Monday, November 24, 2014

Technology investments for Ukraine

What types of technology investments would most benefit Ukrainian society?  Military?  Social media?  Smart energy?  As a man of peace, I will focus on the latter two in this post.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Online Education: My New Discussion Paper

Last Spring I taught two sections on Principles of Microeconomics, one online, and one in a traditional format.  I have spent some time comparing the outcomes, and wrote up my findings in this discussion paper.  Here is the abstract:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

3 Revised Papers

I have not been blogging much lately, but I have been busy with other writing projects.  Over the last couple of months, I've been working with co-authors and today posted revised manuscripts to the web for the following three papers; the first two papers relate rather closely to one another, while the third is part of a very different research program:

1. Household Carbon Emissions from Driving and Center City Quality of Life  (with Matt Kahn)
2.  Household Demand for Low Carbon Policies: Evidence from California (with Matt Kahn)
3. An Agent-Based Model of Entrepreneurship (with Graham Newell)

Below are abstracts for each paper:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Review of Open Microeconomics Textbooks

Last month I did some work for the California Open Education Resources Council (COERC).  I reviewed three "open" principles of microeconomics textbooks for them.  After I completed this job, I decided to write up and elaborate on my review, and I'm now sharing it here.

I have used two of the three books in my own teaching, and in general I've paid close attention to this segment of the textbook market.  As a result I am able to comment on not only the books themselves, but also developments in this industry.  If you are an instructor considering adopting an "open" textbook, my review is for you. 

If you are a donor who wants to support the development of open educaitonal resources, my review is also for you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Visualizing Bike Trip Data

In an earlier post I discussed the Bay Area Bike Share program, which is coming up on its one year anniversary.  BABS has released several detailed data sets that cover the first half year of operations, and held a challenge for "...anyone with a bit of curiosity to present the data in visually compelling ways."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Planning methods that result in a bias against high-density and infill development

One of my colleagues in the economics department at SJSU, Tom Means, is the former mayor of Mountain View.  He tells some interesting stories about how a lack of economic understanding on the part of some urban planners leads to poor decision making. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The "Decade of the City?" New Census data sheds light

In 1910, 25% of metropolitan (non-rural) residents lived in suburbs; by 2000, this figure had more than doubled, with 62% of Americans who lived in metropolitan areas living outside of central cities.  (these calculations come from data presented on p. 33 of this Census publication.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Which states use Benefit Cost Analysis?

Last year, a report by the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, States’ Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis, evaluated the use of Cost-Benefit Analysis by states.  Among the questions it asked were, "Are states conducting cost-benefit analyses?" and "Do they use the results when making policy and budget decisions?"

The Economics of Information Technology

Spring semester is officially over, but for students looking for a free summer reading recommendation, I might suggest a short book on the tech industry by Varian, Farrell and Shapiro titled The Economics of Information Technology: An Introduction.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Why are there so few basements in California?

In California and some other parts of the country, very few homes have basements.  The reason for this remains a mystery to me.  Many cite earthquakes as the reason but I don't find this a compelling explanation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Multimedia Principles of Economics Textbook

This page contains links to text, images and videos which together form an integrated multimedia microeconomics textbook.

The Table of Contents below lists chapters of the Principles of Economics textbook by Libby Rittenberg and Tim Tregarthen. These were released under a Creative Commons license.

The Table of Contents also contains links to the following multimedia content:

1. clicking on a Chapter Title will take you to a PDF version of the entire Chapters.

2. clicking on a Section number will take you to an HTML version of the individual section of the chapter.

3. clicking on the Video link will take you to the YouTube videos that I've created that correspond with that section of the textbook.

4. finally, all 14 chapters below are available as a combined PDF.  

Table of Contents

Using Excel to Teach Principles of Economics

Using spreadsheets to teach economics principles is not a new idea, but the accessibility of spreadsheets makes them attractive for use in an online course like the one I'm teaching this semester.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cost-Benefit Anlaysis at Caltrans

Earlier this month I was in Sacramento to learn about Benefit-Cost Analysis at Caltrans.  We interviewed staff at the Department of Transportation as part of my current research project with the Mineta Transportation Institute.

Their building reminded me of the buildings on our campus at San Jose State University; it looks pretty good here with the California sunshine in the reflection:

Generating Greater Interest in Transportation Economics

The International Transportation Economics Association is a small organization that occasionally puts out a newsletter.  Two recent newsletter articles caught my attention.  I discuss the first here and the second in a subsequent post.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Principles of Microeconomics, My Online, Self-Directed Course

Update (3/17/2014): I discovered a better way of distributing these video lectures; see this subsequent blog post:

Saturday, January 12, 2013