Tag Archives: economists


McCracken County, Ky. librarians. Credit: Flickr/Circulating

McCracken County, Ky. librarians. Credit: Flickr/Circulating

NewsHour’s Patchwork Nation reported earlier this year on Laredo, Texas’s lone bookstore shutting down. Libraries are now also feeling the pinch of recent municipal cutbacks around the country.

In Florida, state funding for libraries was just cut entirely, and in other states, like California, fines are increasing and opening hours are shortening.

Libraries closing mean less Internet access for people without broadband at home, and fewer activities like readings and children’s classes.

The West Palm Beach Post reported:

Without state aid, Murray says the West Palm Beach library will have budgetary issues. It will hurt them the most with affording software that automates the library. Also, they would have to eliminate the AmeriCorps program, which provides volunteers for the library that goes to schools and works in minority communities, etc.

And while schools and libraries are facing cutbacks, publishers may be getting a boost from new standards in public schools.

Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports:

Jay Diskey is executive director of the Association of American Publishers’ School Division. He says after a big push to rewrite curricula in the 1990s, some publishers saw double-digit sales increases. Standardization could also save publishers money. Diskey says having to customize materials to meet a patchwork of state standards has driven up costs.

There’s certainly no shortage of books about the economy. Paul Solmon took a poll of economists to find out what’s on their bedside tables.

Yale University professor and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller recommends Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages and Well-Being, by George A. Akerlof and Rachel E. Kranton and Economics of Integrity: From Dairy Farmers to Toyota, How Wealth Is Built on Trust and What That Means for Our Future, by Anna Bernasek.

There is some overlap between the books, but each offers what seems to me to be a very important perspective for our times, that may resonate especially well in this financial crisis.

Andrew Lo, director of the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering, is a fan of Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique by Michael Gazzaniga.

By looking at economics as a branch of evolutionary biology and ecology, we can see new patterns and processes that explain much of the recent financial crisis, and the years of prosperity that led up to the crash.

Who are you calling Shorty?

It’s Oscar weekend, but in the world of social media, a set of honors for a more prolific crowd went out this week – the Shorty Awards, which praise the best Twitterers on the planet. Some of the most impressive are from the world of finance, who’ve had some success in explaining the economic crisis in 140 characters or less.

The top six finance Twitterers include personal finance guru Suze Orman (@SuzeOrmanShow), debt help radio program The Dave Ramsey Show (@RamseyShow), finance blog site Mint.com (@mint), UK markets strategist Ashraf Laidi (@alaidi), LendingClub founder Rob Garcia (@robgarciasj), and finance site Bulls on Wall Street (@BullsOnWallSt).

How much of a difference can you make in 140 characters? The David Ramsey Show, which claimed second place in the awards reports on how listeners can learn to be debt-free and shares their stories on Twitter:

Blake: Total debt paid off by just those who got thru on the phones today on #TDRS = $876,000. Year to Date = $9,149,900

The popular personal finance blog Mint shares links to content on their main site over Twitter, like the pros and cons of offshore banking and the urban legends surrounding credit scores. But Mint also provides real-time news and advice solely on Twitter, like today’s project where they are retweeting savings tips from readers:

RT @ekmurphy: automatic savings plan helps build savings every time I get paid, not just at the end of the month when I look at what’s left

Outside of finance, but still in the realm of news in the public interest, The Diane Rehm Show @DRShow and Matt Laslo @MattLaslo of Capitol News Connection were both finalists in the news category. Washington, D.C. radio legend Diane Rehm shares inside views of her guests, like health care expert and NIH director Francis Collins, and asks listeners to answer questions on relevant news topics.

Matt Laslo at Capitol News Connection gives real-time updates from his reporting escapades on Capitol Hill. A recent adventure found him hearing about Texas Independence Day:

Did you know it’s Texas Independence Day? Me neither, until Cornyn (R-TX) started talking about it on the Senate floor.

Who are your favorite economics and news experts on Twitter? My favorites are listed here, on the @economystory bloggers list.

Prizes galore

Grammys, Golden Globes, Oscars. It’s awards season in Hollywood, but entertainment isn’t the only industry getting in on the act.

The newly established Dynamite Prize is an effort to be to the global economy what the Razzies are to film. Marketplace’s Scott Jagow reports the Dynamite would go to the economists who “contributed the most to blowing up the global economy.” The top contenders include Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, former Fed chair Alan Greenspan and Nobel prize winner Paul Samuelson, of economics textbook fame.

Jagow places bets on who will win:

“Based on the comments I’ve read so far, Mr. Greenspan seems to be an overwhelming favorite to take down the top prize. I’m guessing Larry Summers will get quite a few votes as well.”

You can cast your vote for the Dynamite Award here.

But not all the news in the economics world has been depressing in the past year. One person who’s unlikely to be up for the Dynamite Prize is last year’s Nobel winner Elinor Ostrom. She is the first woman to win the prize, and someone whose research focuses on managing public resources responsibly.