Archive for the ‘Discussion prompt’ Category

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. 

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

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?

‘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?

The Race to Make Ventilators   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/31/824886286/episode-987-the-race-to-make-ventilators

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the healthcare industry is experiencing a shortage of ventilators. Without increased production, hundreds of thousands of individuals will die. Now, companies that have little to no experience producing ventilators are beginning to help supply them.

Original Air Date: March 31, 2020

Length: 24 minutes 3 seconds

Discussion Prompt: In what ways does this policy align with economic thinking? In what ways is it ‘out of step’ with economic thinking? Is this the most efficient way to produce ventilators, at least for the time being? How can the government incentivize companies to stay open and help produce parts for ventilators during this time? 

America Unemployed   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/27/822944544/episode-986-america-unemployed

Within the past week, over 3 million people have filed for unemployment, a record number in the United States. Unemployment insurance was intended to help people, while also providing motivation to seek work. Seeking work, however, is close to impossible when you cannot leave your home.

Original Air Date: March 28, 2020

Length: 22 minutes 58 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What are the incentives inherent in the unemployment insurance policy? Do you believe the pandemic will change who qualifies for unemployment/how accessible unemployment benefits in either the short- or the long-run? 

China’s New Normal   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/18/817995238/chinas-new-normal

China has been in lock down for over a month and a half. China has finally started to get things under control through travel restrictions and mandatory quarantining. Life is slowly beginning to go back to normal, indicating that things will get better.

Original Air Date: March 18, 2020

Length: 8 minutes 38 seconds

Discussion Prompt: What can other countries take away from China’s response to Covid-19? What should other countries do differently?

Where Do We Get $2,000,000,000,000?   Leave a comment

Link: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821787090/episode-985-where-do-we-get-2-000-000-000-000

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the U.S. government is pushing out a $2 trillion stimulus package. The Fed is also purchasing large quantities of U.S. Treasury bonds in order to stimulate the economy. This podcast discusses where this stimulus is coming from, and how it will effect the economy.

Original Air Date: March 26, 2020

Length: 20 minutes 29 seconds

Discussion Prompt: Why is demand for U.S. Treasury bonds so high right now? Will the stimulus package be enough to keep the economy safe from a recession?