The Bowtie Economist's Daily Dose of 70-Word Wisdom

Stress Less, Pay More!


The Friday File: A recent article in the Journal of Marketing Research shows that relaxed shoppers pay up to 15% more for the same merchandise as less-relaxed ones. So if you hear soothing music, are offered a free cup of…

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Politics of the VAT


Democrats fear a Value Added Tax because it is very regressive. (That means the poor pay more taxes as a proportion of their income than the rich). Republicans fear a VAT because it can easily raise lots of money —…

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Luck for the Lady President


This past Sunday Argentines reelected president Cristina Kirchner. Like all good politicians lady luck has been with her. Argentina pulled out of its ’01 financial meltdown by; not paying its bills, devaluing its currency and defaulting on its debts. Miraculously,…

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Italy is Next!


Greek PM Papandreou’s call for a referendum to approve additional financing has heightened fears that Greece will default. In response 10-yr Italian debt yields hit 6.33% a euro-era high and as much as 4.55% above super safe German bonds. Once…

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High on Hopium


Q3 GDP came in at 2.5%; best performance since Q4 ’10. But, after looking at the economic entrails the number is weaker than it looks. Consumer spending on utilities and healthcare is what drove spending, not discretionary items. Worse, spending…

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Ethics for Economists


The Friday File: US academic economists (but not econ bloggers) are adopting a code of ethics requiring them to disclose conflicts of interest by reporting research-funding sources and material financial relationships. This is partly motivated by the documentary “Inside Job”…

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Playing Footsie with the FTSE 100


Britain’s FTSE 100 (like the S&P 500) is a measure of blue-chip respectability signaling good governance, and so on. Now, some businessmen have figured out how to break into this index without a solid record. First, they buy a firm…

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Brother Can you Spare a Job?


While some are unemployed by choice and some due to a lack of necessary skills, I do not think it’s that many. Here’s why. There are 14 million unemployed and 3.1 million job openings, or 4.6 jobless workers per opening.…

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Roads for Nobody


China has 46K miles of highways; we have barely 47K. China plans to build out to 112.5K miles by ’30 yet there are just one-third as many cars in China as here, and worse, Chinese highways have high tolls, to…

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A Snorkel Perhaps?


Obama’s latest effort to help underwater homeowners, who are current, refinance at lower rates will help, but, it’s no panacea. Estimates are that a million households will take advantage of this plan and will, on average, save $2,500/year. If all…

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