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Concentrated roadway power

Money is power and as Mancur Olson first explained in The Logic of Collective Action, not all money is created equal. Mancur was an economist with an uber-macho-sounding first name. It is pronounced ‘Man-Sir’ which sounds like the kind of

Posted in Public Finance

Mind the gap in life expectancy WITHIN America

We read a lot about the growing political divide in America and we hear a lot of commentary about the two Americas in terms of income inequality.  But a bigger inequality problem is the gap in life expectancy.  Here’s a

Posted in Health

The expected value of potential lives lost during atomic testing

Rob Reid wrote a great explanation of the horrible risk taken during the Manhattan Project, when American nuclear scientists took a chance estimated at one-in-three million that the first atomic test would create a chain reaction that would ignite the

Posted in Globalization & International, Health, Managerial Micro, Violence & Peace

Good Guys with guns vs. Bad Guys with guns

I’m a pragmatic pacifist who wishes to minimize violence and I accept that some violence might be necessary to accomplish this. Of course, everyone says that they want to minimize violence, so how is a pacifist like me any different?

Posted in Violence & Peace

A public conspiracy to protect pharmaceutical profits at taxpayer expense

Every so often I get requests to sign a petition supporting various business interests. The petitions are promoted by fly-by-night “organizations” that are fronts for lobbyists like  Lately I’ve been getting emails from that are worried about the pharmaceutical industry’s

Posted in Health, Public Finance

An airline “dent and scratch sale”

A classic story of price discrimination that textbooks tell is the appliance ‘dent and scratch’ sale in which an appliance store will deliberately create cosmetic damage on some of their washers and refrigerators so that they can sell them at

Posted in Managerial Micro

Is there a better way to educate smart people?

Alia Wong at The Atlantic reports about a new Harvard study that surveyed roughly 500 economics Ph.D. candidates at eight elite universities, and found that 18 percent of them experienced moderate or severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. That’s more than

Posted in Labor

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