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Tag: coming soon

The Economics Colloquium Series in 2014

Our schedule of economics and policy talks coming over the next two terms is coming together nicely.   We have these three events in the books, and have a couple of other speakers in the works.

Jeffrey J. Shook, Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh,  January 16, 2014 (Time TBA) “From Roper to Miller: Legal and Policy Implications of Recent Supreme Court Decisions on the Punishment of Juveniles.”  This is co-sponsored by Lawrence Scholars in Law.

Travis Andersen, President of St. Elizabeth Hospital, February 20, 4:30 p.m.  Mr. Andersen will address how hospitals and doctors get paid.

Alexander Field, Professor at Santa Clara University, will give the Phi Beta Kappa Lecture on his book, A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and US Economic GrowthMay 15, 2014.   This is part of the Senior Experience for many economics majors.  More on Field’s work here

Arnold Shober in Government has also agreed in principle to give a talk on his current project and the data “scraping” methods he’s been employing.

And for those of you who missed it, or who just can’t get enough, Paul Fischbeck’s talk, “Quantitative Policy Analysis: Risk Analysis and Risk Communications from Cape Cod to Nairobi,” is now available.   Click here to see his excellent presentation.

And you might just need that Kindle…

GQ gives us a rather grim preview of the upcoming movie season:

[L]et’s look ahead to what’s on the menu for this year: four adaptations of comic books. One prequel to an adaptation of a comic book. One sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a toy. One sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on an amusement-park ride. One prequel to a remake. Two sequels to cartoons. One sequel to a comedy. An adaptation of a children’s book. An adaptation of a Saturday-morning cartoon. One sequel with a 4 in the title. Two sequels with a 5 in the title. One sequel that, if it were inclined to use numbers, would have to have a 7 1/2 in the title.


Via Kottke.

Econ Spring Preview

As we head into Spring term, let’s take a look at what is available on Briggs 2nd:


ECON 120 INTRODUCTION TO MACROECONOMICS 11:10-12:20 MWF 3:10-04:20 R Ms. Karagyozova



ECON 271 PUBLIC ECONOMICS 12:30-2:20 TR Mr. Gerard


ECON 391 DS-DISCOVERING KIRZNER Time TBA Mr. Gerard or Mr. Galambos (1 unit)

ECON 410 ADV GAME THEORY & APPLICATIONS 12:30-02:20  Mr. Galambos


Click on the classes for descriptions (or old syllabi for Professor Galambos’ courses).  As of this writing, there are still spots in each of these sections.  There is a bevy of 200-level classes for all you thinking about taking the Econ route or filling out a minor.  There are also a pair of 400-level classes, both seem to be extraordinarily topical.

Once again, Professor Galambos and I will be facilitating a group read, this as a  follow-up to the Schumpeter Roundtable — this time we will be Discovering Kirzner.  For those of you who have had 300 and love it, this should give you plenty to think about.

Later this week, I will post the tentative schedule for next year.  You can also find it here.

Capitalism, Socialism, & Democracy Read

For those of you interested in an extra unit or two, this term we are offering an independent study / tutorial reading Joseph Schumpeter’s classic, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. For those of you unfamiliar with the book, here is a review by Schumpeter biographer, Thomas McCraw.

This is a thick book, so you might think about your time commitments before you complete the registration.  The likely trajectory for this is for us to set up a weekly discussion time beginning the week of January 10 or 17.  Right now I have three hands raised that want to participate.

I am thinking about requirements right now.   The bulk of the effort will be focused on the reading, and there will be an attendant writing assignment as well.

Streaming Econ 400

Many students have asked me about the types of things covered in Industrial Organization (Econ 400), and I typically respond with blah blah blah price theory blah blah blah structure-conduct-performance until the student leaves my office.  Perhaps a better response would simply be to give students a list of interesting topics that would come under an IO umbrella, such as Comcast’s dispute with Netflix. There’s many issues embedded there, including this tasty one:

A recent study found that at peak times, Netflix represented 20 percent of Internet download traffic in the United States. That makes it a de facto competitor for incumbent distributors like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which are eager to protect both the subscription television business and the emerging video-on-demand business.

I wonder how soon cable and satellite television will be relegated to economic history courses, a la the video rental business.

Perhaps you can write a paper on that next term.

Welcome Back, Econofolks

Hello and welcome to the friendly Appletonian confines for the 2010-2011 academic year.   A few noteworthy elements:

  • The first Economics TeaBA will be Monday, September 20 at 4:20.  The location is TBA, but it will certainly be somewhere on Briggs 2nd.
  • Professor Gerard is out of town until Wednesday, and may be difficult to locate around campus until then.
  • There is plenty of room in Economics 300.   If you are interested, register or put your name on the waiting list, and enroll in The Moodle (enrollment code 0300).  It will meet Monday this week, but not Tuesday.  There is a quiz Wednesday.  The class meets M, Tu, W, F at 3:10.
  • Notice the fall course offerings include history of economic thought with professor emeritus, Jules LaRocque.  This could be a one-shot deal as far as history of thought goes for many of you, so you might poke your head in there on Tuesday and see how it sounds.
  • Schumptoberfest™ is October 22-24 up at the Björklunden facility. I will post more about this later in the week.  Those of you interested, should see Professor Gerard (when he gets back; see above).

It’s shaping up as a good year.

Looking Ahead

Here’s the rest of the economics schedule for the year:

Winter Term 2011

Spring Term 2011

We will be meeting shortly, so if you have questions about offerings in 2012, please let us know.

Ready or Not

The term is upon us and that means it’s time to start posting things that might actually have some utility for someone (for instance, me).

So let’s start out with an easy one — are you registered yet? No better time to start thinking about it. Here are some potentially useful links:

And, as long as you are registering, you might as well check out our offerings for the Fall term.  There is still room as of this posting, unless otherwise noted:

I will also be offering an independent study associated with Schumptoberfest weekend, October 22-24.  Check with me for details.

See you on Briggs 2nd.

Landsburg on Reinhart on Efficiency

Last week, Professor Finkler posted some preliminary thoughts on Uwe Reinhart’s “Is ‘More Efficient” Always Better?” This week, everybody’s favorite textbook author, Steven Landsburg, chimes in with a nice exposition on why it’s worthwhile for economists to beat the drum for efficiency analysis.

First, emphasizing efficiency forces us to concentrate on the most important problems. Second, emphasizing efficiency forces us to be honest about our goals.

He then runs through some nice examples (that Econ 300 students will be looking at when we get to Chapter 9), and concludes with this:

The advantage of an efficiency analysis (along, say, the lines suggested here) is that it would force Professor Reinhardt’s colleague to be clear about his priorities. Is he, for example, concerned primarily about increasing current output or about redistributing current output? Either might be a worthy goal, but we can’t have a useful debate with someone who won’t tell us what his goals are.

Wow, I’m getting excited just thinking about this.

Freaky Thursday

For those of you too lazy busy to read the primary research, too lazy busy to read the book, the Freakonomics movie is here. Incentives matter seems to be the theme — schoolteachers correcting their student’s lousy tests to improve their scores, sumo wrasslers fixing their matches, real estate agents selling too soon at too low of a price due to a misaligned agency problem, it’s all here.

Of course, there is nothing particularly “freaky” about Freakonomics.  Levitt has a theory, gathers evidence, and evaluates his hypotheses.  His greatness stems on the one hand from identifying interesting problems and using data in ways no one has thought of before.  In my own experience, his work on traffic safety and drunk driving are two sterling examples where he was able to exploit a data set that many, many people had been using for years in very novel and important ways.

Perhaps we can preview this during Schumptoberfest.

See Your Future, Be Your Future…

Alright, folks, here is the unofficial unveiling of the courses coming for next year.  If you don’t see what you think you should see here, get in touch with one of your friendly neighborhood LU economists and ask about possible independent and group study options.

Fall 2010


ECON 170 FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING 2:30-4:20 TR  Mr. Vaughan

ECON 200 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (G,W) 12:30-2:20 TR  Mr. Finkler

ECON 390 HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT 2:30-4:20 TR  (Sign up for tutorial with Professor Finkler)


ECON 430 CAPITAL AND GROWTH (Q) 9:00-10:50 TR Mr. Finkler

ECON 520 ADVANCED MACROECONOMICS (Q) 1:50-3:00 MWF Ms. Karagyozova

Continue reading See Your Future, Be Your Future…

The Fourth Branch: Coming to An Administration and A Classroom Near You

For those of you wondering what Economics 240, The Political Economy of Regulation is all about, it’s about stuff like this.

With much of his legislative agenda stalled in Congress, President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities…. Any president has vast authority to influence policy even without legislation, through executive orders, agency rule-making and administrative fiat.

Legislation gets all the attention, and regulation does all the dirty work.

In Econ 240, we will study “the fourth branch of government” (a.k.a., administrative agencies), including the continuing evolution and growth of the U.S. regulatory system, the process by which regulations are proposed, written, implemented, and enforced, and the tools used to evaluate the costs and benefits of regulations.

It’s designated writing intensive, and I couldn’t be more excited. See you in there.

Kudos to Professor Shober

This looks interesting. The best way to foment effective policy outcomes is to allow administrative agencies to do their thing unfettered. How do they solve the agency problem? I guess we’ll have to read the book and find out.

Order now!

Splintered Accountability: State Governance and Education Reform

Arnold F. Shober

The No Child Left Behind Act declared that improving education in every school in the United States was a top national priority. However, this act did not acknowledge how state departments of education have successfully constructed reforms for the past few decades, despite the power struggle between governors, legislators, school districts, and state boards of education. Drawing upon archival sources, state budget documents, interviews, and statistical analysis, Splintered Accountability amply demonstrates that sustained education reform is best left in the hands of the relatively autonomous state departments of education in order to maintain curriculum standards, school finance, and teacher licensure systems. Comprehensive and successful education reform originates from within state education agencies, propelled by savvy state superintendents.