Our friend and contributor Dan Hamermesh was featured on The Daily Show last night, in a piece about ugly people. Hamermesh has done extensive research on the economic disadvantages of being unattractive. His most recent book, Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful, shows how all kinds of economic benefits flow toward physical beauty, from higher salaries, to better loan rates, to attractive, educated spouses.
In the bit, Hamermesh and Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones have some fun discussing whether “uglo-Americans” should be given special legal protection. Read More »
A related set of lawsuits involving billions of dollars has provided employment opportunities for a number of consulting economists specializing in antitrust issues or labor economics issues. I’ve been involved in three of the cases, and they have been great fun (and a good way of paying dental bills). I was crestfallen to find out […] Read More »
There are at least four ways of meeting a decline in labor demand: laying off workers, cutting nominal annual salaries, cutting hires, or reducing hours. It is difficult to lay off tenured faculty; but in this recession, universities are using two other methods of cutting payroll. Some schools have imposed faculty hiring freezes. Others are […] Read More »
Over the past few months, the press has deluged Americans with weepy stories about people who are in danger of losing their houses because their sub-prime mortgages now exceed the value of their houses, which the recession and the popping of housing bubbles have caused to drop. I am sympathetic; and I, and other taxpayers, […] Read More »
NPR reported last month that, for the first time in five years, the U.S. Army had more than met its recruiting goals. This happens every time unemployment rises, and it should be absolutely no surprise. People choose military service after high school partly out of a desire to serve the country; but there is strong […] Read More »
In facing the “Buy one, get one free” suit deal, my quick-thinking wife said, “Let’s take the second suit anyway.” She called our older son on her cell phone from the store, as we knew he was shopping for a suit, and he said he was interested.
The store has a branch where he lives, so we are taking the suit to him this week when we visit. He will take it in and exchange it at no cost to himself for the suit he wants. While I would have derived perhaps $50 of consumer surplus from the “free” second suit, a suit’s value to him is at least $300; and with the pick of the store, he’ll buy a fancier suit. Read More »
My wife made me give my 12-year-old suit to charity, so I had to get a new one. Men’s Wearhouse had some nice outfits, and I was willing to pay a lot for a good suit.
Top-of-the-line models were available for $600, and they were on sale: “Buy one, get one free.” I was going to buy one even without the sale, and $600 was about what I wanted to spend. But I have almost no use for the “free” suit; I derive little consumer surplus even from a “free” second new suit. Read More »
A column by Meghan Daum in the Los Angeles Times reports on the dating service Ashley Madison, which matches up married women and men who wish to have a quick fling. The service is a market intermediary for extramarital affairs. Its founder claims that, by lowering search costs for affairs, he enables people in unhappy […] Read More »