Kidneys: If You Can’t Sell Em, Marry Em

Selling your kidney to someone in need is illegal in the United States. Apparently, giving up an organ at a market price is deemed unethical, or “repugnant.” As a result, the market doesn’t work because the price is too low. Well, it’s effectively zero.

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A Williamson-esque Approach To Moving In With Your Hunny

Every time we find out about a big company swallowing up a smaller company for a ridiculous amount of money, we get a feeling something fishy is going on. They’re probably just trying to squash the competition and become enormous monopolies to force us lowly consumers into paying higher prices for their products, right? Continue reading “A Williamson-esque Approach To Moving In With Your Hunny”

Dale T. Mortensen-You Gotta Work Before You Work

Lately I’ve been knee deep in the process of job searching. Let me tell you guys, this is an ordeal. Although most people don’t think about it this way, finding a job is very costly! It’s a difficult process with a lot of what economists would call unseen costs. There are the costs of finding jobs that match my interests and skills. Then the cost of sending out my resume and applications to as many job opportunities I can get my hands on. Next, there are the costs of interviews to see if I’m a good match for the position. This takes a lot of time and sometimes I’m just not motivated to overcome all these costs.

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Elinor Ostrom and the Case of the Black Kettle

When I moved into my house last August, the first thing I noticed about the kitchen was a blue kettle with a black bottom, sitting on the stove. Even from afar, I could tell the kettle was dirty.  The color was faded from grease stains and overuse.  It was dinghy, but I still loved how it added color to the kitchen.  Continue reading “Elinor Ostrom and the Case of the Black Kettle”

Thomas Schelling: Winning the Game of Love (Without War)

Even though it may feel like the holidays are over, another is just around the corner. Valentine’s Day is coming and it’s an opportunity for loved ones to express their feelings for one another with chocolates or assorted gifts. But what am I supposed to get my girlfriend? What is she supposed to get me? Obviously, we know each other’s tastes and preferences, but we need a way of making sure that we are both on the same page for how much we will spend on each other. If my girlfriend buys me a nice, expensive watch, and I give her a $5 Starbucks card, I will be in the doghouse until July. Thomas Schelling’s adaptation of game theory can give some answers to this. Continue reading “Thomas Schelling: Winning the Game of Love (Without War)”

Making Sense of Nominal GDP Targeting

In less than a month, Jerome Powell will replace Janet Yellen as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  This change will give the Fed a chance to reconsider how it conducts monetary policy.  There had been a consensus among macroeconomists since the 1980s, but like many things, it was shattered by the Great Recession.  Continue reading “Making Sense of Nominal GDP Targeting”

Bernie Sanders is Angry About Deodorant and Sneakers

During the height of the Democratic primary season in 2016, Senator Bernie Sanders made news by lamenting “You don’t necessarily need the choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this county.” Bernie asks an interesting economic question – why do we have so many choices between products that are essentially the same thing? Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize in 2008 in part for answering this question. Continue reading “Bernie Sanders is Angry About Deodorant and Sneakers”