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Category Archives: Economics & Business

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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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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.

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Clinton vs. Trump: Economic policy

Clinton vs. Trump

The United States of America are engaged in a remarkable battle for the presidency. With two eccentric candidates in the respected persons of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the duel seems to be decided based on who commits the least errors. Both campaigns are mainly focused on non-economic points and the agendas are very vague on the economical field. But what would the economic consequences for the USA in either possible outcome of the elections be?