Friday, November 18, 2011

Michael Lewis on NPR, on Europe, literally on everyone

I think Michael Lewis also rakes the U.S. over the coals a little, but in this NPR story on Morning Edition that I shared with my QC undergrads, he focuses on Greece. There's a lot more to say about the euro crisis, but I liked how he described in accessible terms one reason why Greece is at the center of it.  In an earlier NPR interview he discusses cultural flaws in an array of countries affected by financial crises, and I think he doesn't spare anyone.

Trends in demand and supply of babies

NPR reports on declining foreign adoptions in the U.S. and increased restrictions recently imposed by sending countries.  Foreign adoptions are well measured because State/ICE gets involved with naturalizations.  But although the State Department offers an online database, I can't find data before 1999.  Had international adoptions been trending upward monotonically prior to recent times?  Or had they fluctuated with the economy?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another tell-all from a financial advisor

Several years ago the Times featured a economics columnist's tell-all about his own struggles with overextension during the housing crisis, and I blogged about it here. And now here is another such story from a financial advisor. For me, the highlight was the discussion of his feelings of moral obligation to pay his debts, contrasted against an friend's point that his moral obligation was to his family, while his debts were a contractual obligation. The author also cites some perspectives of professor of law Brent White, who is said to have advocated that consumers approach debt more like how corporations do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This just in: Wily kids find sugar

An article reports that narrow prohibitions on sugary sodas in schools, rather than on all sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) tend not to change purchases of SSBs by adolescents, although broad prohibitions do. But the study also reports that consumption of SSBs tends not to respond to any prohibitions at all.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Super-size my self worth!

NPR reports on a study that associates meal portion choices with feelings of control and social status. It doesn't look like the researchers randomly applied a treatment of reduced control or social status to individuals, so it naturally raises the question of what's causing what.