom they will be colleagues in the upcoming…

HC Economist diagnosis: A case of Baumol’s Disease

The American health care system seems ill.  Prices for medical services have continued to outpace inflation during recent history.  What is the Healthcare Economist’s diagnosis?  Simple, its a case of Baumol’s cost disease. Baumol’s cost disease is a phenomenon which appears in industries which have slow productivity growth over time (see “What ails us” in…

NeuroEconomics

Nearly since its inception, the field of Economics has used preference relationships, utility functions, and complete rationality as the theoretical basis for nearly all of its major findings.  Nevertheless, while the homo oeconomicus may preform well in certain contexts, in others areas the hypothesis of completely rational humans has been found to be patently false. …

EconBrowser – Jim Hamilton’s Blog

Jim Hamilton, one of my professors, has a great blog which analyzes current events from a macroeconomic point of view (Econbrowser.com). For instance, in the post “Just how implausible is a gasoline tax,” Hamilton reviews a NYT article which states that while 85% of Americans oppose a gas tax, 59% would support a gas tax…

How to invest your money

Paul Merriman one of the few investment advisors I respect.  His blog is full of useful information.  His advice is simple: Invest in Index Funds.  For an average investor, attempting to ‘beat the market’ or is a wasteful endeavor.  Index funds diversify risk by allowing investors to hold a large variety of stocks while minimizing…

Economists fail as evangelists on Sunset Blvd.

In the “Capitalism: The Movieâ€? in the March 2006 Atlantic Monthly, writer Clive Cook examines why many of Hollywood’s recent releases have been anti-capitalist.  Hollywood simply assumes that the public will run to see free-market bashing movies such as: Syriana, Fun with Dick and Jane, Wall Street, Erin Brockovich, The Insider, etc. Why? Cook claims…