Tuesday , August 20 2019
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Cyril Morong: Dangerous Economist

Cyril Morong, who teaches economics at San Antonio College, is the Dangerous Economist. Cyril picks up on some very interesting articles in the news with his own comments. This blog is very easy to read and great for people wanting to see how economic principles appear in everyday news.

New Braunfels businesses fooled into taking movie money

By Bryan Kirk of The San Antonio Express-News. Funny story. It has pictures of the fake money. "Reports that several New Braunfels businesses have been fooled into accepting money used as props in movies is being investigated by the New Braunfels Police Department.Officials said Tuesday that a number of people in the area have accepted movie money without realizing it is fake.According to a New Braunfels police news release, the money looks real enough at first glance, but there are...

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Can scientific thinking help entrepreneurs?

See A Scientific Approach to Entrepreneurial Decision Making: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial by Arnaldo Camuffo, Alessandro Cordova, Alfonso Gambardella and Chiara Spina (the first three are with Bocconi University, not sure about Spina).Maybe science can help, but entrepreneurship always takes place in the face of uncertainty. Maybe science can help but there will never be a sure thing. What if another entrepreneur is doing the same study you are doing right now and you both...

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College Still Pays Off, but Not for Everyone

By Josh Mitchell of The WSJ. Excerpts: "Investing in a college degree still pays off for most students with higher salaries and greater wealth, but in recent years it has become riskier, splitting graduates more widely into haves and have-nots.“It just has not been the blanket guarantee of following the same path to prosperity that the earlier generations followed,” says economist William Emmons of the St. Louis Federal Reserve.There are three related shifts causing economists to...

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Why Rate Cuts Don’t Help Much Anymore

By Austan Goolsbee. Excerpt: "Take spending on consumer durables. A recent study by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the University of California, San Diego, notes that these purchases occur in lumpy spurts. People tend to spend nothing on such items for long periods, then spend a lot all at once, when money is cheap and prices are enticing. The problem now is that once-in-a-lifetime offers don’t generate the same excitement if they are repeated every...

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San Antonio, Poverty and Economic Segregation

See Another haunting reminder about economic segregation, San Antonio Express-News editorial. Important issue, but in some ways, San Antonio is similar to the rest of the nation. Excerpt:"About 20 percent of African American and Hispanic residents live in poverty, compared with 10 percent of Anglos."But this is very similar to the country as a whole.  The poverty rate for non-Hispanic Whites was 8.7 percent in 2017. For Blacks it was 21.2 percent. For Hispanics was 18.3 percent. So the...

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Texas A & M economists study cheating (and how much might not depend on being rich or poor)

Study: Richer or poorer, cheaters cheat by Lynn Brezosky of The San Antonio Express-News. If people don't cheat as much as they could possibly get away with, does it mean they are not always following their self-interest? Excerpts: "Are people more likely to cheat when times are tough? A team of behavioral economists from Texas A&M University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on New York traveled to a remote village in Guatemala to answer that question. What they found...

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Could we up with too few robots rather than too many in the future?

See This Economy Is Not Aging Gracefully: The American population is getting older, and that has devastating consequences for the economy. Could robots save us? by Eduardo Porter of The New York Times. "Consider the bluntest measure of progress: economic growth. Comparing growth across American states that are aging at different speeds, researchers from Harvard’s Medical School and the RAND Corporation concluded that a 10 percent increase in the share of the population over 60 reduced...

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Immigrants and Western Values

Here is a letter I sent to The WSJ. See Assimilation of the ‘Other’ and Immigration: There may be many in “non-Western” countries who want to come here because they already believe in our values. "Amy Wax “argued that the U.S. should reduce immigration from non-Western countries because those migrants aren’t likely to assimilate as smoothly into American society as Western immigrants do” (“Where Amy Wax and Her Critics Agree,” op-ed by Mark Bauerlein, July 29).Given that Asian-Americans...

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Tradeoffs and anti-trust policy

Life is full of tradeoffs. Even in anti-trust policy, which is supposed to make our economy more competitive. See FTC Antitrust Probe of Facebook Scrutinizes Its Acquisitions: Regulators examining whether social-media giant bought companies to neutralize possible rivals. Excerpts: "The Federal Trade Commission is examining Facebook Inc. FB -1.92% ’s acquisitions as part of its antitrust investigation into the social-media giant,...

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Wealth And The Middle Class

See Families Go Deep in Debt to Stay in the Middle Class: Wages stalled but costs haven’t, so people increasingly rent or finance what their parents might have owned outright by AnnaMaria Andriotis, Ken Brown and Shane Shifflett of The WSJ.This article has lots of interesting data. But things might not be as bad as the headline indicates. Although the middle class has shrunk, the upper class has grown more than the lower class.The article mentions that wealth has increased, in percentage...

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