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Lessons from Behavioral Economics

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | March 26, 2019

I returned from Morocco, where I was asked at a conference, “Does behavioral economics make optimization models obsolete?” The message of some publications may be that behavioral economics is a substitute for ‘traditional’ economics and that it more accurately resembles humans rather than ‘econs’ that are the subject of traditional theory. Some may infer that … Continue reading »

Amazon’s retreat may be New York’s loss

Enrico Moretti, professor of economics | February 26, 2019

Amazon’s decision to cancel its plans in New York City was actually the second time that New York missed its chance to host Amazon headquarters. The first time was in 1994, and what happened then informs what might happen next. It was the beginning of the internet era, and a 30-year-old Jeff Bezos was living in … Continue reading »

Teachers on the march

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | February 11, 2019

This CWED VIDEO SHORT puts trends in teacher pay into perspective. Teacher strikes have brought much-needed attention to public education. Chronic under-funding has resulted in constant teacher shortages, outdated books, a lack of nurses and other staff, and lagging teacher pay in many school districts across the country. In this post I focus on trends … Continue reading »

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s tax hike idea is not about soaking the rich

Gabriel Zucman, Assistant professor of economics | January 22, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has kick-started a much-needed debate about taxes. But the debate, so far, has been misplaced. It’s obvious that the affluent — who’ve seen their earnings boom since 1980 while their taxes fell — can contribute more to the public coffers. And given the revenue needs of the country, it is necessary.

But that’s not the fundamental reason higher top marginal income tax rates are desirable. Their root justification is not about collecting revenue. It is about regulating inequality and the market economy. It is also about safeguarding democracy against oligarchy.

Enhancing financial inclusion among bottom-of-the-pyramid entrepreneurs in Mexico

Laura Tyson, Interim Dean, Haas School of Business | November 9, 2018

  Co-authored by Byron Villacis On the corner of a bustling, working-class neighborhood in Mexico City, Maria González* has run a small photography business for years. Recently, she took out a bank loan to purchase a new digital camera and printer that enabled her to produce high-quality images and deliver them at a rapid speed. … Continue reading »

A North American road to the middle class

Harley Shaiken, Professor in the Graduate School of Education and Department of Geography and director of the Center for Latin American Studies | October 22, 2018

Co-authored by Representative Sander Levin (D-Michigan)  Now that Canada has joined a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), renamed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), we must not lose sight of the central problem that any new accord must address: the outsourcing of U.S. industrial jobs to Mexico’s system of suppressed wages. There have been efforts by … Continue reading »

A post-Great Recession overview of labor market trends in the United States and California

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | July 23, 2018

Full-brief here It has been well over a decade since the economy tumbled into what is now dubbed the Great Recession — reflecting the historical severity and swiftness of the downturn. The recession officially lasted from December 2007 through June 2009. However, the economy under-performed for nearly a decade as the output gap — GDP … Continue reading »

What does Daylight Saving Time really save?

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | July 2, 2018

DST can coordinate societal shifts to better use of daylight…but at a cost. You would think most states have more pressing issues to confront these days, but legislation on the measurement of time is one of the perennial favorites in our nation’s legislatures. There is always someone passionate about the horrible costs or enormous benefits … Continue reading »

Rapid innovations in agrifood supply chains

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | June 19, 2018

We hosted our third Agrifood Supply Chain Conference on April 18 and 19 together with Solidaridad and other wonderful sponsors. The conference was hosted at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) building in Berkeley, which houses cutting-edge institutions – the EBI and Innovative Genomics Initiative – that create new technologies affecting supply chains around the globe. … Continue reading »

CEOs take to the pulpit on gun control

Kellie McElhaney, founder, Center for Responsible Business | March 28, 2018

You know their names: Emma Gonzalez (age 18); David Hogg (age 18); Naomi Wadler (age 11); Yolanda Renee King (age 9). These young people, and many more, stand at podiums to eloquently, outspokenly and loudly demand tighter gun control legislation from our political leaders following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 … Continue reading »

Focus on the source of most satisfaction, not consumption

Clair Brown, Professor emerita of economics | March 27, 2018

Buying stuff can make you happy for a short time. But you will revert to needing another happiness boost by buying even more stuff. We can, however, replace the boom and bust of a consumption-driven search for satisfaction with lives that are more fulfilling and economically sustainable.

The Trump administration’s proposal for tips will only hurt employees

Sylvia Allegretto, Economist, Co-Chair of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | February 28, 2018

Most people assume that when they leave a tip at a restaurant, that money goes to the person who performed the work. Or perhaps the money is pooled with other tips and divvied up among tipped workers at the restaurant. The Trump administration doesn’t agree. In fact, the Labor Department believes employers ought to be … Continue reading »

Who are you trying to fool?

Don Moore, professor, Haas School of Business | February 8, 2018

The most frequently cited result in the entire research literature on overconfidence comes from a 1981 paper published by the Swedish psychologist Ola Svenson.(1) Svenson asked people in the United States and in Sweden how they thought their driving abilities stacked up against other drivers. Most scholars cite Svenson’s result as showing that the majority … Continue reading »

Wealthy investors to win bigly with Republicans’ proposed tax plan

Gabriel Zucman, Assistant professor of economics | November 9, 2017

By Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez This blog is cross-posted from the Berkeley Opportunity Lab and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. The tax plan released by Republicans in Congress and praised by President Trump is a remarkable document in many ways, but most notably in that it achieves just the opposite of its stated goal. Presented … Continue reading »

Disaster and displacement in the Bay Area

Justine Marcus, graduate student researcher, city and regional planning | November 7, 2017

By Justine Marcus and Philip Verma The Bay Area is still reeling from the devastation of the recent fires in Napa and Sonoma counties, which tragically took the lives of 43 people and forced over 100,000 to evacuate their homes. The fire destroyed an estimated 8,900 buildings, and officials report that 5 percent of Santa Rosa’s housing … Continue reading »

Assessing gender and racial disparities in economics

Hallie Jo Gist, economics student | November 2, 2017

The gender disparity in the economics discipline is no secret. For UC Berkeley undergraduates, a glance around the classroom is enough evidence of an imbalance. As a part of the nationwide Undergraduate Women in Economics (UWE) Challenge, we attempted to quantify this apparent disparity. The data collection described below is a first step in this … Continue reading »

California’s real gasoline ‘tax’ problems

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | October 31, 2017

Who wouldn’t like to pay lower taxes and get cheaper gasoline? That’s why there will be a lot of grumbling Wednesday when California’s gasoline tax goes up by 12 cents per gallon. There’s already enough pushback that it’s easy to imagine a proposal to repeal the tax increase will get enough signatures to make it to the ballot. … Continue reading »