“How are California Groundwater Management Agencies like Black Holes? Lessons from history” by Mark Kanazawa, Wadsworth A. Williams Professor of Economics

Why is water policy in California so challenging?  An economist examines the historical roots of the current water crisis in California.

The state of California faces enormous challenges in balancing all of its competing demands for water by farmers, cities, industry, and electric utilities while supporting environmental quality. These challenges can be better understood by examining the long-view history of water development and water use within the context of a growing, evolving economy. Here, Mark offers his perspective on how history can inform our understanding of the present water crisis and possible policy solutions.

Social Issues of Today — An Economic Perspective, “The Bourne Identity: Applying Economics to Almost Everything” by Jenny Bourne

From tax policy to civil rights, from historical fertility patterns to Southern slave law, from agricultural collectives to Edith Wharton, this brief tour of Jenny’s research shows how economics applies to almost everything.

Social Issues of Today — An Economic Perspective, “All Patched Up: Is Our Financial System Now Structurally Sound?” by Yaniv Ben-Ami

Think of the U.S. financial system as a physical structure, like a bridge, that has to be able to carry the load of peak traffic. Every day, savers rely on crossing the bridge to make progress towards their retirement goals. Is the bridge structurally sound? This bridge partially collapsed, fairly recently, and renovation work has just concluded. So before we go on, we should revisit the bridge’s structural points of weakness and examine the quality of the work. Is it safe now? Did we fix it?

Social Issues of Today — An Economic Perspective, “Your Guess is as Good as Mine: Macroeconomic Beliefs and Policy” by Professor Ethan Struby

Professor Struby discusses macroeconomic models used to understand the effects of policy make extremely strong assumptions about both what information people have and how they form those beliefs about the future.  Are those assumptions consistent with reality? He argues the answer is no, discussing various alternatives to the full information rational expectations paradigm and how these alternatives can inform policy.

Social Issues of Today — An Economic Perspective, “Happiness Economics” by Faress Bhuiyan

What does the dismal science have to say about happiness? Why are we so late to the party of investigating happiness? How can economists contribute to our understanding of happiness? Can money solve our quest for happiness? Are there certain policy recommendations or individual advice on how to live a happy life? Professor Bhuiyan elaborates on these questions and shares some of the findings, challenges, and future directions of happiness economics.

Social Issues of Today — An Economic Perspective, “Women in the Labor Market: An International Comparison” by Professor Prathi Seneviratne

Professor Prathi Seneviratne presents her research, “Women in the Labor Market:  An International Comparison” and whether a country’s level of economic development determine women’s labor supply?

Social Issues of Today — An Economics Perspective, “Economics Altruism” by Professor Jonathan Lafky

Professor Jonathan Lafky discusses what motivates people to behave selflessly.  What does it mean to be selfless?  He examines some of the ways in which economists model altruism, discussing implications for economic behavior, especially charitable giving.

Social Issues of Today — An Economics Perspective, “Combating Climate Change: Why We Need Economics” by Professor Aaron Swoboda

Climate change may be the single largest threat facing the human race. Professor Aaron Swoboda discusses how economics can help us better understand the problem and potential solutions.