The Costs of Eating Out

Daniel Frank, a Canadian law student, wrote an homage to economist Tyler Cowen describing how to be a "frugal foodie"

Turning Down an Opportunity for Free Genetic Testing

Tyler Cowen had the opportunity to try out 23andMe, the genetic testing company that uses a swab of your saliva to tell you things like inherited traits, genealogy and possible congenital risk factors. It's backed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and advertisements have been everywhere (you may have heard about it on a radio program, or on an internet ad). Cowen's main reasons for turning down the opportunity were "worry cost" (worrying about potential negative information he'd receive), and some privacy concerns (allowing a privately held company to store information about his genetic data).

The Empty Restaurant

My favorite foodie economist Tyler Cowen argues today that you shouldn't judge a restaurant that doesn't have long lines or tends to be empty because those two things are not always indicators that a place is actually good. I usually eat at places based on recommendations from friends or from reviews I've read, and those places have been generally busy. And dining in an empty restaurant can feel strange—Why is it so empty, you think or whisper to your dining companion, and then crack a joke about money laundering. I'm going to conduct an experiment in which I eat at one of the more empty restaurants in my neighborhood. I'm sure it'll be fine, maybe even great.

Dessert Economics

Growing up, my family rarely went out to dinner due to financial constraints, and if we did for a special occasion, we never ordered dessert. My father believed desserts were a waste of money, and my mother didn't have much of a sweet tooth.

Chart: The Hollowing Out of Middle Class Jobs

Charts! We love them. We've talked a lot about how low wage jobs have overwhelmingly replaced the mid-wage jobs lost during the financial crisis. Data from the National Employment Law Project shows this, and new data from Goldman Sachs and the Department of Labor also supports this. More importantly the Goldman Sachs reports shows that the "hollowing out in the middle is real, it is not unique to the post-crisis period," which means that we can't just blame this on the financial crisis—there has been rapid growth in the low-wage sector since the booming '90s.

Tyler Cowen on the “But We Just Had Indian Food” Argument

Tyler Cowen, an economics blogger I enjoy reading and the author of An Economist Gets Lunch, has a post this morning about how he doesn't understand the following argument when people are trying to decide where to eat: "But we just had Indian food yesterday!"

The ACA’s Effect on the Labor Force is Currently Foggy

The Congressional Budget Office reported today that the Affordable Care Act will shrink the American workforce by 2.5 million by 2024, not as a result of employers shedding jobs but because more people will choose not to work or "work fewer hours than they might have otherwise to obtain employer-provided insurance."

How the Digital Divide is Helping to Drive Inequality

The New Yorker's Joshua Rothman has an interview with our favorite (foodie) economist Tyler Cowen, who talks about his new book Average Is over, and why he thinks technology is one of the biggest culprits currently driving inequality in the U.S.

President Obama’s New College-Ranking System

President Obama is starting a two-day bus tour of college campuses today to talk about his proposal for making colleges more affordable. The gist of the proposal is a new college rankings system based on metrics like graduation rates and earnings of graduates and tying financial aid to the best performing colleges.