I made a new page here to keep a directory of open access journals and other resources in economics. What I’m hoping to keep track of in particular are outlets to which researchers in economics to submit their work, with no or minimal fees to them, so that if it selected for publication it will be freely available to anyone who wants to read it.
Sometimes the story is so good that you forget it’s just a story.
The National Labor Relations Board today issued a long-awaited ruling that graduate students working as teaching and research assistants at private universities are allowed to unionize. The issue at hand has long been one of semantics: are graduates on paid assistantships more like students, or more like employees? Are the assistantships more like a fundamental training component of a program of study, or more like jobs done by the students to support themselves financially?
My excitement for the new Frank Ocean album was high, and it lasted until I read those three filthy little words: “Apple Music exclusive”.
I’m wondering today, on an otherwise lovely Friday, how soon to introduce welfare economics into an introductory economics course.
I know. Bear with me.
I think one of the most fundamental jobs of introductory economics is to start to build the famous “invisible wall” between positive and normative economics. The textbook distinction is between questions about the way the world is—positive—and the way the world ought to be—normative.
Olympic fever. My TV has been pretty much stuck on NBC this week (fine, NBC, I guess I see why you paid $1.23 billion for the broadcast rights!), their questionable programming choices aside. (And I certainly did NOT find… other means to watch the women’s gymnastics all-around final live today. Nope, nothing to see here.)
A brief ode to pinball, the aptest metaphor for human existence yet conceived. In which:
If you can’t get what you want, what’s the next best thing? This is pretty much the deepest question in economics, being that preferences are king in a world of scarcity.
It lives also in a more complicated way in a relatively obscure piece of economics called the theory of the second best (which stems from a paper all the way back in 1956 by Richard Lipsey and Kelvin Lancaster). I’ve been thinking about this today after going back and forth with Megan McArdle on Twitter about the funding of policy research, ending up here. The question at hand is whether “relevant” policy research is done in academia, with funding therefore from the higher education system.
One assumption, often unstated, in the economics we teach at the introductory and intermediate levels is the absence of force. Another assumption that we typically take a while to unpack is the rule of law and property rights. And still a third assumption is the cultural context of what is fair game to be traded in a society. I want to talk a little bit about where they show up in the context of two key ideas in the undergraduate-level canon, general equilibrium theory and externality theory.