This week’s highlights:  Teaching Economics, Price Fixing and Coordinating Sports Playoffs

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Fifteen on Friday – Issue 333

 

Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  Vox – The radical plan to change how Harvard teaches economics

Why It Matters:  Raj Chetty has an idea for introducing students to econ that could transform the field — and society.

Consider as well:

  1. TheAtlantic – There’s More to College Than Getting Into College  Credit CF – Applying to schools has become an endless chore—one that teaches students nothing about what really matters in higher education.
  2. Outside – How Our Totally Average Runner Broke the Sub-Five-Minute Mile  Sometimes setting an unreasonable goal is the only way to jump-start your fitness
  3. NYT – In Cities Where It Once Reigned, Heroin Is Disappearing The rise of the more potent fentanyl in its place has put a generation of older users, who had managed their addiction, at far greater risk of overdose.
  4. VF – Brené Brown Wants to Change Your Life The best-selling author recently launched a Netflix special. How did an introverted shame researcher become an on-camera dynamo?

Business/Economics:

Top Read of the Week:  WJLA – Uber, Lyft drivers manipulate fares at Reagan National causing artificial price surges

Why It Matters:  Uber insists that its drivers are not employees but are independent contractors who use their platform to access demand.  Here the drivers have figured out how to game the system and artificially boost prices.  This raises a bunch of awesome questions to consider – such as are the drivers by coordinating their interactions engaging in price collusion?  While I’m no lawyer, it would seem so.  But does monopolistic behavior require a threshold of scale before it is of broader regulatory importance?  If these uber drivers are the Rockefeller of a street corner for a short period of time – does that mean micro-monopolies are something that should be more carefully monitored?

Consider as well:

  1. CNN – How a cheap, brutally efficient grocery chain is upending America’s supermarkets
  2. CIO –  Don’t Be Fooled by Inflated Private Equity Returns  Longer-term subscription lines of credit are becoming increasingly widespread.
  3. Economist – Middle America’s brain drain   Educated people are leaving more rural states much quicker than they are being replaced
  4. EY –15 Annoying Things that VCs say or ask (and how to think about them) – Credit SD

Culture/Tech/Science:

Top Read of the Week:  MIT – Competition From Sports Hurts TV Ratings:How to Shift League Calendars to Optimize Viewership

Why It Matters:    This may be a little wonky for some folks – but given all the action right now in the NBA and NHL – it does seem that these competing events have to be lowering ratings by airing at the same time.  This is an interesting academic paper that looks at when sports should be played to maximize TV viewership.

Consider as well:

  1. FiveThirtyEight – Tiger Woods Used To Be One Of Golf’s Longest Hitters — Until The Sport Caught Up
  2. F1 – The inside story of Kimi Raikkonen’s legendary first F1 test Formula 1 returns to Monaco this weekend for one of its most iconic races.
  3. NYT – The Fusion Reactor Next Door  Entrepreneurs are taking up the search for a near limitless energy source and seeking investors willing to put money behind a long-shot bet against climate change.
  4. NYT –  Your Car Knows When You Gain Weight  Vehicles collect a lot of unusual data. But who owns it?