Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Macro-economics studies the large-scale behaviour of the whole economy. Micro-economics studies small-scale behaviour from individual transactions to the behaviour within particular ...

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314 views

Did a Soviet nail factory produce useless nails to improve metrics?

We've all heard the story, which sounds for all the world like a typical urban legend. It goes something like this: Once upon a time, there was a factory in the Soviet Union that made nails. ...
26
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1answer
5k views

Are there 24 empty houses “available” per homeless person in the USA?

I just saw this meme on Facebook: Since this question answered the ratio question, I would like to know if these houses are "available for" those homeless?
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0answers
134 views

Are these metrics regarding the 2009-2014 recession accurate?

In the Forbes article "The Worst Five Years Since the Great Depression", it is quoted: [...] what America got by year five was fewer jobs than before. Even though the employment age population has ...
14
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0answers
349 views

Are Fairtrade farmers paid worse than other farmers in the same regions?

There have been a few articles recently on the (in)efficiency of fair trade organisation Fairtrade. Here is an example from the Guardian: Sales of Fairtrade-certified products from Uganda and ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

Is Matt Ridley's assertion that the most extreme of the IPCC climate projections is based on very implausible assumptions correct?

Matt Ridley, the science writer who is often grouped with skeptics of warming and denialists despite asserting: man-made climate change is real but not likely to do much harm, let alone prove to ...
21
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1answer
507 views

Have airlines as a whole been unprofitable over their history?

I recently overheard a discussion in which it was claimed that the airline industry has generated more losses than profits when we take its whole history into account. This is basically a repeat of ...
10
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2answers
7k views

Are there lots worldwide filled with thousands of unsold new cars left to ruin?

This link came in an email that was getting passed around the office today: http://www.vincelewis.net/unsoldcars.html The premise is that car manufacturers, not wanting to dilute their inventory to ...
5
votes
1answer
160 views

Are the latest estimates of the cost of climate policy five time higher than the projected benefits?

Bjorn Lomborg argues that the implication of the latest IPCC report is that current mitigation policies are not smart in that the cost of mitigating CO2 emissions is much higher than the benefits: ...
4
votes
1answer
366 views

Do US food stamp recipients outnumber women who work full-time?

This story has been circulating through the conservative media channels: In the average month of 2012, according to the Department of Agriculture, there were 46,609,000 people participating in the ...
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0answers
276 views

Is tax wedge 80%-90% in most of western Europe vs 50% in US?

Wikipedia definition of tax wedge references a document, which makes following claim: Europe's comparatively high tax burden has created big marginal effects and tax wedges. For example a 2007 ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Was pepper once worth its weight in gold?

It's a frequent claim that common black pepper was worth its weight in gold in early modern times. Just yesterday I heard it again in a documentary about the Dutch East India Company's spice trade in ...
0
votes
2answers
176 views

Is Moore's law just a special case of an experience curve? [closed]

I recently stumbled upon the notion of an experience curve: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_curve_effects#The_experience_curve . It basically says, that plotting the cost per item over the ...
2
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0answers
83 views

Is the US economic downturn slowing scientific research?

Nature magazine claims: The financial crisis of the past few years has led to deep cuts in funding for scientific research by governments and charitable organizations, hiring freezes across ...
2
votes
1answer
493 views

Has a company fired its employees by deactivating their access badges?

A few years ago, at the beginning of the financial crisis, there was this rumor that traveled from mouth to mouth about some company that did some layoffs. The story says the company's management ...
1
vote
0answers
354 views

Do any precious stones actually have intrinsic value? [closed]

I watched this CollegeHumor video "Why Engagement Rings are a Scam", which claims that diamonds - particularly dimaond rings - derive all their value from a one hundred year marketing campaign by ...
0
votes
0answers
182 views

Does government spending on healthcare promote economic growth?

As governments attempt to get their finances back into balance, many have cut back on a wide range of spending commitments. Some governments such as the UK have chosen to protect spending on ...
4
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0answers
112 views

Has the Canadian government recently dismissed a net of 2,000 scientists?

A CBC article claims: In the past five years the federal government has dismissed more than 2,000 scientists, and hundreds of programs and world-renowned research facilities have lost their ...
3
votes
0answers
174 views

Do obese people have lower lifetime healthcare costs?

I've always been told that obesity is a drain a country's healthcare system...and it's generally accepted as fact. In online debates I frequently see reference to this. I remember seeing news ...
4
votes
1answer
169 views

Did tax and inflation consume more wealth in the 20th Century than previously produced?

In the chapter on Statism: Our Condition of the 1983 version of the New Libertarian Manifesto by Samuel Edward Konkin III the following can be found, In the 20th Century alone, war has murdered ...
6
votes
0answers
135 views

Can technological innovation increase overall unemployment? [closed]

This is my first question on the site, it may look hypothetical at first but its not. For those unfamiliar with the Luddite Fallacy its synonymous to 'Technological unemployment' Apparently ...
1
vote
2answers
361 views

Has the Catholic Church lifted more people out of poverty than any other civic institution?

The New York Times published an editorial on December 29, 2013 about Pope Francis titled "Radical Pope, Traditional Values" which includes the following statement: As a result of its work in basic ...
132
votes
0answers
82k views

Has Stack Overflow saved billions of dollars in programmer productivity?

John Carmack is a renowned developer and CTO. His Twitter account has over 100,000 followers. On the occasion of Stack Exchange's 5th anniversary, he quipped on Twitter: [... Stack Overflow] has ...
11
votes
1answer
544 views

Is helium being “wasted” on party balloons?

From Tim O'Reilly: Good Q?, the kind politicians are loathe to answer RT @jamesoreilly: "Is it right to waste helium on party balloons?" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24903034 … and ...
5
votes
2answers
473 views

Was 31.5% of Medicare payments in 2006 the result of fraud?

To much fanfare, in 2006 Medicare announced that only 7 percent of its payments were a result of fraud. Two years later, The New York Times reported that it was actually 31.5 percent -- and ...
28
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there enough unused houses in America for each homeless person to have six?

I can't find a source for this, and that number seems much too high to me (although I don't know much about the subject). Is this true? If not, what is the actual ratio of homeless people to vacant ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Has the cost of wireless services in Canada fallen nearly 20% during 2008-2013?

On Stephen Harper's Facebook page (the Prime Minister of Canada), I found many claims that I am skeptical of. The first one is that since 2008, the cost of wireless services has fallen 20 per cent. ...
13
votes
1answer
554 views

Is climate change currently good for the world economy?

Bjorn Lomborg has just edited a new book How Much have Global Problems Cost the World? (Kindle version here) in which he assembles economic analysis of the world's major challenges. The point of the ...
7
votes
1answer
445 views

Did Roosevelt's New Deal Program Prolong the Great Depression?

Many libertarian economists argue in favor of laissez-faire economic policies. As a supporting argument, they often claim that Roosevelt's New Deal program actually prolonged the Great Depression. I'm ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Are GMO crops to blame for farmer suicides in India?

Anyone who follows the genetically modified organism (GMO) debate has probably heard the claim that GMO crops, and specifically the inability to save seed and other associated production costs, have ...
8
votes
3answers
823 views

Is the cost of preventing climate change 50 times higher than the cost of adapting to it?

Political activist Topher has created the "50-to-1" project. In the explanatory video, he claims that: It's 50 times more expensive to try to stop climate change than it is to adapt to climate ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Does the increase of automation lead to unemployment? [closed]

According to this Huffington Post opinion piece, it's possible that in the future the ongoing process of automation will lead to less job opportunities. It quotes economist Paul Krugman arguing one ...
2
votes
4answers
626 views

Was there a downturn in the South African economy after the end of apartheid?

I have heard claims, that there is a strong correlation between the end of the Apartheid in South Africa, and an economic decline there. Does this have any factual basis? More concretely, did any or ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Does United States throw wheat in the ocean to keep the prices high?

In Iran, there is a wide-spread belief that the USA throws extra wheat it produces into the ocean to keep the prices high. The official website for Iranian presidential office [Persian] quotes ...
14
votes
1answer
511 views

Do Europeans have a greater chance of making it into the top 1% of income earners than Americans?

In a 2011 Vanity Fair article, Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote: America has long prided itself on being a fair society, where everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead, but ...
0
votes
2answers
162 views

Are there no rules mandating disclosure of conflicts of interest for academic economists?

The documentary movie Inside Job is a polemical attack on and analysis of the policies and people who contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. It doesn't pretend to be a balanced view. Some of the ...
5
votes
0answers
359 views

Does immigration have a positive economical impact on Sweden?

DN.se made an article(2013-06-13) about immigrants contributing economically more than the cost. Immigration is a very hot topic in Sweden, and Sweden have a very high number of refugees. In 2009, ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Do typical modern pharmaceutical firms spend more on marketing than on R&D?

Developing new drugs is an expensive process. As a result the pharmaceutical industry spends a lot on R&D (15% of turnover is not unusual and is higher than most other major industries: see report ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Is the value of a tree $193,250?

There is a sign, at the Eden Nature Park & Resort in City of Davao, Philippines, that says this: Of concern to all! A tree is worth $193,250 According to Professor T.M.Das of the ...
6
votes
1answer
243 views

Do Americans spend 9.14 billion hours on government paperwork every year?

Cass R. Sunstein, a former head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the author, most recently, of "Simpler: The Future of Government.", has made this claim (The New ...
8
votes
3answers
513 views

Are there mobile phones in North Korea?

Is it true that there are no mobile phones in North Korea? I have heard opposing views saying that there is a working mobile network that many people use and views that say there isn't any of them in ...
5
votes
3answers
250 views

Are there fewer Americans in the labor force than in 1979?

Just wondering if this claim is true, Picture reads, There are fewer AMERICANS in the labor force today than anytime since 1979!! LIKE and SHARE this if Americans need more OPPORTUNITY!
14
votes
1answer
317 views

Is the recent surge in bitcoin prices driven by Cypriot investors?

There are numerous stories out there linking the rise in bitcoin prices seen in the last few weeks with events in Cyprus. Some stories go as far as claiming that Cypriots are buying the things ...
6
votes
0answers
94 views

Has a carbon price lead to a 8.6 percent drop in electricity demand in Australia?

In a press release China’s pilot carbon trading market taps UNSW expertise (press release is by the UNSW, which is my employer) Minister Combet highlighted the benefits to date of Australia’s ...
8
votes
2answers
633 views

Do women drive 80% of consumption?

The Men's Rights organization, Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) have claimed (quoting The Observer Watches Blog) that: Consumption in the modern world today is driven overwhelmingly by women ...
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votes
2answers
283 views

x percent of people own y percent of the wealth

It is very common in infographics such as the following: to make a point about wealth inequality by showing a disproportionate amount of money owned by the richest people. I am slightly skeptical ...
8
votes
0answers
353 views

Is having a “sign waver” an effective marketing strategy?

It started a few years ago. The first one I remember seeing was Little Caeser's $5 Hot-And-Ready pizzas. I don't know if this was the source, but it was the first symptom... ... And then the ...
20
votes
0answers
2k views

Could McDonald's pay a $10.10 minimum wage with an increase of only 4¢ per meal?

This caught my eye and seems like powerful statement, if true. WARREN: During my Senate campaign, I ate a number 11 at McDonald’s many, many times a week. I know the price on that. $7.19. ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is Walmart the largest company in history?

I have seen a post going around on Facebook containing a list of "facts" about Walmart. Two of them seem like very large claims: Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world's largest private ...
5
votes
2answers
498 views

For the same size, is real estate cheaper in Australia than Japan?

From an upvoted comment: Size of an apartment isn't very good measure of how rich some is. Let's say a house that would make you filthy rich in Tokyo might be considered tiny rathole in ...
8
votes
1answer
887 views

Does the US have $54 trillion?

There's a viral video going around about the wealth inequality in the US. It claims the US has $54 trillion. It cites economists from Harvard Business school, but I didn't see where that particular ...