Monday, September 26, 2016

My Newest Publication: Using Experimental Auctions to Examine Demand for E-cigarettes

Here is the link to my newest publication, "Using Experimental Auctions to Examine Demand for E-cigarettes", in Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Abstract
Background: E-cigarettes are the latest in a line of potentially reduced exposure products that have garnered interest among smokers.
Methods: In this paper, we use experimental auctions to estimate smokers’ demand for e-cigarettes and to assess the impact of advertisements on willingness-to-pay. These are actual auctions, with winners and losers, which means hypothetical biases often seen in surveys are minimized.
Implications: Given these reduced harm products are appealing, if smokers are able to switch completely to e-cigarettes, there is a good chance for accrual of significant harm reduction.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Upside of Inequality

The Upside of Inequality is the title of Ed Conard's newest book, which was released today.


Disclaimer: I had the pleasure of helping Ed by doing a bit of background research for him.  

I am certainly a bit biased, as I helped on the book, but I think this is one of the best books of 2016.  And I don't think my bias is coloring my view too much, as before I helped on this book I was a big fan of his previous book, Unintended Consequences, and had even assigned it in my Political Economic Thought class.  

Some of my favorite parts of this book are:

* The section asking if the middle class really is being hollowed out.  The answer is a convincing no - comparisons that show median incomes are falling are skewed by lower paying jobs acquired by immigrants.  
* The section examining how much money a poor person receives in government benefits.  It is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, but this book gives a good estimate with a defensible methodology.
* The discussion of income mobility - which is alive and well in the USA.

The entire book is thought provoking, and I highly recommend it.




Thursday, August 18, 2016

Podcast with Bloomberg

I recorded a podcast with Bloomberg last week about using Hamilton to teach economics.  The link is here.

Friday, August 12, 2016

2016-2017 Liberty and Economic Freedom Speaker Series

The Liberty and Economic Freedom Speaker Series is continuing! In 2016-2017 we will be bringing three speakers to campus. This is the third year of the series and promises to be educational and fun. (See here and here for information on the previous two years).


Our speakers are:

Jeffrey Dorfman



How the 'well-meaning' government hurts the poor

Thursday, October 6th, 2016. 7:30 PM. Degenstein Theatre


Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman is an economist and professor at The University of Georgia, where he has been since 1989. He teaches classes in microeconomic theory, the economics of the food industry, and macroeconomic theory and policy. He performs research mostly on productivity measurement, economic forecasting, and the economics of growth and sprawl. He has authored three books, over seventy academic journal articles, and a variety of other articles published in trade publications, the popular press, and on the web. He writes regular opinion columns for RealClearMarkets.com and Forbes. In 2013, he was elected as a Fellow by the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. He has testified to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, to the Georgia Senate Special Committee on Feedgrains, and to a USDA Panel on Farmland Preservation. He served as editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the top academic outlet for his field, from 2009-2012. He is a consultant to a variety of businesses, foundations, and local governments with past and current clients including Sprint, the American Farmland Trust, Pennington Seed, Fulton County Schools, and numerous city and county governments in the Southeastern U.S. He is married, with one daughter, and they attend Central Presbyterian Church where he serves as treasurer.



Abdullah Al-Bahrani




Econ Beats: Discovering Economics in TV, Music, and Other Media

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017. 7:30 PM. Isaacs Auditorium

Dr. Abdullah Al Bahrani is the Director of the Center of Economic Education (NKU CEE) and an Assistant Professor of Economics at Northern Kentucky University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Kentucky in 2010. His Master degree in Economic Theory was awarded by American University in Washington D.C. in 2003 and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from the University of Louisville in 2002.


Currently, Abdullah's primary focus is on innovative approaches to teaching Economics. He also examines market structure and competition in the banking and real estate industries. His research has been published in the Southern Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Education, International Review of Economics Education, and the Journal of Housing Research.


In 2016 he received the Excellence in Teaching and Instruction award at Northern Kentucky University. He is also the recipient of the Dean’s Citation for Teaching at the Haile/U.S Bank College of Business in 2015. At the University of Kentucky, while working on his graduate degree, he was awarded Most Outstanding Teaching Assistant in Economics at Gatton College of Business and Economics, University of Kentucky.

Prior to joining academia, Dr. Al Bahrani worked in the mortgage industry from 2003-2006. He has also served as outside economic consult to the Ministry of Education, Sultanate of Oman and new business ventures entering Oman.




Joe Calhoun



Consumer Protection and Other Economic Fallacies

Monday, April 10th, 2017. 7:30 PM. Isaacs Auditorium


Joseph P. Calhoun is a Lecturer in the Department of Economics and the Assistant Director of the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University. He currently teaches large principles of economics classes with annual enrollment of nearly 3,000 students. To enhance student learning and manage multiple large sections, he is a heavy user of technology both in and outside the classroom. He is also well known around campus for showing video clips to illustrate concepts and inject humorous breaks. In addition to leading workshops for the Stavros Center, he has presented teaching ideas and technology at several national conferences. He is also responsible for training and mentoring new graduate student teaching assistants for their initial teaching responsibilities at FSU.

A graduate of Illinois State University with a BS in finance and economics and of DePaul University with an MBA, he began his career in the health care industry before leaving to become an economist. His Ph.D. is from the University of Georgia.

Dr. Calhoun has received numerous teaching awards including the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award at the University of Georgia, the Undergraduate Teaching Award at FSU, and three times received the Service Excellence Award for Teaching from Phi Eta Sigma at FSU. He also won first place in the Economics Communicators Contest in 2008 which was cosponsored by the Association of Private Enterprise Education and Market Based Management Institute. He currently resides in Tallahassee, FL with his wife and four daughters.




Friday, August 5, 2016

Newest post on Broadway Economics: The World Will Know

Link here

Excerpt:
Outraged after publisher Joseph Pulitzer increases the cost of newspapers for the delivery boys (“newsies”) to ten cents per hundred, head newsie Jack Kelly organizes a union and ultimately a strike among his fellow newsies. This strike is known in history as the Newsboys’ Strike of 1899.






Thursday, August 4, 2016

I am discussing economic issues in the Harrisburg Patriot News

I discussed the economy in a Harrisburg Patriot News article about Donald Trump's "War Zone" comment.

An excerpt:
Indeed, the shift away from manufacturing across central Pennsylvania - as in much of the state, which was once boasted the robust manufacturing of steel, aluminum, textiles, chemicals, metals, furniture and pharmaceuticals, is not a bad thing, Rousu explained.
The fact is that technology has allowed manufacturers to produce more with fewer people, he said.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Economics of choosing to live stream a Broadway show

BroadwayHD.com is attempting to become like a Broadway version of Netflix.  But in late June they did something that had never been done before - they live-streamed She Loves Me, a current Broadway show.






She Loves Me was a hit show that had always planned to only have a limited run, and indeed it closed on July 10th.  BroadwayHD charged $9.99 to watch the show live on Thursday, June 30.

The economics behind the decision of the producers of She Loves Me to stream is fascinating.  So what are the pros for a show choosing to live stream?
  1. It brings in extra immediate revenue (the $9.99*# of viewers)
  2. It brings in possible future revenue for the BroadwayHD site (which perhaps pays extra to She Loves Me for this?)
  3. It will likely be seen by hundreds of people who run high school, college, and community theatre musicals who might choose to this show.  To use/perform a show, you must pay for the rights, which is a (sometimes significant) source of revenue for shows.
  4. It could bring in extra revenue to the show - if people seeing the show on the stream then want to see it in person.  I.e., extra revenue if the live-stream and ticket sales are complements. (Although I don't think this is likely given its only open for a limited amount of time.)

What are the cons of choosing to live stream?
  1. Is watching a video of a Broadway show a substitute for seeing the show live?  If so, then the live-stream could hurt ticket sales on Broadway.  Similar to point four above - this doesn't seem to matter as much when the show only has a handful of performances left.
  2. Would showing a live-stream hurt the sales of a show that is hoping to tour?    
  3. How expensive is it to produce the broadcast?

Overall, it seems like the optimal decision here from a theatre producer's perspective is to live-stream but only at the very end of a run - and only if they think it is unlikely to do a national tour.  

Read what others have written about live-streaming Broadway shows here, here, and here.