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Questions tagged [economics]

Economics is the analytical study of the costs and benefits of producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services. This tag should not be used for personal finance questions, nor for most questions about expensive items, e.g. exorbitantly priced houses, autos, jewelry. It can be used for current events, and in historical contexts.

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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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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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 ...
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236 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 ...
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606 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 ...
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405 views

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

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 ...
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1answer
417 views

Is the US debt between 15 and 20 trillion dollars?

www.treasurydirect.gov puts the debt at around $17.3 trillion (this will change, so I'm not putting an exact amount). A related quote from Wikipedia On December 12, 2013, debt held by the public ...
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3answers
7k views

Do the Jewish control a larger proportion of U.S. wealth than their proportion in the population?

As per StormFront (warning: neo-nazi website): While only 3% of the population, the Jews control over 25% of the nation's wealth and this percentage rises every year. Is only 3% of the ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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2answers
1k 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 from ...
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2answers
586 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 that ...
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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 ...
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1answer
7k views

Did Henry Ford predict revolution if people understood the banking and monetary system?

Several sites claim that Henry Ford said the following: It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be ...
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1answer
191 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. ...
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1answer
940 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 ...
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1answer
619 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 ...
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2answers
5k views

Did USA send Federal Reserve System officers to Iran to print cash for Iranian oil

Short introduction: Recetly some russian newspapers talked about airplane, lost in Moscow Sheremetevo airport. And this airplane was claimed to be full of Euros in cash, up to 20 billions (20 000 000 ...
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
3k views

Does Germany want their gold back?

There is a meme that is going around that states: The German government has been storing about half of its gold supply with the US FED, apparently in the NYC FED vaults. Germany decided to ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
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4answers
862 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 ...
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3answers
12k 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
192 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 ...
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1k 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, ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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1answer
995 views

How much does an ISP pay for traffic?

The announcement of the german ISP Deutsche Telekom to throttle flatrates in the future, with the lowest limit being 75 GB per month, caused quite a media echo in Germany. One claim from a small ...
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2answers
9k 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 ...
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1answer
367 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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3answers
355 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!
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1answer
367 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 ...
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1answer
426 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 (80-91%,...
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2answers
453 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 ...
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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 plague ...
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3answers
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Does pumping gas when the tank is half full and on the low flow setting provide an economic benefit?

There is a chain post making the rounds in my social networks. It asserts that gasoline vapors can affect how much fuel you actually get. To minimize the amount of vapor passed through the nozzle/...
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1answer
4k 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. According ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
876 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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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1answer
2k views

Will the Affordable Care Act negatively impact radiologists in America?

My doctor, and numerous medical students and residents* I know, have told me recently that most doctors, and especially radiologists, are going to be negatively impacted by the Affordable Care Act, ...
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1answer
1k views

Are Americans less prosperous and less educated than their parents for the first time?

In the movie Inside Job, Matt Damon makes the following claim: For the first time in history, average Americans have less education and are less prosperous than their parents. Is that true? What ...
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2answers
1k views

Do banks typically lose as much money as they make in the long term?

Nicholas Nassem Taleb makes the following passing statement in his latest meditation on the nature and management of risk (Antifragile): ...businesses with negative optionality (that is, the ...
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1answer
3k views

Is the pharmaceutical industry the most profitable business in the United States?

The Russia Today article Pharmageddon: America’s bitter pill claims The pharmaceutical industry remains the most profitable business in the US. More success and financial gain for the companies ...
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1answer
775 views

Does McDonald's periodic release of the McRib sandwich drive up market prices for pork trimmings?

According to an article based on an interview with University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Roger Mandingo, the reason McDonalds' infamous McRib sandwich is only available periodically, and for ...
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1answer
565 views

Are Taiwanese people gambling on when cancer sufferers will die?

Police investigate claims of gambling with dying patients - Taipei Times Greater Taichung police on Tuesday said they have launched an investigation into a report that gamblers are betting tens ...
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1answer
946 views

Were more than a half of all Silicon Valley tech companies founded by immigrants between 1995 and 2005?

Source: CNN Global Public Square: A new book caught my eye this week. It’s called The Immigrant Exodus by Vivek Wadhwa, a former tech entrepreneur who now studies and lectures on immigration. He ...