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Don’t worry: there is life after graduating!

A year ago I could no longer deny that the time of studying was coming to an end. Many of you will recognize the helpless feeling of having all the possibilities in the world but not a clue of what to do next. To decide I made a list of all possible plans: finding a job, doing another study, go traveling and more. I made a list of countries where I could go to for traveling or studies. I consulted a lot of friends and had some sleepless nights because of all the freedom I had. Suddenly my old dream of studying Spanish returned. Years before I did the beginners course of Spanish at the Language Center of the university. For the ones that don’t know: you can study languages for free at Tilburg University (with the vouchers all students receive). I cannot encourage you more to do so. Learning a language opens a new world, a new way of thinking and a lot of people to talk to. However, the best and most fun way to learn a language is of course to learn it in a country where they speak the language. Last September I flew to Valencia and went back to school.

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Why do we donate to charity?

It is almost December! December is one of my favourite months. I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of the cold and the rain. What I do love though is Sinterklaas, Christmas and New Year’s. Just spending time with family and friends. It is the month of celebrations and the month of giving. One of the big events in the Netherlands is the glass house of 3FM Serieus Request, where everybody listens to music and donates money. Last year they collected an amount of 8.466.249 euros! But why do we donate money to charity?

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The dairy sector: hailstorm or disaster?

Thursday the 23th of June in the East of Brabant a hailstorm like no one has ever seen before caused damage on cars and roofs. Farmers were also hit by damage of their glasshouses, barns as well as crops. This on top of damage by flooded fields due to heavy rainfall this season makes the crop season 2015 – 2016 a disaster for farmers of the southeast of the Netherlands. The estimated damage, of which part is insured and part is not, is around 500 million euros according to farmer organization ZLTO.

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An Economic Parallel between Animals and Humans

It’s been established that when it comes to behavior, animals are not that different from humans. Both have feelings of compassion, empathy, as well as possess the ability to work in teams to consulate each other and even to free-ride. The similarities do not end there, humans and animals have been found to make the same economic decisions. We can trace the same patterns in both species’ behavior and actions when it comes to demand, consumption, and allocation of resources.

Animals, like humans, optimize their energy intake and are motivated by their material self-interest, like the need for food. They are rational and make decision in accordance with their own preferences, just like us always seeking to maximize our utility. For any kind of species gaining food and comfort is connected to incurring costs. Humans as an example need to give up part of their income, even sometimes their savings, in return for the goods and items that they desire. When looking at animals, their costs generally consist of the time and the effort they spend to gather the food needed or to build or find shelter.

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Working for an algorithm

According to the Dutch research institute TNO 18 percent of the working population in the Netherlands has tried to find work in the gig economy, also known as crowdwork. These two abstract terms describe a new phenomenon on the labour market brought by the digitization of this age. Uber drivers or Foodora delivers are prime examples of workers in this part economy. Independent workers can find job oppurtunities from a simple app they installed on their phones.

Nationaal economie debat in de nw Liefde in Amsterdam.
copyright: Sander Nieuwenhuys

Globalization Needs a Second Chance

Globalization makes it possible for goods to be traded without boundaries. The countries who produce a good most efficiently, will produce that good and trade it in order to get other goods. This means that the most efficient country will produce, which is positive for the economy. This also means that many factories are moved to low-wage countries, causing people to loose their jobs and causing environmental damage.  Therefore the resistance against globalization grows, but is globalization worth a second chance?

Last week, I went to the FD National Economist Debate. The debate was about globalization and its different sides. What is the opinion of notable economists, professors, politicians and students on globalization and trade agreements?

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Danish Pride and Prejudice

The (bad) drinking habit I talked about in the previous article about my exchange in Copenhagen brings me to the most heard prejudice about Denmark. “Beer is so expensive there!” A lot of people think that the beer in the supermarkets, terraces, clubs and pubs is way more expensive than in the Netherlands. In fact, the beer at Nyhavn – I often call it the Champs-Élysées from Copenhagen – is indeed really expensive. It is not uncommon to pay 50 Danish kroner (€ 6,70) for a small glass of beer. But besides being in the chic clubs you will be able to buy your beers for prices equal to the Dutch prices.

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Dating tips from a Behavioral Economist

Still single? Maybe you should use some economic theory to solve your problem. There are many theories on human decision making which can be applied to your dating life.  In the field of behavioral economics there is the well-known phenomenon called the asymmetric dominance effect or the decoy theory.   This theory suggests that when people are confronted with a choice between two options they have a hard time making a decision. However, adding a third option that is inferior but also similar to one of the options makes the first decision much easier. Namely, the option that is similar to the inferior option will be preferred by most people.  This effect is called the decoy effect because the third option will never be chosen and is therefore just a decoy.