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I’m Not a Pessimist. I’m an Economist. »

I’ve been lucky, in my time as a graduate student and now as a professor, to give talks on a variety of subjects to many different groups. From business owners, to my undergraduate students, to MBA students, to high school students and more, I never get tired of talking about what I love. Unfortunately...
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For the Love of Teaching and Economics »

I love teaching economic principles. There is something truly exciting about introducing students to the economic way of thinking for the first time. It’s a privilege and honor I take very seriously. It seems to me, if more people understood basic economics, we could avoid a lot of patently backward policies. However, I also...
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Beware Survivorship Bias »

Suppose you wanted to know how many of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who served during World War II were killed in that war. So you sent inquiries to a random sample of persons whose names were drawn from a list of all those who served in the military during the war, asking: Were...
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The “Bern” Unit »

According to the American Burn Association, approximately 486,000 burn injuries are treated every year. Chances are you’ve experienced a burn or two in your life. From touching a pan that was too hot, to forgetting to make sure the electricity was shut off before some DIY house work, to being particularly inept with a...
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Higher Minimum Wage Leaves Working Poor Without Childcare »

Oakland’s voters who approved the March 1 increase of the minimum wage to $12.25 apparently drank the Kool-aid that it would “help the poor.” Tell that to the working poor parents who will now be scrambling to find good, affordable child care: Workers who benefit from Oakland’s minimum wage hike might soon lose a...
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Shining Spotlight on Bogus U.C. Berkeley “Think Tank” During National Sunshine Week »

This week is National Sunshine Week, a time when many journalists across America publish stories on government spending and transparency. One organization that needs more sunshine is the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) at the University of California at Berkeley, a union propaganda mill disguised as an academic think tank and...
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Sorry, Your Minimum Wage Law Is a Nightmare »

The minimum wage is an economic nightmare. Let’s say it one more time, with feeling. The minimum wage is an economic nightmare. In the recent elections, voters throughout the U.S. took to the polls to elect their political leaders. Winners and losers were decided, the Republicans took control of the Senate, and pundits eagerly...
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Just Say No to Jobs for the Young and Unskilled »

As pictured here, Governor Jerry Brown has signed new minimum wage legislation that ups the minimum productivity to be employed in California to $9 per hour starting next year, and $10 per hour in 2016. Supervisors will also have to increase their productivity if they want to stay employed. The San Francisco Chronicle offers...
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Political Hustle by Fast Food Workers »

Within the past week or so, the employees of fast food restaurants in several major U.S. cities went “on strike” for a day to demand a so-called living wage of $15 per hour, more than twice the current federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25. I will not rehearse the economic analysis of the minimum...
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Hurray for Washington! »

The culmination of last night’s Oscars broadcast with a Live! feed from the White House with Mrs. Obama (hangin’ with her military BFs) marks the official recognition of the Presidency as theater: like the old Western sets, no substance required. From the very beginning, President Obama was elected based on his strong delivery of...
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