Thursday, December 31

The economics of orgasms

In case you thought there were any topics that are off-limits for economists, Hugo Mialon from Emory University in Atlanta has produced a working paper on orgasms (hat tip to Greg Mankiw, who posted on his blog that Mialon is presenting the paper at the upcoming American Economic Association meeting).

Mialon uses game theory to develop predictions on whether or not people will fake orgasms, and then uses survey data to show his predictions are accurate. He argues that how close people are to their sexual prime (late teens for men and about 30 for women), their chances of getting caught and whether or not they love their partner (Mialon uses a very rigid definition of love) all matter.

Tuesday, December 15

Evolutionary economics

I recently discovered a new discipline of economics that I didn't know existed: evolutionary economics. In a nutshell, it tries to understand the economy by drawing parallels with evolutionary theory from biology.

I came across evolutionary economics by accident through an assignment for our microeconomics class. We were asked to find two papers describing non-traditional theories of the firm and compare them. To make the exercise interesting, I tried to find the wildest theory I could find, which led me to The Firm as an Interactor: Firms as Vehicles for Habits and Routines. It's a 2004 paper published by two European economists, Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjorn Knudsen, in the Journal of Evolutionary Economics. Yes, there is such a journal (actually, it's the 98th-ranked economics journal, according to

Monday, December 14

Musings on marijuana

The Canadian senate reformed a piece of drug legislation that would create mandatory sentences for people convicted of growing pot.

The bill originally said the mandatory sentence would apply to people growing at least five plants, but it seems the Senate felt that was too strict and changed the threshold to 201 plants. I would be willing to bet that if the legislation passes with the 201 threshold, there will be many grow-ops that decide to grow exactly 200 plants. People -- even criminals -- respond to incentives, after all. It also gives a potential argument lawyers could use to get their clients off easier ("But your honour, the 201st and 202nd plants were dead, so they didn't count").

Friday, December 11

What I've been up to

I've been very busy with school in recent weeks, but have been doing a little writing on the side. Here's some stuff I've done lately:

- My take on the single transferrable vote proposal put forward in British Columbia was published in the Canadian Student Review's Winter 2009 edition.

- I've been covering the Hamilton Bulldogs, including a profile of their coach Guy Boucher (also in French), and the team's recent home games against the Toronto Marlies and Abbotsford Heat.