I know I've certainly had this problem come up with roommates- paying too much for too little. This website is not necessarily "current events," but it does use the concept of consumer surplus that we developed in class to come about an efficient allocation of rent. If you use this with your roommates be sure to let me know how it worked out.
You know it's bad when a term like "Quantitative Easing" gets more press than Lindsay Lohan. Many of us, though, don't know what it means exactly. In short, it is a way for the Federal Reserve (the Fed) to help the economy grow by pumping money into the economy. Using supply and demand - let's show what's going on here. If the demand for money remains unchanged while the Fed acts, what happens to the "price" of money? If the price of money goes down, what happens to the quantity demanded of other things like exports and investing in capital?
This article from The Economist talks about one of the age old battles in environmental economics - command and control. As the article points out, when Texas originally implemented environmental legislation they were pretty slim on the details. Which do you think is a preferable policy: one that mandates a certain technology be used to clean up the environment by every firm, a tax on all pollution/emissions, a permit system that allows firms to buy "the right to pollute" a certain amount, or some hybrid? Will the EPA court loss result in a dirtier environment with more profits, or could the allowance of more flexibility be beneficial to the environment? Using supply and demand, if a certain technology had to be installed by all polluting firms what would happen to the equilibrium price and quantity of the good they sold?
The Big XII has seen a lot of changes in the past few years, but this could be one that we are all on board for. At WVU they have experimented with selling beer at home games and so far it has been a success. Would you consider this a "laissez-faire" type policy? How does this relate to more pressing issues like gun control, abortion, or marijuana legalization? Does the policy depend on the good to be regulated, and why?
The unemplyment rate, which is a narrowly defined measure, inched downwards this month from 8.3% to 8.1%. While at first glance this may seem to be a good thing, this WSJ article points out why it may not. Do you think that this unemployment problem is worse for any certain group (income class, race, gender)?
Potential essay question: What do you think a surplus of workers will do to the wage paid to newly employed people? If you think future wages will adjust downward, how far down can they go? Will this surplus of workers ever cease to exist?
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