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
“Suppose you need to borrow $100. Which is the lower amount to pay back: $105 or $100 plus three percent?” Half of the adults surveyed in a huge Gallup poll got the answer wrong (the correct answer, in case you were wondering, was $100 plus three percent: $103 < $105). In a humorous article on … More What about Financial Ed?
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
During my final year at Stanford, I’ve been selected to be an ECON1 TA (which is relatively rare for a non-Econ Ph.D. student). ECON1 is the introductory economics course at Stanford, and it’s a course I’ve always wanted to help teach. By the end of 10 weeks, students gain a foundational understanding of microeconomics and … More ECON1 in the Real World
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
Over the past few months, I’ve been following the “scooter wars” raging on in SF as part of a very interesting class on the sharing economy I took at Stanford. Several scooter companies have emerged across major metropolitan areas in the United States, offering electric scooters for people to zip around on. San Francisco has … More SF Scooter Wars
A recent study by the American Sociological Association has found that the old staple of prison currency – cigarettes – has been replaced by instant ramen noodles in prisons across the United States. The rise of ramen in the grey markets of intra-prison exchanges can be tied to two trends shaking up the “traditional” prison … More Econ in the News: Delicious Prison Currency
One class I’m taking this quarter is ECON137: Decision Modeling and Information. Taught by the legendary Scott McKeon, this class focuses on the deterministic side of Economics – given some information, figure out the right decision a person should make. With this decision analysis comes a philosophical quandary: should we as a society reward … More Do you applaud the decision or the outcome?
On August 21st, a lucky swath of the United States will experience a total eclipse for the first time in nearly a century, and the entire mainland will get to see a decent partial eclipse. That adds up to 300 million people who are potentially in the market for solar eclipse glasses. With an Amazon-induced … More Econ in the News: the Great American Solar Eclipse
For the past two weeks, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to go on tour to Mexico and Cuba as a violinist in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. One thing that stood out to me during my weeklong stay in Cuba was how entrepreneurial the Cuban people I met along the way could be. Even more impressive … More Cubans do Entrepreneurship Better than Silicon Valley