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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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Does every act of piracy impact revenue by the current content price?

Many copyright owners claim that every time someone pirates content (e.g. a song, a film, software) that they have lost money. Some make a stronger claim: that every pirated download is hurting their ...
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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 ...
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Does the UK provide 50% of EU's waters? And does this imply anything about fishing rights?

Leading Brexiteer Owen Paterson wrote in an article in the Telegraph about fisheries: At present, the UK provides 50 per cent of the EU’s waters but receives only a 25 per cent share of the Total ...
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Have the Clintons received $153 million in speaker fees?

The Hill reported in an article entitled, "Clinton promises to release Wall Street transcripts if opponents do the same". Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have racked up $153 ...
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Do casinos have a negative economic and social impact on the neighborhoods they are located in?

In a recent article of the Toronto Sun that discusses a proposed waterfront casino for the city of Toronto, the author Christopher Hume makes the following statement: Experience around the world ...
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Does Apple support half a million American jobs?

Apple recently posted the results of an external analysis that suggested their business was responsible for supporting more than 500,000 jobs in the USA (though they only directly employ of the order ...
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Does wealth reduce compassion?

Daisy Grewal writes in the Scientific American in the article How Wealth Reduces Compassion: But research suggests the opposite is true: as people climb the social ladder, their compassionate ...
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1answer
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Is avoiding global warming by preventing CO₂ emissions far too expensive compared to geoengineering or adapting to a warmer world?

Experts in the science of global climate change often criticise their opponents by disparaging their expertise in climate science. But experts in climate science are not experts in economics. So when ...
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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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Does the Jones Act double import prices in Puerto Rico?

The Jones Act is a protectionist law passed in the 1920's requiring ships carrying goods between American ports to be made in America and crewed by Americans. The Jones Act has become an issue ...
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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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1answer
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Are wages stagnant over the past 40 years in the USA?

Over the past few weeks, it has become a common talking point at either major party's convention to talk about the lack of movement in USA citizens' wages since approximately the middle of the 1970s. ...
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Are the specific claims from the “WSJ 16” climate skeptics true?

The Wall Street Journal letter by 16 "prominent scientists" has already provoked a question here ( Are the 16 scientists who claim that climate change is not something to worry about climate ...
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Is the US $20 bill the most counterfeited?

In a comment on "Is it illegal to refuse US currency for a purchase?", @Dan Neely said I don't think the main reason many businesses ban $50/100 bills is that they'd deplete their ability to make ...
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Does Great Britain have the lowest state pensions (relative to average wages) in the OECD?

I recently came across this political post on Facebook It is arguing that Great Britain is the 'worst' in the developed world, and I'm sceptical of a few assertions made here. UK pensions don't seem ...
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Did the Renault Espace sell only 9 cars when it was launched?

According to Richard Hammond of Top Gear, Renault's entry into the people carrier market sold just nine cars in its first month (1:18 - 1:27). However, I cannot find a single source to back up ...
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Are Nielsen TV ratings accurate?

I remember I read somewhere that the US Nielsen rating was calculated by something like 25,000 households. That sounds extremely small compared to the number of people that actually have TVs. What's ...
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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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Is Coffee the most traded commodity in the world after Oil?

I have heard the claim that Coffee is the most traded commodity in the world right after Oil. Is there any proof of that? I have also heard that coffee is the most consumed beverage after water? Any ...
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Does the US spend more on prisons than public education?

I have heard often that the US as a whole or States in it "spend more on prisons than on schools". This is apparently true for higher education, but I am interested in schools as in public education (...
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Was money invented because barter was deemed impractical?

When the history of money is described, very often the claim is made that people invented money because barter was impractical: a quick Google Search lists many places where this claim is made, e.g. (...
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Are food deserts a real phenomenon?

According to Wikipedia, a food desert is a low income area where people there cannot access high quality or nutritional food, due to either a lack of transportation or a lack of real grocery stores. ...
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Do the world's eight richest people have as much wealth as the poorest 50%

The charity Oxfam recently launched a media campaign about global inequality with the startling statistic (this page on their website): ...inequality is rising: the combined wealth of the richest 1 ...
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Is global economic production sufficient to feed, clothe and educate everyone?

Is there enough food produced annually to provide a subsistence diet for the entire population of Earth? (Bonus points for data involving shelter, clothing or education.) This question was inspired ...
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Does NASA have a high ROI?

One of the oft-cited reasons for funding space exploration is the high return on investment, in terms of boosting the economy. For example Studies estimate that for every $1 the U.S. government ...
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Did DR Congo use banknotes with hole where Mobuto's face used to be after he was deposed?

On almost every list on the internet featuring strange banknotes that were at one time in circulation, one can find a picture of old Zaire banknotes with the image of the dictator Mobutu's face ...
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Is this €150k beach club bill real?

This bill, with a total amount of over €150,000, from a beach club in Monaco is currently circulating on social media. Is it real? I've checked the website of the beach club; some of the more common ...
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Does the meat industry cause 414 billion dollars in externalized costs?

About 34 minutes into the 2014 Documentary Cowspiracy, there is a statement by David Simon, the author of Meatonomics, about hidden costs of animal food production. I've added up the costs of ...
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Did the financial sector make up 40% of the US economy before the 2008 financial crisis?

I'm watching a video that claims that 40% of the US economy is made up by the financial sector. It then goes on to talk about the Financial crisis of 2008, so I would assume it's referring to pre-...
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1answer
859 views

Do the rich in the US donate an average of 15 percent of their income?

Dick Smith in a recent rant about "selfish" rich Australians made a claim that: In the United States, the rich donated an average of 15 per cent of their income, Smith said. But in Australia it ...
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Do rich Americans pay a lower portion of their income in federal taxes than the middle class?

Not quite the same as this related question but similar. According to Wikipedia, the origin of the "Buffett Rule" oft-quoted by former-President Obama is that: rich people, like himself, could pay ...
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1answer
578 views

Are most properties in China vacant, despite record property price growth?

House prices in China have been growing really fast due to the amazing GDP growth of the country. I've been reading though that whilst there are so many buildings being built, it's mainly due to the ...
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Does Denmark lose almost $700 million a year “carrying” Greenland? [closed]

In this precise moment of this video, (found on this this article) Donald Trump says about Greenland: It's hurting Denmark very badly because they are losing almost $700m a year carrying it, so ...
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Is the equity ratio of US banks around 3%?

Did John H. Cochrane, a professor of economics at Chicago, wrote: In order to make $100 of loans, a typical bank borrows $97—from depositors, from money-market funds, from other banks, or from ...
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1answer
879 views

Does using ethanol fuel save money, and is it better for the environment?

In the last couple of years, petrol companies have started offering petrol with 10% ethanol in them, presumably at a cheaper price than normal unleaded. However, I've noticed (although this is just ...
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1answer
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Does US Congress cost $30m per day to run?

What does it cost for The United States Congress to be in session for a single day? I recently heard a quote of $30 million, but did not see any supporting facts to back it up. What would the total ...
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1answer
705 views

Can Iran afford to put someone on the moon by 2025?

Iran has claimed that it intends to put someone on the moon by 2025. I find it hard to believe that Iran has the necessary financial resources to accomplish such a mission. Notwithstanding some ...
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Do Scandinavian-Americans have a higher standard of living than Scandinavians?

A Bloomberg article by the economist Tyler Cowen attributes the following claims to Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism by Nima Sanandaji: Danish-Americans have a measured ...
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1answer
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Has the average Somalian's quality of life improved under anarchy?

Peter T. Leeson makes multiple claims about economic and public health improvements since the collapse of its government in his paper Better Off Stateless. This paper investigates the impact of ...
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Did ISP “pocket” $400 billion that was supposed to be dedicated toward fiber cable infrastructure?

Bruce Kushnick, author of "The Book Of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal And Free The Net," makes some pretty major claims. The most prominent article, an ad for his book written by ...
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In the economic crisis of 2008, were some companies truly “too big to fail”?

During the first of the half of the current economic crisis, some companies began to collapse due to the subprime mortgage crisis or from the cascading economic damage that it entailed. A danger was ...
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Does nearly half the world's population live on less than $2 a day?

This UN page about 'Hunger', for example, says, Nearly half the world’s population, 2.8 billion people, survive on less than $2 a day. Quotes like this are shocking; but practically, I don't ...
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734 views

Can a government stimulus cause a sustained improvement in the economy?

I was reading Can Anyone Really Create Jobs? from the New York Times. In the article, it is argued that, though more spending on the part of consumers is needed to improve the economy, a $400 billion ...
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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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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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Are value-added taxes naturally progressive?

In The solution to income disparity? Consumption taxes, Timothy Taylor claims the following: Why are VATs and sales taxes so unpopular? One common critique is that they are regressive. ... But if ...
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Do the motors of washers last only 1/3 to 1/4 as long as they used to?

Ryan Finlay writes in They Used To Last 50 Years: Let me start with an example: for top loading washers and dryers two of the most expensive parts on the machines are the timer and motor. For ...
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959 views

Is Noam Chomsky right in saying the economic benefits of British colonialism to Britain were nonexistent?

In an interview about imperialism Chomsky claims there were no overall benefits of colonialism to the British population, and asserts there are studies confirming this. But, going back to the ...
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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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Are Apple products sold at a premium price?

I have often heard people talk about to an Apple tax in reference to Apple products (especially their Mac products). This is one of many references to Apple having overly high prices compared with ...