640X350 Teaching from the news

Searching for Keys under a Street Light

Nobel Prize winners in economics are extraordinary bright, creative, and brilliant. As bright individuals, they may have bright and useful things to say about policy. But the Nobel Prize does not make what they have to say about policy especially insightful. Ideally, most Nobel Prize winners should respond to policy …

An App for Economic Data Releases

The government releases data nearly every day and agencies such as the Census Bureau provide that data on their websites. While each agency publishes a schedule of releases, it’s not easy to keep track. Luckily, the Census has a free app that reports the most recent values for 16 key …

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Considering Intellectual Property Rights: Revisions to GDP

Economists must make numerous choices to calculate market activities in an economy. The U.S. measure of GDP, for instance, does not include illegal drug sales or prostitution, both market activities. Periodically the Bureau of Economic Analysis, revises its measure of GDP to account for measurement errors and it did so …

qwerty

The QWERTY Keyboard and Technological Lock-in

The QWERTY keyboard is an often-cited example of technological lock-in–when prior use of a technology makes the adoption of subsequent technologies difficult. What is interesting is that technological lock-in can lead to establishing inefficient  technology and even economic institutions.  The emergence of thumb-typing on smartphones and tablets may be giving …

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Federal Reserve Economic Data

A great place to get data to show in class or for your students to work with is FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data), which has 61,000 series. FRED data can be imported into Excel with an add-in and then used to create graphs, change levels to percentage changes with a …

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Regulating Raisins

In the 1930s and 40s the Government began regulating a number of agricultural products, including raisins. They began as price stabilization programs, but have ended up being price support programs. Chapter 8W in Colander’s Economics and Microeconomics discusses the history of these programs. As the Economist reports (insert link) the …

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Bride Prices

In the United States people bristle at the thought of paying for a bride. Not so in all countries. The practice in China gives us an explicit example of the effects of supply and demand on price.  It’s one-child policy is now affecting the number women compared to men of …