Friday, November 10, 2006

The Economist Blog on Overfishing

The Economist magazine has a new blog (which I am a little too excited about) called Free exchange and one of their first posts is about overfishing: why it is a problem and one possible solution.

Here is one excerpt I liked:
I have met many people who, in their quest for health and oneness with nature, eschew all meat but happily eat fish twice a day. This I find ironic, since, whatever the environmental effects of industrial farms, they are as nothing compared to the probleme of overfishing.
And another:
The counterincentives in the fishing industry, unfortunately, are particularly poor: everyone likes to eat inexpensive fish, and the fish aren't cute, or running through our back yards where we can see them.
They propose a solution where the government caps the amount of a certain fish that can be sold by restaurants and grocery stores.

Old Posts on Thomas Schelling

Since I brought him up in class, I thought i would link to two posts that I created last year about Thomas Schelling and his work on applications of game theory.

First, a summary of two his main accomplishments that I posted when he won the Nobel prize last year.

Also, a post on a concept of his called "focal points."

Feel free to add to the discussion we started last year on Schelling.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

How Education Levels Affect Marriage

Economist Greg Mankiw links to a Wall Street Journal article that examines the relationship between education levels and marriage:
increased education leads to better marriages and stronger families. College graduates are less likely to divorce -- and more specifically, families with highly educated mothers are half as likely to split. So says an upcoming article in Demographic Research by Steven P. Martin, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland. Looking at marriages that began between 1990 and 1994, Mr. Martin found that, of marriages in which the wife had a college education (or more), only 16.5% dissolved in the first 10 years, compared with 38% in which the wife had only a high-school diploma.
Any ideas on why this connection exists?

(Source: Greg Mankiw's Blog)

Economics of Voting

In honor of the elections a few days ago, I think the question of why people vote is an interesting one. Statistically, the probability that your vote will decide the election is basically 0%. Additionally, it is costly in terms of time and effort to vote. Therefore, why do people vote? (I am not by any means saying that people should not vote, I am just interested in why people are compelled to do something that on the face of it seems to have no concrete benefit).

Here are some additional resources for the question and discussion:

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Economics of the Weather

The authors of Freakonomics have an article in the New York Times Magazine describing recent research in how the weather affects economics. Two main ideas:
  • Rainfall seems to have a significant effect on violent crime, both because increased drought tends to lead to more civil war and because riots in cities are dampened by rainfall
  • Research by two economists estimates the global warming will cause an increase in agricultural profits and mortality rates by the end of the century

Any thoughts on this research? Any other ways you can think of applying weather in economics?

(Source: Freakonomics Blog)