Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Winning the World Series and Economic Ressurection?

A article in the sports section of Slate explores the question of what economic development effects we might expect if the Detroit Tigers were to win the World Series. Short answer: Don't hold your breath waiting for anything.

Longer answer: Why would we expect an effect? What is the mechanism by which winning a sports championship would (a) stimulate a burst of entrepreneurship or (b) serve as a very strong force attracting successful firms to locate there, or to build new establishments there? There's no reason to expect such an effect, and no evidence that such an effect exists. So a World Series championship might be a nice thing for Detroit and its citizens, enjoy it for what it is, not because it will lead to a rosy future.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ivy League Education and Business Success

From MSN's business news section:

Most CEOs went to state universities or small schools,,,not the Ivy League.

So does attending and graduating from an Ivy League university increase or decrease your chances of being a corporate CEO?

It increases your changes, and dramatically.

About 1% of college graduates attended an Ivy League school--but about 10% of CEOs did. So you're more than 10 times as likely to become a CEO if you attend an IVY League school than if you don't.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Making Money on the Clock

The Chicago White Sox have sold timing rights to the start time for evening home games in 2007, according to a story in the New York Times. The games will start at 7:11. Guess who the sponsr is? (Insert your own jokes.)
(Hat tip to Steven Dubner at the
Freakonomics blog.)

Update: This appears to be a three-year deal for $500K per year. The Sox apparently play about 50 evening home games per year, so it's $10K per game for the starting time. That seems like a lot to me, but I guess it depends on how often, and in what manner, 7-11 gets credited for the starting time.

Update 2: The story is also on the Chicago Tribune's web site--the New York Times story, that is--and does not appear in today's Tribune print edition. Talk about getting scooped...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Edmund Phelps is a Winner

Edmund Phelps has won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. The New York Times story covers his career nicely. Here's the formal announcement. The Bank of Sweden's summary of his career is here. He's currently at Columbis University, and here's the description of his work on their website. I first encountered Phelps's work while in graduate school, especially his development of the expectations-augmented Phillips' Curve and of the "natural rate" of unemployment. Some of the comments on his work (from economists somewhat younger than I) note that his work had little influence on them, because it was so thoroughly incorporated into the mainstream by the time they entered graduate school. For those of us in graduate school in the early 1970s, however, it was a blast.