What does the price of a bacon cheeseburger tell you about the state of the economy? Perhaps the Big Mac contains the “special sauce” to decoding the current consumer condition — or maybe it’s one of the many other oddball economic indicators that take into account everything from nail polish to men’s undies to corpses. [More]
When the Rebel Alliance took out the two Death Stars, first one (Star Wars IV: A New Hope ) and then the other (The Return of the Jedi), fans of the Star Wars universe probably cheered alongside Luke, Leia, Han, Wedge, Lando* and the rest of the gang. But what about the people living in the Empire — what would the destruction of those evil space stations — and thus, the fall of the Empire — have meant to the galactic economy?
Sites like AirBNB and Sidecar let people obtain services in a peer-to-peer way that was impossible before the Internet, but are those services disrupting or supplementing the industries they’re in? Is a traveler staying in a spare bedroom through AirBNB hurting a city by not paying hotel taxes, or is their longer stay just as beneficial to the city and its whole economy? [More]
For everyday over-the-counter drugs like painkillers or allergy medicine, do you pick up the brand name, or a generic? Even if the inactive ingredients and binders are slightly different, the brand-name and store-brand meds that sit side-by-side on the shelf should have the same effects. One costs a lot less. So why does anyone buy name-brand over-the-counter drugs? [More]
A study finds that the closer your last name is to the end of the alphabet, the faster you make purchasing decisions. And yes, the behavior is ingrained in us based on how we all used to line up in school.
A new study shows that increased minimum wage does not increase unemployment.
The cheapest time to get your airline tickets is 8 weeks in advance, says an economist who came up with a fancy formula, âˆA = gUG + min(k-g, (1-g)(1-r)), to figure it out.
Online news site The Daily Beast is apparently tired of this whole “floundering economy” thing, so it got more than a dozen economists and historians to come together and issue a manifesto yesterday calling on the U.S. government to “reboot America.” By the end of the day, the number of experts supporting the manifesto increased to more than 40. They argue that the government has to help return lost purchasing power to the unemployed and must use tax cuts and stimulus to boost overall demand, or we’ll never make it out of this slump.
As a nation, we saved more of our paychecks last month than any time since last September–nearly 4% of income went unspent. That worries economists, because it means we’re not spending at a high enough rate to support an economic recovery. But as the Washington Post notes, since unemployment remains high and most of the recent wage growth came from the government, consumers aren’t exactly comfortable with buying something shiny and new just because it’s on sale.
Paul Krugman, economist and NYT columnist thinks so, and suggests that now is not the time to radically cut back in spending. He says that recent speeches coming out of Europe seem to be taken from the Hoover playbook, and he’s worried.
You might have noticed a few headlines this morning about the good jobs news — 290,000 new jobs were added in March — coupled with the rather grim realization that the unemployment rate climbed to 9.9%. What’s up with that?
The people on that People of Walmart website may wear some ugly t-shirts, but at least they’re honest when it comes to dealing with strangers. According to a new study that looked at how markets, religion, and the size of a community impact concepts of fairness and punishment, Walmart grocery shoppers in Missouri came out on top in terms of treating the other side fairly and punishing selfishness.
The NY Post says that they’ve found a correlation between economic growth and same store sales at Walmart. Their theory is that as the economy improves, people run away from the big blue box.
An oddly high-produced music video rap battle between economists John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek. It crystallizes and communicates the differences between macroeconomic and classic liberal free-market capitalism through the magic of hiphop. It seems weighted towards Hayek but it’s entertaining nonetheless, even though I’m sure Tea Party folks probably email it to their friends with lots of dancing emoticons and angel gifs. What side do you fall on, Keynes or Hayek?
Newsday is a Long Island newspaper. Some people bought it for $650 million and put it behind a pay wall. Three months later, they’ve got 35 subscribers. Yes, 35.