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Archive for April, 2012

Midterm Scores, Microeconomics

April 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Congratulations to all my students who studied hard and learned well. Several students are getting better each year!

9842     99     A
1991     97     A
1957     95     A
0304     95     A
0103     95     A
1616     93     A
1212     92     A
2120     90     A
0507     90     A
8984     88     B
2012     87     B
5292     86     B
0007     85     B
6969     84     B
6688     83     B
1350     82     B
2121     82     B
5664     81     B
0116     80     B
1605     80     B
2016     80     B
2804     78     C
9595     78     C
1806     77     C
0015     75     C
1993     74     C
1791     74     C
0905     73     C
1200     72     C
1085     71     C
1004     71     C
5750     70     C
1911     70     C
0005     64     D
9555     64     D
3010     62     D
0910     61     D
1358     60     D
9522     55     F
1960     53     F
3832     52     F
0207     48     F

Categories: Uncategorized

Something Much More Important than Microeconomics

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Take a break from study to pay attention to something far more important than this week’s midterm exams.

At 3 p.m. this Saturday, pro sports in this country will change forever when the Rhode Island Rampage take on the Connecticut Constitution. Yes, we are just a few days away from the dawn of professional Ultimate Frisbee.

I first played ultimate in Hong Kong, and learned the game in China.

Categories: Uncategorized

Population Trends Matter: End of Cheap China, II

April 20, 2012 1 comment

China would likely have moved up the value chain anyway, but demographic changes seal the deal.

Between 2010 and 2050 China’s workforce will shrink as a share of the population by 11 percentage points, from 72% to 61%—a huge contraction, even allowing for the fact that the workforce share is exceptionally large now….The shift spells the end of China as the world’s factory. The apparently endless stream of cheap labour is starting to run dry.

Shanghai now may have the “lowest [fertility] level anywhere in the world.”

The China I grew up knowing–with an ever higher student population in ruthless competition for a few prize spots at universities–will soon be a thing of the past. About half of all Chinese students old enough to take the university entrance exam will do so this year, and almost 3/4ths will get into an institution of higher learning.

Categories: China, Education

Most Expensive City for Locals Isn’t New York…

April 12, 2012 1 comment

…but rather, Mumbai, according to this article.

How much would it cost for the average local to buy a luxury apartment in the world’s most important cities? In Singapore, it would take four decades of income. In Shanghai, two centuries. And in Mumbai — poor souls — they’d be looking at a good three centuries of hard work.

The obvious problem, of course, is comparing average income with luxury apartments. This study says a lot more about income disparity than it does about housing affordability.

Interesting numbers, sloppy work on the chart title.

UPDATE: The original Bloomberg piece the above article is based on is also full of sloppy writing.

Prime-location home prices in Mumbai averaged $11,400 a square meter in the quarter to Dec. 31, while India’s per-capita purchasing power was $3,700, the data show.

Two big problems: 1) comparing average Indian income to Mumbai housing prices is silly: average incomes in Mumbai are likely much higher than for India as a whole, and 2) “per-capita purchasing power” is the wrong thing to compare to the price of housing in nominal terms. You can’t buy a house with adjusted purchasing power–last I checked, banks wanted real money.

Categories: Uncategorized

Beyond the “End of Cheap China”

April 7, 2012 Leave a comment


It’s an idea who’s time has come:

China is changing, and the glut of cheap labor that has made everyday low prices possible is drying up as the Chinese people seek not to make iPhones, but to buy them.

That said, I have some fundamental problems with several ideas presented here:

1) China isn’t cheap, it’s efficient in the production of some goods. China does not, for example, produce cheap airplanes. China can produce airplanes, but they would be far more expensive than U.S.-built airplanes.

This is not just high-tech vs. low-tech, either. China has all the technology it needs to produce cashews and almonds, but Chinese-grown cashews and almonds are expensive (at the margin) relative to what it can buy more cheaply on the world market.

2) So what “the end of cheap China” really means is that its comparative advantage is shifting quickly from some items to others. China is becoming more efficient at the production of almost all goods. What’s changing is which goods and services China is relatively more efficient at producing.

3) The good news: the author is likely wrong to say “China’s economic transformation spells the end of cheap consumption for Americans.” More likely, it means Americans will enjoy a whole new range of products made very efficiently in China–cars, electronics, engineering services, and medical devices.

That’s good for Americans and for Chinese. Trade based on comparative advantage doesn’t stop being good for everyone just because the products one country has an advantage in changes.

Categories: Uncategorized