Author Archive

Why Textbook Prices Keep Climbing   Leave a comment

textbooksLink: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/03/353300404/episode-573-why-textbook-prices-keep-climbing

Summary: Something strange is going on in the textbook market. The price has steeply increased over the past decade–and they’re only getting higher. There is a disconnect between the chooser (the professors) and the buyers (the students). Technically, the professor is the consumer, and they’re spending their students’ money. The podcast offers the opposite: high school textbooks, where costs are kept low because the books are paid for by the schools.

Original Air Date: October 3, 2014

Length: 14 minutes 56 seconds

Discussion Question/ Prompt: Propose a solution to the rising textbook price problem. (Example: a price ceiling? professor awareness of prices? incentives for lower prices?)

Episode 576: When Women Stopped Coding   Leave a comment

coding womenLink: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/17/356944145/episode-576-when-women-stopped-coding

Summary: How did women go from being the pioneers of the coding industry to… the sidelines? The answer directly relates to the number of women studying computer science, and what happened in 1984 to change everything. A factor, as it turns out, is the marketing ploys aimed at women.

Original Air Date: October 17, 2014

Length: 17 minutes 12 seconds

 

How To Steal A Million Barrels Of Oil   Leave a comment

nigerian stolen oilLink: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/29/359624435/episode-578-how-to-steal-a-million-barrels-of-oil

Summary: The Nigerian Internet hosts many ads for stolen oil, inspiring the question: how? Why?  Nigeria has one of the top oil reserves, and it is controlled by the government. They lose about $10 million a day from oil theft. This podcast dissects how they get away with it.

Original Air Date: October 29, 2014

Length: 19 minutes 30 seconds

Discussion Question: The podcasts says that this problem is for the Nigerian government to solve. Should it be an international issue?

Prompt: The podcast does not reflect on the legally sold oil, and the effect the stolen oil has on that market. Write how you think the stolen oil would change the market for legal crude oil in the international arena, paying specific attention to the quantity and the prices.

Why IBM Is Paying $1.5 Billion To Lose A Business   2 comments

UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 21:  The IBM 'Power6' chip displayed at a product launch in central London, U.K., Monday, May 21, 2007. IBM introduced servers with its Power6 processor, a chip that lets users boost computer performance or reduce energy use, stepping up competition with Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.  (Photo by Graham Barclay/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Link: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/why-ibm-paying-15-billion-lose-business

Summary: IBM has fell 7 percent off its stock price this week. IBM is selling its chip making company to GlobalFoundries for $1.5 billion over the next three years. It would sound unconventional, except when looking to the future. IBM will be receiving chips for the next ten years from GlobalFoundries. Deals like this are exceedingly rare, but IBM has realized truth: it would be more costly to shut down than to sell, and they may be saving money in the end.

Original Air Date: October 20, 2014

Length: 2 minutes 22 seconds

Prompt / Discussion: Discuss how this type of deal differs from collusion.

Outsiders By Design   Leave a comment

Outsiders-by-Design-Photoroll-300x186Link: http://freakonomics.com/2014/09/18/outsiders-by-design-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast-2/

Summary: This podcast was inspired by the death of Gary Becker, an economist who’s work was inspired by the idea of discrimination. His approach was called ‘rational choice’–that people will make rational decisions to maximize their own utility and wealth. In the end, a lot of people strongly disagreed with his research. The program then goes on to illustrate two more examples of medical researchers who were outcast by their fields of study. By the end, however, Gary Becker won a Nobel Prize.

Original Air Date: September 18, 2014

Length: 41 minutes 40 seconds

Prompt / Discussion: Sometimes people will not agree with your research conclusions or ideas, such is the case with Gary Becker. Why do you think Becker’s ideas were/are so controversial?

Fixing the World, Bang-For-The-Buck Edition: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast   Leave a comment

Fixing-the-World-300x200Link: http://freakonomics.com/2014/10/02/fixing-the-world-bang-for-the-buck-edition-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

Summary: Return on Investment (ROI) analyzes at the most efficient way to spend money. An example given is the difference between curing malaria and HIV/AIDS. To cure malaria, it would cost about $1,000 per person, while it would cost ten times that to cure HIV/AIDS, and it is decided that they would rather save 10 people from malaria before they save one from HIV/AIDS.  The United Nations, with their Millennium Development Goals coming to a close, will be looking to set new goals in 2015, to be completed by 2030. One of the issued they will focus on is how they are setting goals, and how to be more efficient with the help of the Return on Investment analysis.

Original Air Date: October 2, 2014

Length: 43 minutes 34 seconds

Prompt / Discussion: You are a member of the United Nations, and are put in charge of coming up with new development goals for 2015. You have $100 billion to invest in various development aid. Discuss how you would prioritize between an important, expensive goal (such as getting all kids into school, which was one of the Millennium Development Goals), and something that might not be seen as highly important, but cost effective.

‘Special Shopping Day’ Overload   Leave a comment

shopping dayLink: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/special-shopping-day-overload

Summary: The number of shoppers on Black Friday was down this year (2014). Because of the ease in comparing prices online to find the best deal, Black Friday (and the whole weekend) has become a ritual team effort of mothers, daughters, and other relatives.

Original Air Date: December 1, 2014

Length: 1 minute 47 seconds

Discussion Question: Is the economy effecting how many people shop on the Black Friday weekend? Or is it something else that’s driving the number of shoppers down?