On Colin Powell and Human Capital

We blogged a while back about how human capital can shift from one industry to others, especially when there’s a major shock to the economy or to social mores. Here’s another interesting take on human capital, provided by the actor Jeffrey Wright in a brief New York magazine profile: Wright, a precise and logical conversationalist, […]

Our Daily Bleg: Give Me Your Tabloid-Worthy (But Accurate) Celebrity Quotes

Our resident quote bleggar Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, is back with another request. If you have a bleg of your own — it needn’t have anything to do with quotations — send it along here. Photo: Joe Shlabotnik Now that the silly little election is over, we can focus on […]

Jennifer Hudson’s Family Tragedy

Not that far from where I live, Jennifer Hudson‘s mother and brother were murdered this weekend. My deepest sympathies go out to the Hudson family. Jennifer Hudson is a local girl who made it big against all odds. Last month I was talking to a photographer who had just done a photo shoot with her, […]

Why Do So Many Celebrities Go Broke?

Because the talent that made them rich in the first place lies in something — television hosting, for example, or heavyweight boxing — that doesn’t teach them anything about how to stay rich. Brian Cuban offers further insights. Last week, Justin Wolfers wondered why Belgium seems to have so few celebrities, and he issued you […]

What Explains the Supply of Fame?

Over a long dinner (and more than a few glasses of wine) with some economist friends, conversation turned to trying to understand why happiness is declining in Belgium. Helena Svaleryd offered an audacious new theory: the Belgians have not enjoyed the rise of celebrity culture that provides so much amusement for the rest of us. […]

The Mustached Man Was …

We posted a pop quiz yesterday asking you to guess the identity of a mustached man on a long flight who read and snoozed before departing in his cashmere coat. My hat is off to the wisdom of the crowds. Even with these very thin clues, and even though it took quite a while — […]

Pop Quiz

I sat next to someone fairly famous yesterday on a long flight. He wasn’t at all talkative. Also, I think he had a cold. He read for a while, snoozed for a while, and watched a DVD on his Macbook. Disembarking, he put on a long cashmere coat. He also had a mustache. Who was […]

What Do Sheryl Crow, Tiki Barber, and Steve Levitt Have in Common?

They are among the celebrities featured in a new ad campaign by the Wall Street Journal. Here’s the story — which, unfortunately, doesn’t mention Levitt. But trust me, he’ll show up in the campaign. Remember when Levitt blogged about a very, very strange photo shoot? This is the one. In exchange for appearing in the […]

Is Levitt a Celebrity? It Depends on Your Definition

A few months ago, after someone claimed I was a celebrity, I offered to test that hypothesis by giving $100 to anyone who identified me spontaneously over the next 30 days. (In the deal I excluded the U of C campus area, because people know me there just because I am a professor.) It was […]

Me a Celebrity? Let’s Test That with an Experiment.

I’m curious who is standing out in Times Square asking people if they know who I am. I am even more skeptical than Dubner regarding the methodology in his post below. Four out of ten? Forget about it. Just for fun, how about we do an experiment. I will give $100 (or all the money […]