Monday, March 28, 2005

Would you take a cookie?

I was walking through a building on my way home from a night class last week when I saw a table set up as if for a reception. It had cookies, punch, and I think a cheese tray. Nobody was around... I had no idea what all of that food was doing there, but I could have walked off with the entire table if I had been so inclined. However, I did not take a single cookie, cheese cube, or sip of punch. Why didn't I? This has me thinking, am I not a utility maximizer? If not, is it because of moral conviction against theft... or was I just afraid of being caught with my hand in the cookie jar? (I was starving at the time, by the way... the class ends at 8:10 and I usually don't eat dinner until afterwards).

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

To follow my previous post...

Have you noticed that many departments charge more for international applicants to graduate programs? Is this because it costs more to follow up on references (long distance calls...) or... perhaps this is just a bit of price discrimination. If anybody should be able to figure out optimal price discrimination, it should be econ departments.


Why does economics sometimes sound like lame observational humor?

"Have you ever noticed how the bouncers at clubs won't allow a group of five guys in? What is the optimal gender mix for a group of party goers?"

"What is with online news magazines? They give the latest headlines for free but charge for the old news! What kind of crazy pricing scheme is that?"

And so forth...

In other news, one of my profs is writing the coolest paper. The question: what are the factors that determine whether a high school basketball player goes to college or straight to the pros? The economics of sports is extremely cool. See Romer's paper on the NFL for further evidence, or Levitt's paper on sumo wrestling.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Something I just realized

So, I believe in free markets like most econ folks. I have some very libertarian leanings.

My favorite band, however: The Clash. What the hell is up with that?

Favorite lyric: "They're gonna have to introduce proscription. They're gonna have to take away my prescription." from Career Opportunities. This is a good incentive insight.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Back to School

Spring break is almost over. Kat (my gf) and I went to Arizona to visit some friends... went to a brewpub (pretty good), bought some California beers (Alesmith, w00t!), hiked up a mountain (friggin awesome). All around, best spring break ever.

Also, why hasn't a taxi company sprung up that hires only sane drivers? Surely there is a market for this... and yet, everytime I get in a taxi, I have two thoughts: this guy is going to get me killed and/or this guy is trying to rip me off.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Been a while since I posted! Between my most recent PDE assignment (20 hrs work and counting!) and being sick, I have not had a great week. Anyways, some updates:

1. Got De la Fuente. Haven't had a chance to read much yet, but hopefully the dynamic programming section clears up some confusion...

2. Probably going to give an undergraduate lecture on dynamic programming in the math department either this semester or in the fall. Only problem: it is supposed to have an original element, and I don't have the expertise to do that quite yet.

3. My math prof. asked me to write a math article for the school math magazine... and to be the editor for next year. This means I have to learn tEx in the next two weeks or so. For the article, I was thinking of doing an overview of consumer choice theory (quick one) and then introducing this (very primitive) idea I've been working on that I like to call "celebrity" effects. It is pretty much like network effects, but the consumption of one person enters into the utility functions of the other people, while theirs do not enter into the original person. Anyway, I have to iron it out... may not work... I'll post it if it gets done.

4. I need to talk to profs about getting recommendation letters. Does anybody have advice on this: I have two econ profs, maybe three, that could give me good letters. Should I go all econ prof, or would it be good to get a math prof too? So, two econ profs, one math. After this semester, I could possibly even get two math profs.

5. Finally, does anybody know of a solution manual to Rosenlicht's analysis book? The book is Introduction to Analysis. It is a Dover book... so I may be out of luck on the manual.

6. I went to Bell's Brewery this weekend. If anybody is in Kalamazoo, drop by this place. Some of the best beer in the midwest, reasonable prices, free samples, and one hell of an atmosphere. Cheers!