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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.

The CPI increased 1.4% in 2020

The 1.4% means that the CPI in December 2020 (260.474) was 1.4% higher than what it was in December 2019 (258.811).The 260.474 means that what cost $100 in 1982 cost $260.47 in December 2020.Now the CPI can go up and down during the course of the year and the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates it for every month. So if it increased every month but then fell quite a bit in December, it might not look like there was much inflation.They also calculate an average CPI over the twelve...

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Monkeys seem to be selfish and rational

From Marginal Revolution. "At the Uluwatu temple in Bali, monkeys mean business. The long-tailed macaques who roam the ancient site are infamous for brazenly robbing unsuspecting tourists and clinging on to their possessions until food is offered as ransom payment. Researchers have found they are also skilled at judging which items their victims value the most and using this information to maximise their profit. Shrewd macaques prefer to target items that humans are most likely...

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A Special Valentine’s Message On Romantic Love

But first some links to related news stories: The first one is Researchers at AAAS Annual Meeting Explore the Science of Kissing. The following quote gives you an idea of what it is all about: "Kissing, it turns out, unleashes chemicals that ease stress hormones in both sexes and encourage bonding in men, though not so much in women." I guess economists call this "interdependent utility functions." Meaning that what brings one person pleasure brings brings the other person pleasure,...

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The curious task of economics and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers

The Wall Street Journal had an article last week about Princeton professor Cecilia Rouse being nominated to be the chair of Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).  See Cecilia Rouse, Tapped to Be Biden’s Top Economist, Brings Labor-Market Focus: The Princeton dean would be the first Black chair of the Council of Economic Advisers by Paul Kiernan.A passage in that article reminded me of what Nobel prize winning economist F.A. Hayek called "curious task of economics."Here is the passage:"The...

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Zombies might return and fighting them is art as well as science

See Zombies Could Stunt the Bank Recovery: Europe’s lockdown-support programs risk creating the kind of festering bad-debt problems that damaged its economy after the financial crisis by Rochelle Toplensky of The WSJ. Excerpts:"The region’s generous lockdown-support programs and patchwork of insolvency laws could create so-called zombie firms—inefficient companies kept alive by cheap debt. Last month, the European Central Bank said this remains a risk.""Following both the global...

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Another Semester Has Started

Welcome to any new students. The entries usually have something to do with a basic economic principle that is related to a recent news story.Here is something I wrote for The Ranger (the school paper of San Antonio College where I used to teach) back in 2011 titled "Why is college so hard?"Students might wonder why college, and SAC in particular, is hard. This might sound trite, but I think the faculty at SAC want students to achieve success in life and that means that classes have to be...

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Financial Rewards for College Students Could Help Curb the Pandemic

A new study suggests ways of structuring payments to persuade even impulsive students to behave more cautiously By Seema Jayachandran She is an economics professor at Northwestern University. Excerpts:"There are several ways such programs might work:A university might announce that each week that students test negative, they will be paid $50. Once they tested positive, they would no longer be eligible for rewards.The rewards could be structured as a one-time payment of $700 at the end...

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Zombies might return and fighting them is art as well as science

See Zombies Could Stunt the Bank Recovery: Europe’s lockdown-support programs risk creating the kind of festering bad-debt problems that damaged its economy after the financial crisis by Rochelle Toplensky of The WSJ. Excerpts:"The region’s generous lockdown-support programs and patchwork of insolvency laws could create so-called zombie firms—inefficient companies kept alive by cheap debt. Last month, the European Central Bank said this remains a risk.""Following both the global...

Read More »

The CPI increased 1.4% in 2020

The 1.4% means that the CPI in December 2020 (260.474) was 1.4% higher than what it was in December 2019 (258.811).The 260.474 means that what cost $100 in 1982 cost $260.47 in December 2020.Now the CPI can go up and down during the course of the year and the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates it for every month. So if it increased every month but then fell quite a bit in December, it might not look like there was much inflation.They also calculate an average CPI over the twelve months...

Read More »

Monkeys seem to be selfish and rational

From Marginal Revolution. "At the Uluwatu temple in Bali, monkeys mean business. The long-tailed macaques who roam the ancient site are infamous for brazenly robbing unsuspecting tourists and clinging on to their possessions until food is offered as ransom payment. Researchers have found they are also skilled at judging which items their victims value the most and using this information to maximise their profit. Shrewd macaques prefer to target items that humans are most likely...

Read More »