Thursday, March 25

Faulty political incentives

A storm is brewing at my alma mater, where student union politicians may override the decision of an electoral officer and boot two candidates who won election to next year's board of directors.

The prospect of partisan politicians disqualifying another party's politicians is creating quite a controversy, and rightly so. But it shouldn't be a big surprise, given the rules in place for dealing with electoral complaints:

Friday, March 5

Kahneman pokes holes in happiness research

Behavioural economics pioneer Daniel Kahneman is featured in a recent TED talk, in which he discusses problems with measuring happiness.

Wednesday, March 3

Corporate charity makes me ill

The Ontario government recently donated $81.2 million to Ford's coffers, according to the Toronto Star. The money will be used for Ford's engine factory in Windsor, and is in addition to $17 million in provincial money and $80 million in federal money given to the engine factor in 2008.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't explain why government is giving away $178 million to a single corporation, other than it will help Ford: "We've been able to bring the Essex engine plant back to life and transform it into a leading-edge facility with a significant role in the company's long-term engine production … plans," Ontario economic development minister Sandra Pupatello told the Star.

Monday, March 1

Irrationality and hockey tickets

Vancouver newspaper The Province reported over the weekend that despite astronomically high market prices for tickets to the Olympic men's hockey final, many people were planning to hang on to their tickets.

This is somewhat mind-boggling. Olympic tickets were originally sold in a lottery, which means that the people who originally bought the tickets from the lottery paid far less than the market value the morning of the big game (in the neighbourhood of $3,000 per ticket). Personally, if I had a pair of tickets that someone was willing to pay $6,000 for, I'd sell. I love hockey (and it was a great game). But I could do a lot more with $6,000 than with a pair of Olympic final tickets.