Toilet Paper in a Pandemic

This probably isn't the best use of my time right now,  but maybe there's a teaching moment here. In the face of the COVID19 pandemic, folks in the US (and apparently most developed nations) have gone on a toilet paper buying spree.  One result besides the appearance of empty shelves, has been a lot nasty … Continue reading Toilet Paper in a Pandemic

What’s the LMS Worth?

Herein, against my better judgement, I wade into the Great Instructure social media wars of 2019.  ... The announcement triggered a great deal of, let's call it discussion, on social media, particularly Twitter. A lot of has gotten nasty and heated.  On the surface, the discussion seems to be about questions regarding what Instructure (or Canvas, or the data Instructure has collected) is "worth".  Specifically, is it worth the $2billion Thoma Bravo has valued it at and why would TB pay that?  Underlying the valuation question though, is the real concern.  Can we discern the plans and future for Canvas (and thereby schools, instructors, students, the higher ed system, pedagogy, etc) from this transaction?  There's roughly two camps. ...

Micro, Macro, and the Minimum Wage

Economists disagree. It's so common that there are jokes about.  For example, If all of the economists in the world were laid end-to-end they would scarcely reach a conclusion. and Economics is the only field in which two people can get a Nobel Prize for saying the opposite thing. Why?  I can't explain all of … Continue reading Micro, Macro, and the Minimum Wage

Some Links on Economics of Immigration

These are some links and key points on the economics of immigration for a guest talk I'm giving to a class tomorrow. Ten Facts About Immigration (policy memo paper by The Hamilton Project, 2010) Today's Immigrants Have More Diverse Backgrounds Than a Century Ago Immigrants Bring a Diverse Set of Skills and Backgrounds On Average Imigrants … Continue reading Some Links on Economics of Immigration

Links on Minimum Wage

A few minimum wage links to use in my guest lecture/discussion with Professor Reglin's classes tomorrow:   The assigned article/editorial from NY Times: Case for a Higher Minimum Wage An accessible description of the original, path-breaking Card-Kreuger study: Raising the minimum wage reduces poverty and tends to raise all incomes, including household incomes not … Continue reading Links on Minimum Wage

Taxes, Incentives, and Being Poor

Now Updated with proofreading! Political debates about taxes and tax rates in the U.S. often focus on the rich and claims about the incentive effects of different tax rates. Rarely mentioned these days are the poor.  Indeed, the Republican demands in the last few years that tax rates should be cut  for the high-income rich … Continue reading Taxes, Incentives, and Being Poor

Student Debt + Stagnant Real Wages = Colleges Need to Focus On Student Success

Today's post is an excerpt of something I wrote for another site.  This year, in addition to my teaching duties at the college, I'm leading a project to update our college strategic plan.  As part of that project I'm writing and editing a series of "briefing papers" (long blog posts, actually) about issues of strategic … Continue reading Student Debt + Stagnant Real Wages = Colleges Need to Focus On Student Success

Religion, The Stock Market, and the Search for Meaning

People want to understand phenomena.  We want explanations for what happens. Journalists, especially TV and radio journalists, want explanations that can be summarized in 1-2 sentences in a sound bite.  Randomness is pretty scary.  And anything that's too complex to understand easily looks a lot like randomness. So what triggered this little nugget of metaphysical … Continue reading Religion, The Stock Market, and the Search for Meaning

Is The Fed Corrupt or Captured?

Yesterday I responded to a reader who asked if "The Fed is out of control".  In short, I said no, not in the sense that critics have charged them with "out of control printing of money" that could produce inflation.  But I left the post with an acknowledgement that the secrecy of The Fed carries … Continue reading Is The Fed Corrupt or Captured?