I'm going to be starting up a new research agenda on the economics of marijuana policy with an undergraduate student this fall, and I'm looking for materials which can help both me and my student navigate through the legal jungle that is US marijuana policy. I had a few questions. [more inside]
Approximately how much of the productivity gains of the past 125 years has been a result of using fossil fuels? [more inside]
A desperate college student needs your advice, and also needs his homework checked. [more inside]
How can a private company offer stock options? [more inside]
Is this poll bogus? A conservative friend has sent me a link to this poll, conducted by Zogby International (which appears reputable), that gives low scores on "economic enlightenment" to women, the less-wealthy, infrequent Wal-Mart shoppers, non-Nascar fans, the unmarried, union members, Obama voters, etc., and doesn't correlate it with college attendance. [more inside]
Our stores are full of billions of items. What percentage of these things actually get bought and used? What happens to it all in the end? [more inside]
What effect will the change in US tax rates on dividends have on share prices and dividend payouts? [more inside]
Can you think of examples where a firm tried marketing a more expensive "fair trade" version of a standardized manufactured commodity in parallel? [more inside]
Where can I learn - in a hurry - the technological basics of the telecommunications/internet infrastructure? [more inside]
How can I as an "economist" make the most of an extended internship interview with a financial planner? [more inside]
Why doesn't the law of supply and demand seem to apply to certain professionals? For instance, there seems to be an abundance of lawyers. I've never met a lawyer who was too busy and had to turn down work. Yet they all seem to charge $250-500 or more an hour. I've also looked for programmers and designers. It's extremely difficult to find anyone good, and when you do, they're almost always too busy to take any additional work. Yet they still charge much less than lawyers. What factors are causing this?
Can anyone recommend a book which explains the basics of economic theory in a way accessible to physicists/mathematicians? [more inside]
I'm 24 and I already have an undergraduate degree. Now I want to study something completely different: economics. Turns out it's a little trickier than I first thought [rant inside] [more inside]
Is there an 'expiry date' on your studies when it comes to being admitted to a PhD? I'm thinking of working for a while first. [more inside]
The volcanic activity of this past week has revealed a significant weakness in our existing infrastructure. But what happens if Eyjafjallajokull's big sister Hekla erupts as it did in 1912? I am less interested in the most obvious impacts, but rather am fascinated by the unseen shifts that would have to occur in the background. [more inside]
What are the best articles and books that thoughtfully look back and analyze the financial crisis so far and its causes?
Does anyone know of a quick hit economic dashboard where I can get all the economic data in a snapshot? [more inside]
I last flew in September and the price was 300 bucks for one way non-stop flight. Now, in April, it's 600 dollars for the non-stop, and the cheapest flight has a layover, AND is 80 (380) dollars more. Is there a reason for the large increase in flying costs these past 6 months? [more inside]
In an OLS regression the coefficient is b = cov(X,Y)/var(X). What is the plain english interpretation of this coefficient in terms of variations (ie. b is the variation in Y that can be explained by variation in X)? How does this relate to r^2?
How can the weird advertising strategy employed by the walk-in tax prep places be worth it to the owners?
How do the economics of hiring minimum-wage sandwich board carriers work? [more inside]
I just read this in passing: "The State of Washington pretty well went broke on the Townsend Plan (during the 1930s) without getting the economic benefits it had hoped for. (I simplify, but it's a reasonable summary.)" I can find references to Francis Townsend, and his plan. What I haven't been able to find are any specific references to the state of Washington trying it out, with middling to bad effects. Anyone? Bueller? Thanks in advance.
Simple economics simulation for demonstrating economic concepts and instilling a gut feel for what various regulatory interventions would do? [more inside]
Help me get my head around the rationale or philosophy behind the budget for the U.S. Department of Defense. According to my rough numbers, it is more than 10 times that of the Department of Education. What is the justification / business case? Jobs? DARPA? China? I don't get it. Please enlighten me.
Media mail doesn't seem to make economic sense, and I'm curious why it exists... [more inside]
Economics for clotheshorses: Help me learn how consumer goods and services & manufacturing and business practices have changed for better and/or worse. [more inside]
I've heard it said that (in theory) the advent of a cure for cancer would cause a serious financial crisis because of the vast scale of the healthcare complex devoted to current treatments. So, the obvious question: Is there any credible evidence that promising (not woo-woo) therapies for diseases such as cancer and diabetes have been derailed because of the sheer scale of financial and institutional resources invested in the status quo?
How do I make microeconomics fun? [more inside]
From a Reuters newsreport about Greece's government response plan to their economic meltdown: "From 1. Jan. 2011, every transaction above 1,500 euros between natural persons and businesses, or between businesses, will not be considered legal if it is done in cash. Transactions will have to be done through debit or credit cards" Are they doing this for any other reason than making it easier to collect a sales tax? How can they enforce it? What will happen if someone pays for an item with over 1500 euros in cash, will someone repossess it? Have other countries done something like this?
I am watching this yale lecture on game theory and the Nash equilibrium. Please explain why the cost coefficient is exponential. [more inside]
When I was in 4th (maybe 5th) grade, we were shown a series of educational programs where a dude with magical powers helped kids solve everyday problems (what leisure activity is the best? how should I invest my allowance to get what I most desire?) through basic ecnomic principles. What is this show? [more inside]
The story of how Corporations became legal people using the 14th amendment is pretty famous. But that's a US phenomenon. How did it work out in other countries? Are corporations legal people in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia etc? [more inside]
Help a student decide on a college: Mines or DU. [more inside]
Enlisting Armchair Economists: Help me find articles on a variety of economic topics. [more inside]
Profit has been an effective motivator for progress in a variety of areas in our society. But often when left unchecked by regulation or social norms, the drive for profits leads to exploitation and abuse. What are some examples of systems where profit is still an effective driver, but where regulations do a good job of curbing abuse?
What common salad bar items provide the best ratio of weight versus nutrient value for optimal cost-effectiveness? [more inside]
With hundreds of years of accumulated data on how economies 'work' available for analysis, how is it possible that it is still unclear (it seems) whether or not - and to what extent - a government should boost an economy that is in a slowdown? [more inside]
"Sweatshops"? Overseas labor. looking for pros and cons; discussion on how to define/evaluate whether work done overseas is beneficial or harmful for the workers and country involved. [more inside]
What was the economic impact of Jim Crow? [more inside]
I used to have a really nice chart showing the growth of the US GDP from the early 1800s through now. I think it was a Fed chart with the recession eras shaded. Can anyone help me find this?
What if all the major world economies defaulted on their external debts at once? [more inside]
Is it better, environmentally speaking, to buy a physical CD for £6 and have it mailed to me, or to buy a digital copy for £7? [more inside]
Why is my energy company asking me to cut back on energy use? The grocery store doesn't try to get me to buy less food. The gas station doesn't try to help me get better mileage. [more inside]
Considering grad school for public policy, economics, international development. Help me sort out my life. [more inside]
Do-Gooder Needs Help With Amusing Slackronym! [more inside]
Did ancient greeks pay for their tickets to the theatre? The Romans for their seats at the Circus? [more inside]
[Economics101Filter] How is it that the cost of living can go up, but salaries stay the same? Economics n00b questions inside. [more inside]
Trying to understand issues around cricket as compared to baseball -- player drafting, financing, culture/conduct, etc. -- hoping an enthusiast can help me. [more inside]
Examples of anything that conservatives DON'T think would benefit from the free market? [more inside]
Does anyone have any experience with the USDA Graduate School in DC? Is this an acceptable place to do prerequisites for graduate programs? [more inside]