Hans Rosling



Sadly, Swedish statistician Hans Rosling has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 68. He had a marvelous, funny, clear way of presenting data. We watched at least one of his TED talks in Macroeconomics.

Check out his TED talks here

Play with Gapminder here

Read about him here.


Week 10: Behavioral Economics

How rational are we as consumers?

Rodin, The Thinker

We began this semester with the economic belief in rational behavior:

Economic actors (people or firms) given perfect-information will equalize marginal costs and benefits in making decisions, such as whether to buy something, sell something, start a business or close a business.

However as we are going to see this week, we are not that rational.  We are easily mislead by too many choices, the order of choices, time, loss vs gain decisions, and especially by the word “Free.”

Because I think you will find this interesting I have included some places where you can learn more about Behavioral Economics.

Check out these sources – OPTIONAL not required before class

Dan Ariely and Predictably Irrational

Richard Thaler and Nudge

Daniel Kahneman and Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Pink and Drive

Crowd Control on National Geographic Channel

Brain Games on National Geographic Channel

Hidden Brain by Shankar Vendantam

Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce Malcom Gladwell Tedtalk

Unequally paid monkeys Frans de Waal Tedtalk


To do:

_____ Complete Test 2

_____ Read The Atlantic “Why you Bought that Ugly Sweater

Focus Question: What are the irrational factors guiding behavior?

Week 9, 11/19: Wages

Why do surgeons make more than sales clerks?  Why go to college or grad school?


This week we will look at why occupations have different wages. And why individuals have different incomes. There are solid economic reasons for wage differences.  But sometimes there is not an economic reason.  Determining wage discrimination is complicated, but that won’t stop us from trying.

Please bring a laptop in if you can today.  We need three – so each pair of students has one.  You will be researching national and local wages on http://www.mynextmove.org/

Music:  To make up for last two weeks without a song,  here are 10 songs about labor.


Wages & Discrimination

To do before class:

______  Complete paper outline to hand-in at start of class.

Choose either Cereal Merger Case or Poverty in the Movies

_____ Watch videos:   Tradeoff Between Fun & Wages and  Compensating Differentials

_____ Complete the online questionnaire at MyNextMove.org.  This is the O-Net Interest Profiler.

Write down your top 2-3 interest areas.

Decide on a level of preparation with the Job Zone

(Zone 4 is a bachelor’s degree, Zone 5 is graduate work)

Look at the recommended careers.  Write down 3 that are of interest. (turns out I might be interested in Economics Teaching, post-secondary)

_____ Listen to the Freakonomics show on The Patent Gap

_____ Complete focus notes by making two lists while watching and listening this week:

-Reasons that two different occupations would have different wages

– Reasons that two different individuals would make different amounts even if in the same occupation

____   Calendar check: 11/26 – No class – Eat Turkey

12/3 – Quiz 2 due.  Paper outlines returned

12/10 – Email me your papers



Week 8: 11/12 Poverty & Income Inequality

Poverty: Who? Where? Why? Is it true that the rich are getting richer?  What would cause that to happen?  And does it matter?

from Visualizing Economics

We will look at income statistics for the United States. you will learn how to interpret income statistics with definitions of poverty and quintile analysis.  We will also look at three theories of why poverty persists.

To Do Before Class:

____ Read all three theories of poverty handouts: “Poverty as culture“, “poverty as structure,” and “Poverty as Exploitation

_____ Complete Poverty Theory Grid in attached focus notes

_____ Watch “Is There Income Mobility in America?”

_____ Watch this TED Talk by Richard Wilkinson on “How Economic Inequality Hurts Societies”

_____ Complete the income inequality focus notes before class.  While I do not check these completing them builds a base knowledge that lets us all jump right into the case studies.


or web site here https://www.slideshare.net/secret/t8AZwWCammZr3L

Focus Notes:

Income Inequality and Poverty Notes

MICRO: Before 9/17

Week 1:  An Introduction

Today we will review how this class will work.  It is a flipped class which means students do a fair amount of prep work and notetaking before coming to class.  In lass we will do case studies, problems, and demonstrations of the concepts.  Watching videos, reading articles and taking focus notes will be critical to the success of each student and the class.


To do before class:

____ Watch the videos below: They all come from mjmfoodie microeconomics channel on youtube

Episode 2 (E2): Scarcity and Choice

E3: Resources

E4: Micro v Macro

E5: Positive v Normative

E8: Opportunity Cost

E6: Graphing Review

____ Complete the focus notes below

Complete the following table in your notebook from the videos.  You will probably need multiple lines per term.  For Connection, I want you to come up with your own example or connect it to another term on this list or pinpoint why we care about this or if really stumped – try to form a question about what it is you don’t understand.  I filled one in for you as an example.

Term Definition Example Connection
Opportunity Cost
Resources 1




Positive Statement A statement of fact. Proveable. That car costs $17,500 As opposed to a normative statement
Normative Statement
Positive or Direct Relationship Draw a graph:
Negative or Indirect Relationship Draw a graph: