Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I don't have an answer. But I'd like to make a laundry list. (1) Women pay more to have their blouses dry cleaned then men. Is it possible that women are just different? (2) Women make less than men and their time preference heavily discounts the future. (3) Women have a lower marginal cost of time so they consume more of it. (4) The expected value of the benefits are aysmetrical to the actual benefits.
I welcome more suggestions.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
She was sitting at her table at Applebee’s laughing with her girlfriends. They were eating chocolate cheesecake for desert. The high school teenager thought about walking over to her and saying something like, “Your legs must be tired because you've been running through my mind all night.” His line intended to be witty and smart to show her how cool he is especially in front of her friends.
When she lights up a Marlboro Menthol 100, he changes his mind. He doesn’t want to date a smoker. What does smoking signal about the smoker? What does the pickup lines say about the teenager? In this op-ed I discuss what some experts think that smoking signals about the smoker.
I know men who go to bars to meet women. These men tell me, “Why else would a single woman go to a bar if they weren’t trying to meet a man?” Going to a bar like Jody’s or the Mississippi Brew signals a man’s intent to meet a woman. The problem of going to a bar to meet a mate is that there’s no separating equilibrium. In other words, it doesn’t sort or separate the winners from the losers. It’s easy for the losers to copy. Thus, you might hear a comment at the bar like, “I need to buy a Harley to impress her.” You might see a bright Corvette parked conspicuously by a bar patron to signal the worth of the mate. This is like the male peacock strutting his colorful feathers to impress the female peacock or the male gorilla beating his chest. Therefore, if one smokes to impress women by smoking Marlboros, it’s easy for the wimps to copy and doesn’t signal a rough and tough mate.
Smoking will attract some mates and discourage others. “You’re not my type,” a potential mate might say” when you light up a cigarette. According to Steven Landsburg, The Armchair Economist, “Smoking signals, among other things, a taste for risky behavior (and hence a greater likelihood of, say, skydiving) and a relatively low value on the happiness of one's loved ones.” The Slate columnist continues, “For me, smokingmight be worth the cancer risk. But if I account for the fact that my cancer hurts not only me but also those who love me, I might choose not to smoke.” It might be hard to love someone in sickness and health when one’s mate is dying from lung cancer that was self-inflicted by smoking 30 years.
Recently, on a National Public Radio talk show, All Things Considered, stated that “in California, gays are 70% more likely to smoke than nonsmokers.” Don’t jump to the conclusion that all smokers are gay. What does smoking and being gay convey? Gays typically are childless and childless people are more likely to smoke. Couples with children often worry about second-hand smoke and also pay higher insurance costs so most choose not to light up. Smoking might signal that to potential mates that you do not intend to have children.
Tyler Cowen, author of Discover Your Inner Economist, told me, “Why do people in New York City smoke so much? Social networkers smoke and in Manhattan it’s more important to signal that you are cool.” So in order to fit it and socialize, people smoke to show that are like the social crowd they want to be part of. In other words, if the boss smokes, you’d stand a better chance of promotion if you smoke.
According to Robert H. Frank, a Cornell University professor and author 10 books including The Winner Take All Society, “Consultants hired by the tobacco industry have testified in Congress that the main reason teenagers smoke is that their friends smoke. So many teenagers smoke because they just want to fit in.”
So when our teenager approaches the girls at Applebees, he has a several motivations not to approach the girl for a date. One, she is telling him that she’s prone to taking health risks. Two, she is easily influenced by her friends. Three, she likely not to want to bear children. Maybe a better line would be, “I was going to ask you out, but I don’t date women who run in packs.”
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
The United States imports more than she exports. When imports are greater than exports, a trade deficit like the one shown on the graph results. How does the United States routinely run a trade deficit?
The econ 101 answer is that foreign investors buy stock, bonds, and government T-bills in the United States to counter balance the out flow of money going to buy imports. So the money going out equals the money coming in to buy our assets. In other words, were selling America.
The United States has a low rate of national savings (NS = Y - C - G). Since the U. S. has a high rate of spending, this infers a low savings rate and a high flow of capital inflows to finance the spending. In theory, the USD should depreciate and foreign goods will become more expensive and the flow would reverse. It is my opinion, that as long as the United States has a stable government that will honor its contracts and maintains relatively high interest rates, the U. S. will continually run a trade deficit.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
The law of demand states that as the price of a good decreases in price, people will consume more of it. In the cartoon to the right, an obsese child is eating a lot of everything (click to enlarge). The couch slopes downward and to the right. Does this prove the law of demand?