Econ in the News: Stimulus Checks (and Debit Cards)

In early 2020, the CARES Act was passed in response to severe negative macroeconomic effects stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the United States. One of the biggest media talking points centered around the passage of a $1,200 stimulus payment, designed to be distributed over the coming months and help increase consumption. These stimulus payments … More Econ in the News: Stimulus Checks (and Debit Cards)

Programmers are the Blue-Collar Workers of the 21st century

Premium wages. Company picnics and events. Subsidized housing. And brand recognition at some of the hottest companies to work for. I’m not describing tech companies. I’m talking about blue-collar jobs in the 20th century. The rise and fall of early private welfare capitalism in the United States, plus a little economic history, shows key parallels … More Programmers are the Blue-Collar Workers of the 21st century

Econ in the News: NCAA and Athlete Pay

The NCAA recently opened the door to allowing college athletes to be compensated for the use of their likeness, names, and images. In a statement, the board of governors for the NCAA has officially begun the process, although the exact details remain uncertain. I won’t dive too much into arguments for or against compensating student-athletes … More Econ in the News: NCAA and Athlete Pay

‘Maisel Day’ and the Power of Nostalgia

To support its Emmy-nominated program “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” Amazon’s marketing department partnered with dozens of businesses in Los Angeles for ‘Maisel Day’ on August 15th. From a gas station charging 30 cents a gallon to burgers, fries, and a slice of pie for 80 cents at a diner, this clever marketing campaign uses some … More ‘Maisel Day’ and the Power of Nostalgia

Econ in the News: Gas Price Variation from Pump to Pump

Have you ever wondered why gas prices can vary significantly, even when the gas stations are within a block of each other? There are a lot of factors in play that cause these price differences, and with a few economic models and methods, we can start to tease out reasons for the variation. Focusing on … More Econ in the News: Gas Price Variation from Pump to Pump

Econ in the News: Cottage Food Deregulation

As of January 1st, 2019, the cottage food industry in California has received a major legislative boost: a wider variety of foods made in a home kitchen can now be legally sold with fewer permit restrictions. I want to examine questions of deregulation, substitution, and cognitive biases that feed into the cottage food debate. First … More Econ in the News: Cottage Food Deregulation

Econ in the News: Vanilla Beans are more Expensive than Silver

The skyrocketing price of vanilla beans has led to shortages of vanilla-derived products across the world, to the dismay of all who enjoy making baked goods (myself included).  During the 2017-2018 season, black Madagascar vanilla bean prices peaked at $635 per kilogram ($18/ounce), a price that officially made it worth more than its weight in … More Econ in the News: Vanilla Beans are more Expensive than Silver