Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 512

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 527

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 534

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-settings.php on line 570

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Page::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1199

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_PageDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1244

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Category::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1391

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_CategoryDropdown::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/classes.php on line 1442

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class wpdb in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 306

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 103

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Object_Cache in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/cache.php on line 431

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/query.php on line 61

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/theme.php on line 1109

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 1266

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Dependencies in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/class.wp-dependencies.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Redefining already defined constructor for class WP_Http in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/http.php on line 61

Strict Standards: Non-static method unfancy_quote::init() should not be called statically in /home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-content/plugins/sem-unfancy-quote/sem-unfancy-quote.php on line 55
<br /> <b>Strict Standards</b>: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method unfancy_quote::strip_quotes() should not be called statically in <b>/home/martingo/martingordon.org/blog/wp-includes/plugin.php</b> on line <b>166</b><br /> Martin Gordon's Blog / economics

Move South, Live Longer

At the risk of driving more old people to South Florida, I'm going to link to a New York Times article by Marginal Revolutionist Tyler Cowen. The article is about all sorts of things economists have learned in the past year, and the one Professor Mankiw pointed out and I find I'm able to relate to the most (as someone who has gone the other way) is the part about people who live in warmer climates tend to have a higher life expectancy:

Extreme cold brings cardiovascular stress as human bodies struggle to adjust to the temperature; many of the deaths in these periods come through heart attacks. Heat waves tend to kill people who were already weakened and would have died soon anyway; cold periods bring additional people to the verge of death.

When retired people move to a warmer state, their life expectancy rises dramatically. In fact, 8 to 15 percent of the increase in American life expectancy over the last 30 years comes from people moving to warmer climates.

(He also mentions that more people die in cold periods than in homicides, although I think that may not be true here in Philadelphia. ;-))

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Now This Is Price Gouging…

Speaking of price gouging, Metroblogging Miami came across a gas station in Miami Beach that is charging $3.55 and up for a gallon of gas. This gas station is located on 41st St and Royal Palm Ave, and I would drive past it every day to and from school (my sister still does).

I'm taking back what I was originally going to write about this (which was that it is a terrible thing). After considering my last post a bit more, I suppose that if people are willing to pay this much for gas, then the gas station is entitled to charge that amount (during a state of emergency, this is not the case). Without another gas station within a 20 blocks radius and the first/last one encountered when going from/to the airport to Miami Beach, this might just be a result of monopolistic competition (and taking advantage of poor, innocent tourists).

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Fine Line Between Price Gouging and Business As Usual

Our favorite product pricing company, iSuppli, just released a report stating that the iPhone is carrying a 50% margin.

My prediction: There will be some yelling and screaming about how Apple is taking advantage of consumers. Come June, the same people will gobble up every last iPhone available, thereby justifying Apple's pricing.

Remember, kids, it's a fair price for someone if they're okay with paying that much. No one needs an iPhone, so Apple can choose whatever price they want for it.

[via Engadget Mobile]

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

These Are Just Links (brought to you by OCR)

I've been ridiculously busy with OCR (on-campus recruiting), aka trying to find a job for after graduation, so I haven't had much time to blog, let alone read half the links I open up from my RSS feeds. Here's just a few of them I opened up today and yesterday:

Get free Digital Life tickets. It looks like a cool little conference taking place in NYC in a few weeks. Tickets are cheap enough that I might have gone anyway, but this really seals it. If anyone else is going or wants to go, let me know to meet up.

Woz will be on the Colbert Report this Thursday, promoting his new book. Woz is a big prankster so expect some good laughs.


The Treo 750v will be the face of Windows Mobile in Europe.
The latest Business Week has the Cingular 8125 (by HTC) in a bunch of ads, so maybe they're just trying to please their two big licensees (BTW, does anyone else besides Palm and HTC make Windows Mobile phones anymore?).

Harvard Econ professor Gregory Mankiw talks about getting rid of the penny (again). I hate pennies and try to use my debit card most of the time to avoid them. We're already rounding gasoline to the nearest penny, why not round everything else to nearest nickel?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Job Boards and the Quest for Open Standards

We're going to see job boards pop up all over the place since it's a much easier way to monetize a site than traditional banner ads. Compare pulling in $200-$250 a job post guaranteed versus the crapshoot that is AdSense et al (click-thru rate, cost per impression, # of clicks and # of impressions are all variable). If you've got the traffic already (as 37signals, Om Malik and TechCrunch do), then it's a no-brainer, especially once you take into account the fact that geekier audiences are more likely to ignore ads.

Mike Arrington writes about how both Jason Fried of 37signals and Om Malik turned down offers to join forces. Mike envisioned a job posting API and all sorts of interoperability. The problem is that these job boards are simple revenue-generating machines. By keeping the boards closed from one another, each company looking to hire will have to pay Mike, Om, and 37signals a separate listing fee. If we open the system up, then employers only have to pay one fee and all but one job board site lose.

While the idea of a job board API for interoperability sounds great, I don't think it can come from a job board site (at least not one bolted on to a blog), it will have to come from the employers themselves. And since the employers are each competing with each other for the best talent, I don't see any of them really taking a lead on the project (see 37signals' response above). Dave Winer has volunteered to develop the API, and he possesses the objectivity necessary to do so (at least for the time being), but for the same reason Jason Fried and Om Malik didn't join forces with CrunchBoard, I don't see them adopting any API either.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On The Inefficiencies of Charity Work

Alex Tabarrok over at Marginal Revolution links to an article stating why charity runs and races are very inefficient economic activities (a part-time job where you donate all your income will generate much more for the charity) yet other aspects of the activity make it a better money-raiser than more efficient means. A few hours after I read that post, an email appeared in my inbox that was sent to everyone in the office:

Greetings,

I am riding in the Delaware MS Bike to the Bay with my daughter [name], a high school senior!

This is my 11th year of riding and fund-raising for MS.

My other kids are not available this year as my oldest daughter [name] is running a marathon in October and Scott is studying in China.

We are preparing for the 150 mile weekend by cycling more often and for longer periods of time.

Last year we contributed $3,531 to MS! The same as the previous year. You are all extremely generous. This year I am going back to the significant goal of $3,500.

[name] is again our honorary rider as we dedicate our ride to her. Others we know with MS are honored too.

Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable disease that randomly attacks your nervous system, wearing away the control you have over your body, e.g., numbness, paralysis and blindness. The research is making great progress and the local services are helping many.

It takes more than half of [the company's employees] to reach our goal, please help those with MS.

Sign up now — E-mail reply or use kitchen sign-up sheets. Checks to "MS Society" or cash can be submitted now or in late September.

You can use your credit cards as several did last year. www.msdelaware.org -> Epledge icon

Thanks,

[name]

(Names withheld to protect privacy; I left the donation link in there in case you're feeling generous :))

Isn't it great when economic theory works in real life? And this particular incident is especially great because it only took a few hours to prove the theory. Instant gratification!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

A Sentence

I saw this on Kent Newsome's blog. I'll take any excuse to get distracted from studying…

Here are the instructions:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Turn to page 161.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post it with these instructions.
  5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

Here's mine:
Finally, a fluctuating price may impose excessive risk on one or the other party.

From Krugman/Obstfeld, International Economics: Theory & Policy. Exciting, huh?

What's yours say?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

More on Melting Pennies

The folks at Marginal Revolution have a post on the melting of pennies and the discussion that follows is excellent (partly because I can follow all the finance-speak :))

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Pennies and the Arbitrage Opportunity of the Century

Saw an article in the Financial Times today (FT.com requires a sub, but I found it here for free) about how zinc and copper prices have shot through the roof in the past few weeks/months.

Zinc, in particular, has seen an astronomical price increase (55%) in the past three weeks. If it increases by the same amount again ($550 per ton), a pound of pennies (160 of them) will be worth $1.61 and you could get more by melting them down and selling the metal (in theory).

So what does that mean? Will our pennies no longer be pegged to the dollar? If the metal in a pound of pennies were worth $3.20, would our pennies be worth 2 cents?

Either way, it's time to start stocking up on pennies.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Argentine Hyperinflation (or lack thereof)

During Econ lecture yesterday, we discussed hyperinflation and discussion turned to Argentina, particularly around the turn of the century (the one five years ago) when the fixed exchange rate was broken. After a bit more discussion, he concluded that perhaps it was a poor example. After some thought, I've come up with some reasons as to why there was no hyperinflation during the devaluation of 2001-2002:

  1. Income in pesos was effectively cut by 1/3 and so purchasing power was in line with discounted prices.
  2. The "corralito" curbed the purchasing power of those wage-earners whose income was still in dollars to levels comparable to that of peso-earners.
  3. Since firms were previously indifferent to receiving dollars or pesos (to a certain extent), the structure of some multinationals might have been such that expenses being paid in dollars and revenue being received in pesos. As a result, companies were forced to dismiss employees and unemployment shot up. A high unemployment rate creates downward pressure on price levels which would have counteracted any possible inflation.

I am by no means an economist so hopefully I'll have a chance to discuss this with him (a real economist) next week to see what his thoughts on that matter are.