Friday, March 25, 2016

Malnutrition in Cuba

I came across this passage today (link here):
... access to food is the Cuban people’s most pressing daily preoccupation and that many come up so short that, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, malnutrition is the plurality cause for hospital admissions in Cuba (41 percent).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

My Q&A about Broadway Economics with ECNMY.ORG

Link here

I am excited about the new website being formed in the UK, ECNMY.ORG, to help make economics more accessible.  They published an interview with me about Broadway Economics, which you can find here.  Excerpt:

From ‘Money Money Money’ (Mamma Mia) to ‘You Gotta Get A Gimmick’ (Gypsy), the site features a stack of songs from many different Broadway shows, from Evita to Once, and provides ways in that make concepts like marginal utility a little less intimidating.
We spoke to the person behind the site, economics professor Matthew Rousu.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Price discrimination in cruise lines

The major cruise lines are great at price discriminating - charging different prices to different consumers based on consumers' willingness-to-pay.  (See my previous post here for evidence.)  I went on a cruise over my spring break and on the first day, three couples were discussing the prices they paid:

Couple #1: Inside Room (which is least desirable).  The total price after taxes and fees was $1550.  This couple booked their trip just one week before the sail-away date.

Couple #2: Inside room.  The total price after taxes and fees was $2300.  This couple booked their trip four months ahead of time.  However, this couple also got a free beverage package (all alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks free throughout the cruise) and several meals at "specialty restaurants".

Couple #3: Balcony room, $2900, booked 4 months ahead of time.  This couple also received the free beverage package and the free meal package.

Another interesting note - couple #2 called a few days before the cruise departed and upgraded to a balcony room for $300 more, making their price $2600 for the exact same package couple #3 received (for $2900).

Three couples and four different prices, all for the same trip.  The cruise lines are good at extracting as much as they can from their customers.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

My new piece on the musical Hamilton


The brilliant tune ‘My Shot’ also illustrates several economic concepts. First, Hamilton sings about going to King’s College (which is now Columbia University) to gain more skills, as he claims “the problem is I’ve gotta lotta brains but no polish”. In another section of the song we hear from the character Mulligan, who’s an apprentice to a tailor. He echoes Hamilton’s aspirational desires when he sings: “I’m joining the rebellion cause I know it’s my chance to socially advance, instead of sewin’ some pants”.