Friday, October 31, 2008

Escaping with Economics

You are a hero with a broken sword (Conan, Boromir, or your favorite Dungeons and Dragons character) being chased by a troop of bad guys (bandits, orcs, . . .). Fortunately you are on a horse and they are not. Unfortunately your horse is tired and they will eventually run you down. Fortunately you have a bow. Unfortunately you have only ten arrows. Fortunately, being a hero, you never miss. Unfortunately there are 40 bad guys. The bad guys are strung out behind you, as shown.

How do you get away? (Use economics to help you escape.)

Note: You cannot talk to the bad guys. They are willing to take a substantial chance of being killed in order to get you--after all, they know you are a hero and are still coming. They know approximately how many arrows you have.

Congratulations to Cody Meglio for providing a clever answer to this week's question. Read the comments to find out more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

To coach, or not to coach? That is the question!

"An examination of the statistics for the Marietta College men's basketball team indicates that when the third string played more, the winning margin increased. If coach VanderWal played the third string more, we would win by a bigger margin."

Evaluate this argument. Also, what Latin term best describes the logical fallacy employed above?

Congratulations to Cody Meglio for providing a correct answer to this week's Bonus Question. Read the comments for Cody's answer: post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Nobel Prize in Economic Science

The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Science in Memory of Alfred Nobel (aka the Nobel Prize in Economics) will be announced on Monday, October 13, 2008. Of the 61 men who have won the award outright or shared in it since the prize began in 1969 (no woman has yet to win it), 41 have been Americans. The leading university homes of the winners include the University of Chicago (10), followed by Columbia (4), Harvard (4), University of California-Berkeley (4), and Cambridge University, England (4).

Now, let's see how well you can forecast. Who will be awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics? Your educated guess must be posted as a comment to this post before the Nobel Prize announcement is made. In the event that more than one person submit identical guesses, the earlier timestamp of the comment will determine the winner. The bonus points will be added to the winner's next exam score following the Nobel announcement on October 13.

Congratulations to Paul Krugman for winning this year's Nobel Prize in Economics. Unfortunately, nobody had guessed that Dr. Krugman would be the winner this year. Here's a nice summary of Krugman's work. In case you didn't make the connection, Krugman is a co-author (along with his wife, Robin Wells) of the Principles of Microeconomics text used in Econ 211.