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Home / Tag Archives: Everyday economics

Tag Archives: Everyday economics

Can you be confident about an economy you can’t see?

Canada's economy may be on life support, but it is still hanging on. Even on streets that seem empty and shuttered, there are a few businesses getting by, or even thriving. The bookstore on Beechwood Avenue looks closed, but every so often a customer pops by to pick up an order from the bookrack hidden in the vestibule. At Life of Pie, the neighbourhood bakery/restaurant, the tables are stacked up, and the lights dimmed - but in the back the kitchen is humming, as the staff works hard to...

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The behavioural economics of the Marie Kondo method

Marie Kondo is the guru behind the best-selling Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy. For some people, like me, her method works. One possible reason for its success is that, underneath it all, there are some sound behavioural economics principles. 1. Shift the reference point Marie Kondo recommends dividing one's possessions into five categories and tidying them a category at a time: first clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous and finally sentimental items. Within each...

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Does (cohort) size matter?

In the US, the portion of young men between the ages of 18 to 34 who report having at least one partner has fallen substantially in recent years (sorry for the small image size):Charts similar to the one above have prompted talk of a sex recession. Yet worries that Millennials are killing sex (as well as napkins, diamonds, and casual dining) may be premature. This data comes from the GSS, which samples a few hundred people between the ages of 18 and 34. The 95 percent confidence intervals...

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Robinson Crusoe and the Carbon Tax

Suppose I impose a carbon tax on Robinson Crusoe. But I give him a rebate exactly equal to the tax he pays. That tax plus rebate will have no effect on Robinson Crusoe's behaviour. He knows that if he cuts carbon by 1kg, and pays $1 less tax, his rebate also falls by $1, so his net tax (= tax minus rebate) stays the same. He has no incentive to cut carbon. Now imagine an archipelago of 100 identical islands, each with one identical Robinson Crusoe clone. And suppose I impose the same tax...

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The Federal Debt of the United States, 1791 to 2018: A Presidential Ranking

A recent story in the National Post by Tristan Hopper highlighted the “utterly unbelievable scale” of current US federal public debt levels.  As is always the case, it is useful to get some historical perspective on the evolution of the U.S. federal debt over time – which under President Trump has become the biggest U.S. nominal gross federal debt ever at about 22 trillion dollars.  It is also interesting to see how US federal debt levels have varied across assorted administrations over...

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The Meaning of Life, Labour Supply, and all that

Here are the results of my Twitter poll: This post is my interpretation of those results. I recognise all the usual caveats. I am more concerned about bias in the sampling method than in the small size of the sample (because it's not that small). The people who follow me on Twitter (or who follow those who follow me and reTweeted it) are probably richer than average, so less in need of the extra $50, so more likely to choose B. But they are also more likely to be economists, or to "think...

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The macroeconomics of Stanley Cup dynasties

This post was written by Davin Raiha at the Ivey Business School. As the NHL playoffs inch closer to the Stanley Cup, it is an appropriate time to reflect on how economic conditions and forces have impacted competition within the NHL over the past few season. A few seasons ago – specifically during the 2015 Stanley Cup final series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning – I noticed how an interesting circumstance was emerging that might impact the competitive landscape of...

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The macroeconomics of Stanley Cup dynasties

This post was written by Davin Raiha at the Ivey Business School. As the NHL playoffs inch closer to the Stanley Cup, it is an appropriate time to reflect on how economic conditions and forces have impacted competition within the NHL over the past few season. A few seasons ago – specifically during the 2015 Stanley Cup final series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning – I noticed how an interesting circumstance was emerging that might impact the competitive landscape of...

Read More »

Some basic facts about the distribution of sex

The Canadian Community Health Survey is an annual voluntary survey, carried out by Statistics Canada, that collects information about a wide range of health outcomes and risk factors. As part of the 2013-14 survey, 47,764  Canadians between the ages of 15 and 49 were asked about their sexual activity - whether or not they have ever had sex, and if they have had sex in the past year. The majority of those surveyed reported being sexually active, as shown in the graph below. For example,...

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Some basic facts about the distribution of sex

The Canadian Community Health Survey is an annual voluntary survey, carried out by Statistics Canada, that collects information about a wide range of health outcomes and risk factors. As part of the 2013-14 survey, 47,764  Canadians between the ages of 15 and 49 were asked about their sexual activity - whether or not they have ever had sex, and if they have had sex in the past year. The majority of those surveyed reported being sexually active, as shown in the graph below. For example,...

Read More »