Intro to Economics: How about a Board Game?

So, if I was teaching an introductory economics course at the collegiate level, I think I would include a look at the two board games, Monopoly and Settlers of Catan.

I would be interested by the lessons that students would learn from trading with each other. While most have grown up playing this game, I doubt that many have considered the implications of what trade is. I think that those who had played the game before would learn that in Monopoly, they trade too much or too easily, and in Settlers, they trade too little for their own good.

How do rational actors play these board games? It would be fun to find out.


My 2012 GOP Presidential Nominee Prediction

With just a few putting their name in the ring for the GOP 2012 Presidential nomination, I wanted to put out my thoughts on who I think will should and will get the nominations for President and Vice President:

President: Mitch Daniels – I’ve been watching some interviews that Daniels has done, and I am impressed by his knowledge. Also, his even temper doesn’t hold with the speaking skills of Chris Christie, but he can hold his own in any debate. He does have some personality. His conservative record will appeal not only to the base of the Republican party, but he has done nothing (that I know of) that is so outlandish to repel independents. Geography is a plus – Daniels is from Indiana, with proximity to Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin that Obama won in 2008 (no chance of Obama losing Illinois). Daniels needs to work on his name recognition – I didn’t know who he was until about a year ago. I didn’t turn on to his chances until recently.

Vice-President: Mike Huckabee – This Southern Preacher turned Governor turned Author turned TV Host might not be the first on my people’s list. Let me make my case. The GOP needs executives, people with proven track records of making decisions to combat the indecision of Obama. Somewhere on the ticket, the GOP needs a proven, well-known social conservative (Huckabee is a Baptist, of which there are 16 million in the U.S.; granted, the GOP will likely have many of these votes already, but they shouldn’t be taken for granted). VPs are usually seen as the attack dogs of the campaign – Huckabee has a reputation for rising above the petty and connecting with voters. As a former preacher, he knows his audience, and few negatives would be able to stick to him. Being a heart beat away from the presidency would be no problem for this candidate. I think he could be a bonus in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and maybe Colorado.

I look forward to the process, and I will welcome any other predictions or comments.

Life in … close to Malibu

Should I go to a comedy club or the Santa Monica Pier this weekend?

Kings: The Generals Who Ruled Iraq

I am finishing up a book called The Fourth Star by David Cloud and Greg Jaffe. It details the story of the rise of David Petraeus, John Abizaid, George Casey, Jr., and Peter Chiarelli.

Each has a unique background, and each of them interesting, but I was especially brought in by David Petraeus. In the military, he had more drive than anyone around – and often more than anyone around him knew how to handle. The pursuit of excellence drives many to work harder and better, but many fail. However, this brings us to the classic blackswan example, that just because something is hard or seemingly impossible doesn’t mean that it is impossible.

Petraeus never backed down from his confidence, and where many would have stumbled, he pressed on. Of course, his story is not over yet. While I do not see him running for President (although, after reading this book, I could see it as a possibility more than I had before), I don’t see him truly failing. Petraeus is a role model for those with big dreams.

The book is worth a read.

Sports Fix: NBA and NCAA

If you can catch a replay of the Lakers 3OT win from Tuesday night, you should…

Also, sorry for not posting my NCAA bracket, but I have UConn winning it all for I think the 8th straight year.

Cabbages: Stats and Marriage

In Econometrics today, we went over some old survey data having to do with marriage, affairs, and religion.

Yes, this class was quite interesting.

We were talking about Probit models, and what it means when a large portion of your data shows up at the limit – zero, for instance. What does it mean that a man has not committed adultery?  Would he have done so if you paid him five dollars?  Or if you lined up the occasion to do so?  Or would he not have done so even if you threatened his life?

In fact, the numbers show this difference in what we can call “negative affairs” – and the numbers show that the higher someone ranks their spiritual life, the fewer their predicted affairs.  The same is true for their rating of their marriage.

So, the next time I see my wife, I will say something like, “I love you negative five acts of adultery.”  Maybe that has meaning.  Maybe.


So, today I had a test in Long-Term Development, office hours for Macroeconomics (good luck to everyone on their test), a Presentation in Shires’ Strategy class, watched Glee with my wife, and a basketball game. Oh, and I need to finish up my Econometrics homework before bed.

And we get to start over again tomorrow.

Cabbages: Lunch with Scott Sumner

Just another good part of attending the Public Policy School here at Pepperdine.

Dr. Sumner is a Chicago trained Economist. His lecture looked at Market Efficiency and the Financial Crisis. He says the reason for the crisis was that not enough people believed in the efficient market hypothesis.

Over lunch, we mostly talked about the rise of China and the transition of governments over time.

I will offer one part of the conversation that we all found unique. Dr. Sumner offered what he believed to be the true reason for the rise of capitalism in the West rather than the East: the difference in languages. In the West, there are so many different languages, that each had to compete with each other – different alphabets as well as different dialogues. In China, while there are many different dialects, there is only one written language. Talk about a ripe environment for big government.

I had to write about this…

Ok, this really isn’t that big of a deal – but it made me laugh…

1% of Americans don’t know who Barack Obama is!

And for the record, he is not a Muslim…

Life in Malibu: The Pier

Ok, so it is really windy, but the other day, my and I went out to the Malibu Pier.  It is windy.  It is cold.  But… it is beautiful.  And it was a good walk.  Getting out and being active is not hard in Malibu. 

I just wish it was warmer.