Political lobbying is like an all-pay auction

David Zetland teaches Environmental Economics and Policy 100 at UC Berkeley. In this YouTube clip from one of his lectures, he demonstrates how political lobbying is like an all-pay auction (an auction where you pay your bid regardless of whether or not you actually bid the final, highest bid). [YouTube – Political lobbying explained through […]


Malcolm Gladwell’s new article, Cocksure, is about the psychology of overconfidence. In it he postulates that the brashness of experts caused the current financial crisis. Since the beginning of the financial crisis, there have been two principal explanations for why so many banks made such disastrous decisions. The first is structural. Regulators did not regulate. […]

This American Life on the Financial Crisis

If you’re confused about what caused the greatest financial crisis since the depression, let This American Life teach you in words you can understand, how the mortgage lending crisis started, with their episode The Giant Pool of Money and follow-up with their episode Another Frightening Show About the Economy in which we learn: How and […]

The Dilbert Economy

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, wondered why someone wasn’t doing something that would give American voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy. Then he realized that he was someone. He commissioned a survey of over 500 economists, drawn from members of the American Economic Association, a nonpolitical […]

Are Children’s Car Seats Over Rated?

Steven Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, at a 2005 TED Talk speaks about the economics of car seats. His data lead him to ask the morally difficult question, are children’s car seats worth the time and expense it takes to use them? [ted id=30] Hit play or watch Steven Levitt on child car seats at TED.com.

How Would You Attack?

Over on the Freakonomics blog, Steven D. Levitt asks the thought provoking question, what would you do to maximize terror if you were a terrorist with limited resources. Readers’ responses to the post were a mixed bag of terror suggestions and hate mail. In a follow-up post, Levitt says that, “The people e-mailing me can’t […]