Category: General Economics

Patriot football pressures are consistent with a ball air temperature of about 128 degrees when tested.

As I sit at home enjoying the blizzard (more than 20 inches/50 CM of snow so far in Newton!) and thinking about the Deflategate scandal about the Patriots “cheating” going into the Superbowl this Sunday, I thought I would add my own thoughts and calculations about ball pressure and the scandal. Here is my bottom […]

#6 Raise the minimum wage for jobs not offering health insurance

Time to change the policy discussion. Congress has been unwilling to raise the minimum wage despite strong public support for doing so. This blog suggests a concrete approach for getting even broader public support and potentially reducing the need for federal taxes. As of January 1, 2015 29 states and DC have minimum wages above […]

Useful Data Links to US Government data

Websites for Federal Administrative Data sets: US Administration for International Development: Foreign aid from the U.S: Data and Tools Department of Agriculture: Economic Research Services: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Data System Food and Nutrition Services: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Data Food Safety Inspection Services: Recalls and Quarterly Enforcement Reports Forest Inventory Data National Agricultural Statistics Service: Cropland Data Natural Resource Conservation Service: […]

Important Reposting on Placebo surgery from TIE

I am forwarding this excellent TIE post since every health researcher and indeed every consumer should realize how serious the lack of evidence is on many common surgical procedures. Here are some quotes organized in a succinct way. “2002… arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee … Those who had the actual procedures did no […]

BU well represented at ASSA meetings in 2015

As would be expected since the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) meetings are in Boston this January, BU is well represented on the ASSA program. After searching and scanning through the program for current and former students and current faculty, I identified 81 BU affiliate names on the program, whether as authors, discussants or presiding. […]

A model for US: $1 coins and no pennies

I just returned from a vacation in Ecuador (which is spectacular) but wanted to post about a wonderful feature of their monetary system. Ecuador does not have its own currency but instead uses the US dollar as their only currency. US dollar bills and coins are used everywhere, which is very convenient for visitors. But […]

Read Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

I just finished reading the book Flash Boys by Michael Lewis (author of Moneyball and the Big Short). I highly recommend it to economists as a quick read (270 pages) in accessible prose. Or anyone. http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Boys-Wall-Street-Revolt/dp/0393244660/ Every economist should be aware of the grossly unfair trading practices that the SEC and NASDAQ have allowed to […]

Congratulations to BU’s Class of 2014 Economics graduates!

Please celebrate the 463 Boston University students who earned degrees in Economics at Commencement over the weekend. This year the program contained: 17 Ph.D. recipients 207 Master’s degree recipients (MA, MAPE, MAEP, MAGDE MA/MBA, BA/MA) 256 BA recipients (including BA/MA) This represents a total of 463 degrees! These numbers undercount the total for the year […]

Explaining these two graphs should merit a Nobel prize

Reposting from The Incidental Economist Blog What happened to US life expectancy? Posted: 07 Jan 2014 03:00 AM PST Here’s another chart from the JAMA study “The Anatomy of Health Care in the United States”: Why did the US fall behind the OECD median in the mid-1980s for men and the early 1990s for women? Note, […]

Latest REPEC rating has BU economics at #10!

I know rankings of departments are always imprecise, but I think  BU Economics should be proud that REPEC, (REsearch Papers in EConomics), which measures research output on 31 dimensions and takes an average, currently puts us at #10 in the US, just behind Yale, and ahead of Penn, Brown, Michigan and Northwestern. Keep up the […]

AHRF/ARF 2012-13 data is available free

AHRF=Area Health Resource File (Formerly ARF) 2012-2013 ARHF can now be downloaded at no cost. The 2012-2013 ARF data files and documentation can now be downloaded. Click the link below to learn how to download ARF documentation and data. http://arf.hrsa.gov/ “The Area Health Resources Files (AHRF)—a family of health data resource products—draw from an extensive […]

A Monkey’s Fight for Equal Pay

This 2:44 extract from a TED talk by Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University shows beyond a doubt the role that fairness plays in our  society. It is both hilarious and incredibly insightful. http://www.upworthy.com/2-monkeys-were-paid-unequally-see-what-happens-next?g=5%3C  

Press Interviews and Quotes

Partly just to keep track of them for my BU annual report, This post links to my press interviews and quotes. “STUDY: Grad student loan debt on the rise” The Daily Free Press. Boston University March 26, 2014. “South Shore Hospital, Partners HealthCare defend merger plan” The Patriot Ledger. by Christian Schiavone.  1/17/2014 “The Healing Begins […]

Joe Stiglitz Essay on Martin Luther King and inequality

My colleague Michael Manove forwarded this article which is worth reading and pondering. It is available directly at the New York Times at the link below. Two pages. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/27/how-dr-king-shaped-my-work-in-economics/?_r=0 The Great Divide August 27, 2013, 8:58 pm 167 Comments How Dr. King Shaped My Work in Economics By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ “I had the good […]

Our Daily US Gun Killings

This repost is from the Daily Kos. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/01/1198534/-Another-day-in-the-Gun-Crazy-U-S-A While Sandy Hook murders and the Marathon Bombing get a lot national attention, it is the daily tragedy of gun shootings and killings that should be of greatest concern. The Daily Kos simply compiled lists of all of the daily reports of murders for a week ending […]

Useful reference for serious SAS programmers

I often do bootstrap and simulations in my research, and for some background research, I found the following excellent short article on how to use SAS to do efficient replications/bootstrapping/jackknifing. Paper 183-2007 Don’t Be Loopy: Re-Sampling and Simulation the SAS® Way David L. Cassell, Design Pathways, Corvallis, OR http://www2.sas.com/proceedings/forum2007/183-2007.pdf Here is an elegant example that […]

31 charts to destroy your faith in humanity

This humorous web site from the Washington Post’s WonkBlog is worth a look. It will only take a couple of minutes. 31 charts that are informative but illustrates how one can put a negative spin on anything. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/24/these-31-charts-will-destroy-your-faith-in-humanity/ Here is the original post that it is spoofing. http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity-2013-5

#5 “Let the Children and Grandchildren Pay?”

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #5 This is the  fifth and final posting in a five part series about taxes. Every time congress passes legislation to increase public spending, they should have to specify which taxes they favor increasing to balance the budget. If not, then congress should have to openly discuss why they […]

#4 State Tax Rates are Not Related to State Income or Growth

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #4 This is the fourth in a five part series about taxes. It has  become common in the media to argue that state income or sales taxes cannot be increased or it will dampen incentives and hurt the state or local economy. While this might be true at sufficiently […]

#3 Tax Bads (or at least don’t subsidize them!)

Time to Change the Tax Discussion #3 This is the third in a five part series about taxes. Introductory economics tells us that when the government taxes something, unless it is perfectly inelastically supplied or demanded, the tax will cause a distortion in a market and reduce the taxed activity. For most things (labor, profits, […]