Archives for Justin Wolfers



Co-author Confusion

When your co-author is your colleague and also your significant other, confusion often follows. Take this recent post by Arnold Kling on the causes of inequality, where he says: I think that Betsey Stevenson/Justin Wolfers marriages are another big factor. That is, when highly educated men start looking for wives who are stimulating companions as […] Read More »



Tax Cuts vs. Government Spending

As the Senate and the House look to reconcile competing stimulus plans, the big debate is whether to emphasize government spending or tax cuts. A new paper by the New York Fed’s Gauti Eggertsson argues that the risk of deflation should tilt the balance to government spending. Our current problem is deficient aggregate demand. The […] Read More »



Is Ignorance Really Bliss?

A regular blog reader, Mitch Kosowski, sent along an interesting question: “Is ignorance truly bliss? Are people with lower intelligence happier than those with higher intelligence?” Let’s start with a quick literature review. Here are the findings reported by Simpson, L. (2001): Lisa Simpson: “As intelligence goes up, happiness goes down. See, I made a […] Read More »



And Fry It Up in a Pan

It’s social change alright: 26 percent of working wives out-earned their working husbands in 2006, up by nearly half from 20 years ago.

Now that many more women are graduating college than men, higher-earning wives are going to become the new normal. Read More »



Free the Hangers

I typed this from 10,000 feet, while on my way to the annual econ gabfest known as the ASSA meetings. I was lucky enough to score an upgrade to first class, and as I settled into my seat I was informed about the most astonishing cost-cutting measure: U.S. Airways has taken the coat hangers out of its planes. Read More »



An Unhappy Year

In a New York Times Op-Ed on Saturday, Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote that subjective well-being has remained high during the recession. But she’s dead wrong. Here’s the gist of her piece, titled “Why We’re Still Happy” : Research in psychology and economics suggests that when only your salary is cut, or when only you make a […] Read More »



Puzzling Over the Invisible Economy

Last week I did something that felt very 1990′s: I purchased a compact disc. The CD wasn’t for me; it was a Christmas present.

As I wrapped the CD, I pondered the silliness of the whole enterprise. After all, the recipient — like most of us these days — listens almost exclusively to MP3 files. In fact, I’m not even sure if he has a CD player beyond his laptop, which he will use to convert his disc-shaped gift into a more useful set of MP3 files. Read More »



Crikey!

Color me confused, but I’ve never really understood the difference between a bet and “financial trade.” And if there ever really was a line, it’s definitely becoming blurrier. In recent months, there have been millions of dollars bet in options markets, as traders seek a big payday in the event that the economy heads south […] Read More »