Author Archive

Negative Oil   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/22/842095406/episode-993-negative-oil

Oil prices have officially fallen well below a dollar in the United States. This is extremely telling about the current state of the economy, considering this has never happened before.

Original Air Date: April 22 2020

Length: 16 minutes 22 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What can this tell us about the state of the global economy at the time of negative oil? If you were advising policy makers, how important would you say this event was or was not? Why?

13,000 Economists, 1 Question   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/01/09/794977811/episode-963-13-000-economists-1-question

At the American Economic Association annual conference, some of the brightest economists answer the question, “What is the most useful idea in economics?”. Answers range from the idea of opportunity cost to thinking at the margin.

Original Air Date: January 10 2020

Length: 21 minutes 1 second

Discussion Prompt: What do you believe is this most useful idea in economics and why?

Written Prompt: Develop your own list of your top ten (or top 5) ‘most useful ideas’ in economics. Be sure to explain WHY you’ve made your selections.  You may use up to 3 of those referenced in the podcast, with your own explanations! The rest must be your idea. 

Lives Vs. The Economy   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/15/835571843/episode-991-lives-vs-the-economy

Economists discuss the valuation of human life model to determine when the appropriate time to open the economy is. Federal agencies typically value a human life at $10 million. Many economists recently have said that right now, it is not worth it to open the economy back up.

Original Air Date: April 15, 2020

Length: 25 minutes 24 seconds

The Great Potato Giveaway   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/23/843437140/the-great-potato-giveaway

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the agriculture supply chain has been suffering. Although the shelves at grocery stores are not fully stocked, farmers are giving away their goods, or even turning it into fertilizer.

Original Air Date: April 23 2020

Length: 9 minutes 25 seconds

Discussion Prompt: How will this affect the agriculture industry? What does this tell us about how these markets are functioning? What solutions can you propose which would help the industry financially?

Why Sweden Isn’t Locking Down   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/09/831325721/why-sweden-isnt-locking-down

The majority of countries across the globe are enforcing mandatory lockdowns, but not Sweden. All businesses are remaining open, including schools, night clubs and gyms. Sweden’s head epidemiologist states that this approach is more sustainable and less disruptive to peoples’ lives.

Original Air Date: April 9, 2020

Length: 9 minutes 57 seconds

Discussion Prompt: Do you agree or disagree with Sweden’s approach to this pandemic? Why or why not?

Note: Sweden’s chief epidemiologist has since admitted this policy resulted in “too many deaths

Investors Put Their Money on Tesla   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/25e51b54-b9eb-4515-807e-730302345fad

Shares in Tesla stock doubled in price from May to December of 2019. Currently, there is not much competition in the electric automobile industry. There is concern, however, that competition from well known brands such as Audi, BMW, or Mercedes will hinder sales for Tesla due to consumer loyalty.

Original Air Date: February 10, 2020

Length: 17 minutes 14 seconds

Posted May 5, 2020 by meaghanprice3 in Finance, Market structure

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Coronavirus and The Gig Economy   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/07/829264795/coronavirus-and-the-gig-economy

Delivery and service workers are considered essential right now. Without them, the economy would likely be in even more trouble than it already is. That being said, they are paid a very low wage, and some are not even being provided with adequate protection such as masks and gloves.

Original Air Date: April 7, 2020

Length: 9 minutes 56 seconds

Discussion Prompt: With the current increased demand for Instacart and other grocery delivery services, do you think demand will stay high after the pandemic? Use economic thinking to analyze what you think is happening in the market now. How do you think will this market change once the pandemic ends?

Three Ideas to Fight the Recession   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/01/825639315/three-ideas-to-fight-the-recession

Many economists believe the stimulus provided in the CARES Act may end up not being enough to combat the current economic downturn. Economists are suggesting three things: using automatic triggers, such as a rise in the unemployment rate, to trigger future payments by the government; allowing individuals to receive their money through mobile apps such as Venmo; and allowing small businesses to refinance existing debt.

Original Air Date: April 1, 2020

Length: 9 minutes 20 seconds

Written Assignment Prompt: Discuss the pros and cons of the ideas discussed in this podcast. Which, if any, do you think will have the best impact on the economy? What ideas can you come up with that may help combat the effects of this recession?

‘Saving The Economy Versus Saving Lives’: An Ethicist and Economist Consider a Coronavirus Question   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2020/04/01/economist-ethicist-coronavirus

This podcast discusses how part of the economic solution could actually save lives by providing assistance to the healthcare system. Large scale randomized testing may be critical in order to acquire more accurate data on the spread of the virus. In addition, they discuss the importance of complete transparency with government agents.

Original Air Date: April 1, 2020

Length: 47 minutes 9 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What is the idea at the root of this framing of the question as a tradeoff between saving the economy versus saving lives? After listening to this podcast, is it possible to save the economy and combat the pandemic? Do you think there is indeed a tradeoff? Why or why not? 

Discussion Prompt: Do you think how the U.S. is handling the pandemic will spark change in the healthcare system?

So, Should we Recycle?   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/12/741283641/episode-926-so-should-we-recycle

China used to purchase the majority of waste that the United States could not (or did not want to) recycle by themselves. After China stopped purchasing U.S. recyclables, many cities have given up on recycling. Some economists even believe recycling may do more harm than good.

Original air date: July 12, 2019

Length: 23 minutes 6 seconds

Discussion prompt: What are the costs and benefits associated with recycling? Given this information, is recycling ‘worth it’? Can you think of any strategies based in economic-thinking that might approach this problem differently?