Should Moviegoers Pay for the Good Seats?

We came across a European relic in Munich: a movie theater that still prices seats differently, with the seats in front cheaper than those in back. This used to be common in European movie theaters; today, as in the U.S., there is one price for all seats. In the U.S. system the good seats, near […]

How Rat Meat Becomes a Rarity

Photo: Chris Barber A Reuters article notes that the price of rat meat in Cambodia has quadrupled, even as the overall inflation rate is “only” 37 percent. Consumers are substituting away from higher-priced meats (beef is still four times as expensive as rat) toward rat, increasing the demand for rat meat. If the relative price […]

Where Aspirins Cost $15

  It costs 10 euros — about $15 — for a package of 50 aspirins at the local drugstore in Bonn, Germany! What an outrage. Why so expensive? I could get a bottle of generic aspirins at home for well below $5 for 100! Looking around I also notice, as the photo suggests, a remarkable […]

Price Discrimination Because of Fat Tourists?

An interesting and very common form of price discrimination exists on several chairlifts I’ve seen around the world, including the one in the picture here from Altenahr, Germany. The price for a trip up the hill on this lift is 3 euros, up and down is only 50 percent more, 4.50 euros. This might be […]

What’s Getting Cheaper?

While we were all talking about record high commodities prices, the prices of some products have gone into free fall. University of Michigan economist Mark Perry compiled a short list of products that are significantly cheaper today than they were ten years ago. At the top of his list: Computers (down 90 percent over the […]

You Tell Us What Your Seat Is Worth

Who hasn’t heard an airline gate attendant announce, “We are in an overbooked situation and are offering $xxx to anyone willing to give up a seat and take a later flight?” The problem with this announcement for the airlines is that there is often a rush of people supplying seats — the $xxx is above […]

Forecasting Oil Prices: It’s Easy to Beat the Experts

Most economists are used to being button-holed at parties and asked about some specific feature of the economy. And the more distant the topic is from your research, the more likely it is that you will be asked about it. Right now, I’m getting plenty of questions about what is happening to oil prices. I […]

I’m Not Going to Pay a Lot for This Cereal

We’ve written repeatedly about pay-as-you-wish commerce or honor-system payment schemes, ranging from music to bagels to coffee. A reader named Seth sent in an interesting new example, all the more so because it shows how one firm is using the pay-as-you-wish mechanism as an experiment to find a good price for a new product: I […]

Why Tourists Pay More at the Beach

I’m on our annual beach week with the extended family in New Jersey and the beach patrol comes by insisting I buy beach tags for everyone 12 and over. The prices are: $6 for one day, $12 for one week, or $24 for the season (but only $19 for the season if bought before Memorial […]

FREAK Shots: $1 Billion Dinners and Other African Pricing Problems

Fares for a trip to Goree Island in Senegal (the Communaute Financiere Africaine franc, CFA, is the Senegalese currency) break down like this: Foreigners: Adults- CFA 5,000 (US $13) Children- CFA 2,500 (US $6) Africans: Adults- CFA 2,500 (US $6) Children- CFA 1,500 (US $3.60) Senegalese: Adults- CFA 1,500 (US $3.60) Children- CFA 500 (US […]