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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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Will introduction of a minimum wage increase unemployment?

In economics, you commonly hear the clear that a minimum wage law will reduce employment. Is there empirical evidence that either supports or debunks that claim?
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Is credit card use more environmentally friendly than cash?

A popular organic food store in Amsterdam has this sign posted near the entrance: Welcome! Marqt accepts all credit or debit cards, free of charge. Thank you for contributing to a safer and ...
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Was it illegal in Venezuela for doctors to list starvation as cause of death for children?

In this video Jordan Peterson says the following: Do you know that it is now illegal for physicians to list starvation as the cause of death for a Venezuelan child in a hospital. That's how ...
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Is bribery damaging to society?

Many commentators in the developed countries insist that bribery is a form of corruption and needs to be stamped out in developing countries, contending that it is bad for the people. The main ...
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Is the British monarchy economically beneficial?

When considering the economic impact of the British royals on the economy/budget, a first thought might be that they cost the state money since they don't do any "real" work and yet live quite ...
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Does the Australian government spend more on welfare than on defense?

Is it true that the Australian people spend more on welfare than they do on defense? This was claimed by Joe Hockey: Each year, the Government spends more on welfare than we spend on the education ...
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Is Social Security a Ponzi scheme?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said at a September 7 MSNBC presidential debate that "it is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you're paying into a program that's going to be ...
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Is extreme poverty in the world getting worse?

In a recent Guardian article Jason Hickel argues that the west needs to de-develop in order to have any hope of meeting the UN goal of eradicating world poverty. He specifically says: Growth has ...
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Is the global inequality as measured by the Gini index rising or falling?

Olle Hammar et al write in Global Earnings Inequality, 1970–2015: Our main finding is that global earnings inequality has declined, primarily during the 2000s, when the global ...
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Do minimum wage laws disproportionately harm black employment?

There is a common claim that applying minimum wage laws impacts the poorer members of society, and thus impacts poorer minorities, such as blacks, more than others. Milton Friedman openly argued ...
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Are people unable to go to school because they can't afford uniforms?

In the middle of a blog post on human trafficking, it's claimed: Another way to be involved with this issue is to help prevent boys and girls from being trafficked in the first place. Many of ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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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Does the fossil fuel industry benefit from trillions of dollars of subsidy from governments every year?

This IMF working paper claims that the fossil fuel industry benefits from trillions of dollars of government subsidies every year. It is a working paper intended to "promote discussion" and not the ...
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Are teachers in the United states paid poorly?

At the last "Save Our Schools" rally, Matt Damon said: So you think job insecurity is what makes me work hard? I want to be an actor. That’s not an incentive. That’s the thing: See, you take this ...
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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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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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Are elections bad for the economy?

Since 2008, whenever the possibly of an election is brought up, the Conservative Party of Canada repeats the same point: elections are bad for the economy. For example, here's an excerpt of Jim ...
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Were iron nails at one time so scarce that pioneers in America burned down their cottages to retrieve them?

Heilbroner and Thurow, Economics Explained (1982, 1998): Iron nails were so scarce that pioneers in America burned down their cottages to retrieve them. Another writer (2003): Nails at one time ...
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Is 2FABE a secret code for sending postcards without a stamp?

Borrowing shamelessly from a travel Stack Exchange question https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/2825/2fabe-the-secret-international-travel-postcard-stamp-code: I was told about this about ...
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1answer
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Were only half of US college graduates from 2006-2011 employed full-time in 2012?

According to an online article SmartMoney magazine titled, "The Jobless Class of 2012": Only a half of those who graduated since 2006 are now employed full time, according to a recent Rutgers ...
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Is it possible to identify where Euro banknotes are from?

Some websites claim that you can know which country printed an euro banknote, by looking at the serial number. Is that technique fool-proof ?
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Has the US federal government ever defaulted on a loan?

A number of newspapers claim that the US federal government has never defaulted on its loans (though I noted that it did restructure them in 1930). In particular, the Economist states in the article “...
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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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If you raise taxes, will the rich leave the country? [closed]

I often see/hear this argument used as an argument against raising income tax, at least here in the UK. The argument being the rich will leave, taking their cash out of the country, resulting in ...
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Do countries deliberately avoid winning Eurovision?

Spanish singer told to lose Eurovision? claims that countries deliberately avoid winning the Eurovision Song Contest because of the expense of hosting it. It claims that: Montenegro, Andora and ...
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Do CFLs have a significant impact on your light bill?

I just moved into my own apartment, and I've taken quite an interest in being as energy-efficient as possible (simply because, hey - I'm paying the electricity bill now!). I've been wondering - are ...
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Does Sallie Mae earn more from defaulted education loans than properly repaid ones?

I was sent an article by Catherine Austin Fitts, the author of the Solari Report, entitled William M. Diefenderfer: The Financial Hit Man of Student Loans. It contained some rather striking claims ...
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Do 40,000 people die in the United States for every 1% increase in unemployment?

In the 2015 movie The Big Short, the character of Ben Rickert, played by Brad Pitt, makes the following statement to two investment bankers. If we're right (about the housing market collapsing), ...
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1answer
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Were there fewer first-home buyers in Australia in 2017 than seventh-home buyers?

An ABC news item today quoted a claim about the Australian property market without any indication that they verified it: [Queensland] State Housing Minister Mick De Brenni said that last year more ...
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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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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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Does offshoring ultimately help the offshoring-country's poor and middle classes?

Are claims about the positive economic effects of offshore outsourcing for the poor and middle class of the outsourcing country verifiable? The main argument for Offshore Outsourcing, is the common ...
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Was the UK's drive to acquire civilian metals to use in WW2 necessary for the war effort?

This question was asked here recently: Were World War II scrap drives in the United States truly necessary for the procurement of raw materials? And it has produced some very solid analysis and ...
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1answer
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Does immigration to the USA increase the unemployment rate?

Does immigration to the USA diminish the number of jobs available to US citizens? According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll: The poll also finds that 56 percent of American voters believe that ...
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Did US President Bill Clinton pay down the national debt by $223 billion in 2000?

CNN has this statement about the Clinton Surplus: President Clinton announced Wednesday that the federal budget surplus for fiscal year 2000 amounted to at least $230 billion, making it the largest ...
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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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Did JFK Attempt to eliminate the power of the Federal Reserve Bank to loan money to the US?

According to this site: On June 4, 1963, a virtually unknown Presidential decree, Executive Order 11110, was signed with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve Bank of its power ...
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Has immigration from Eastern Europe impacted UK youth unemployment?

MigrationWatch UK is a think-tank that argues for lower immigration levels into the UK. In a 2012 Briefing Paper they claimed: Youth unemployment in the UK increased by almost 450,000 in the ...
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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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Do most economists consider lump of labor to be a fallacy?

As an economist in training, it is my understanding that the idea that there is a fixed amount of work is considered a fallacy by most economists. For example, when Paul Krugman discusses it, he ...
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Do Kondratiev waves predict long-term economic trends?

Kondratiev waves are a model of long-term economic growth. Averaging fifty and ranging from approximately forty to sixty years in length, the cycles consist of alternating periods between high ...
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Is non-union labor more productive than union labor?

A claim was made today by an equipment manufacturing industry representative that in the last 10 years Non-Union labor had far out paced Union labor in productivity gains and that Non-Union Shops ...
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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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Does placing a fly on a urinal improve cleanliness in men's toilets?

Recently Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for Economics for his "Nudge" Theory. Pretty much every news agency (in the UK at least) has chosen to explain his theory by using the "Fly on a Urinal" ...
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Are beggars in the Nordic countries cities typically part of organised networks?

In Sweden and other Nordic countries, the presence of beggars on the streets is a relatively new phenomenon, with many beggars originating from new EU member states. There are frequent claims that ...
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Did Comcast attempt to coerce Netflix by slowing down its traffic?

In 2014, a news story erupted over a dispute between Netflix and Comcast over connectivity and distribution. Comcast was accused of deliberately blocking or restricting Netflix traffic. For example, ...
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Do one in three workers in Romania work for minimum wage?

I've read on a website that I don't know much about that (in 2017) Romania is a country viewed as an economic miracle in the European Union. Its unemployment hovers around five per cent, its ...
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Do companies sometimes sabotage their products before selling them?

This might be the case for the iPhone. I'm skeptic that this is a general practice because on the surface, customers would just migrate to competing products... Maybe this practice is common for ...