Monday, May 30, 2011

Elliot McGucken's Hero's Journey Mythology video set to Beethoven!

Go to


It is filled with great pictures, music and interesting and inspiring quotes from many great philosophers and entrepreneurs. He is working on a book on this topic.

Elliot created the HERO'S JOURNEY ENTREPRENEURSHIP FESTIVAL: THE GREAT BOOKS RIDE AGAIN and like me he has related the work of Joseph Campbell on the hero in mythology to entrepreneurship.

Click here to go to Elliot's website

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Do Married Baseball Players Get Paid More Than Single Baseball Players?

There is a research paper by two economists Productivity, Wages, and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball. Here is the abstract or summary:

"Using a sample of professional baseball players from 1871 - 2007, this paper aims at analyzing a longstanding empirical observation that married men earn significantly more than their single counterparts holding all else equal. There are numerous conflicting explanations, some of which reflect subtle sample selection problems (that is, men who tend to be successful in the workplace or have high potential wage growth also tend to be successful in attracting a spouse) and some of which are causal (that is, marriage does indeed increase productivity for men). Baseball is a unique case study because it has a long history of statistics collection and numerous direct measurements of productivity. Our results show that the marriage premium also holds for baseball players, where married players earn up to 20% more than those who are not married, even after controlling for selection. The results are generally robust only for players in the top third of the ability distribution and post 1975 when changes in the rules that govern wage contracts allowed for players to be valued closer to their true market price. Nonetheless, there do not appear to be clear differences in productivity between married and nonmarried players. We discuss possible reasons why employers may discriminate in favor of married men."

It seems like they do a good job using ceteris paribus conditions (but I have not read the whole paper). They seem to be holding player quality or performance constant and they say that the control for selection. There is always the possibility that women prefer to marry men who make more money (in general married men make more but that does not mean that getting married caused their salary to go up). Somewhere they say that the 20% difference only applies to the top 1/3 of players.

For other views and discussions on this issue go to

When labour market research goes to the ballpark

Married MLB players earn more than single MLB players of the same quality?

Friday, May 06, 2011

Degrees ranking highest in terms of employment

In case any of my students are interested knowing more about the job market, see Degrees That Employers Want. Here are the top six they list:

#1 - Health Care Degree

#2 - Business Administration Degree

#3 - Computer Science Degree

#4 - Accounting/Finance Degree

#5 - Engineering Degree

#6 - Marketing Degree

Of course, if many students see this and go into these areas, they won't pay as much or be as secure if their markets get flooded.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Keynes vs. Hayek

Probably most people have seen this video or know about it. We watched it in my macro classes this week. There are actually two videos. Here they are in order. My class saw the second one. Then there is a link to readings over these issues.

Fear the Boom and Bust

Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

Get the Story Behind the Fight of the Century

If you want to tell Russ Roberts, the economics professor who made the video, what you think, go to Fight of the Century in the classroom

Fight of the Century with Polish subtitles

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Was 1800 (approximately) A Pivotal Year In Human History? Robert Fogel, Francis Fukuyama, And Deirdre McCloskey All Seem To Think So

Robert Fogel is a Nobel Prize Winning Economist. Here is something he said recently:

"Technology rescued humankind from centuries of physical maladies and malnutrition, Mr. Fogel argues. Before the 19th century (1800), most people were caught in an endless cycle of subsistence farming."

See Technology Advances; Humans Supersize.

Francis Fukuyama, author of the famous book The End of History and the Last Man, has a new book out. Here is an excerpt from a review of that book:

"But it is true that Mr. Fukuyama tracks a quest for "order" that often falls short of its goal until a decisive threshold is reached around 1800.

By then the Industrial Revolution—even at its earliest stages—had unleashed the forces of production in ways hitherto unimaginable, allowing for abundance rather than scarcity, not least in the production of food. But the threshold proved to be more than a matter of escaping "the Malthusian trap" of hunger and overpopulation. In the years surrounding the French Revolution, Mr. Fukuyama believes, politics began to shape itself—at last—into an orderly and sustainable form.

Obviously, political order had been achieved before then, but in a fitful and incomplete way. In Mr. Fukuyama's view, a durable political order can arise, and societies can fully thrive, only when a state is formed, when the state itself operates according to a rule of law, and when the state becomes accountable—that is, when it must answer to its citizens. Until the threshold point around 1800, he says, all three properties rarely existed together."

See From Dynasty to Democracy: Nations did not find stability, or sustained prosperity, until they became accountable to their citizens.

Deirdre McCloskey is a highly respected economic historian whose latest book is Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World. Here are some quotes from her:

"Modern economic growth—that stunning increase from $3 a day in 1800 worldwide to now upwards of $130 a day in the richest countries, and anyway $30 as a worldwide average—can’t be accounted for in the usual and materialist ways. It wasn’t trade, investment, exploitation, imperialism, education, legal changes, genes, science. It was innovation, such as cheap steel and the modern university, supported by an entirely new attitude towards the middle class, emerging from Holland around 1600. (It has parallels in classical music and mathematics and politics, in all of which the Europeans burst out, 1600-1800.)

Economics of the usual sort, whether Samuelsonian or Marxist, can’t get at why Europeans and then the rest of us started around 1800 to become insanely innovative. A new dignity for innovation and its market applications can: that’s a sociological change, supporting sensible economic policies.

What you can learn from the history is that stasis reigned until we discovered dignity and liberty for ordinary people, and in particular for the disturbing, irritating class of entrepreneurs."

See Don’t be snobbish towards merchants & entrepreneurs, and you’ll develop