Angus Deaton wins Nobel Prize, Increase in Unemployment leads to higher expectations, Are you smarter than a 12th grader?, Federal Debt Ceiling $18 Trillion, and How to make more money in a lottery


“Angus Deaton, a professor at Princeton, has won the Nobel Prize in economics for his diverse contributions to the study of consumer spending. His research has explored how people, particularly the poor, make decisions about what to buy and how much to save.”

Angus Deaton on Statistics.  “The computer facilities at Bristol were terrible — the computer was a mile away, on top of a hill, so that boxes of punched cards had to be lugged up and down. I was told to get a research assistant, which was sensible advice, but I have never really figured out how to use research assistance: for me, the process of data gathering — at first with paper and pencil from books and abstracts — programming, and calculation has always been part of the creative process, and without doing it all, I am unlikely to have the flash of insight that tells me that something doesn’t fit, that not only this model doesn’t work, but that all such models cannot work. Of course, this process has become much easier over time. Not only are data and computing power constantly and easily at one’s fingertips, but it is easy to explore data graphically. The delights and possibilities can only be fully appreciated by someone who spent his or her youth with graph paper, pencils, and erasers.”

“‘But employers’ expectations can also ebb and flow with the state of the labor market. Beginning in 2007, firms posting job listings in a variety of industries began requesting bachelor’s degrees or multiple years of experience where previously neither was required. Alicia Sasser Modestino, an economist at Northeastern University, calls this cyclical phenomenon, in which an increase in the unemployment rate leads to higher expectations for new hires, “opportunistic upskilling.”


Are you smarter than a 12th grader.  For copies of the 2012 Advanced Placement microeconomics and macroeconomics multiple choice questions see: See how many you can get right.  The answers are after the questions.

Debt ceiling deadline is Nov 5.  “If Congress doesn’t act in time to raise or suspend the nation’s borrowing limit, currently set at $18.113 trillion, Treasury will not be able to borrow to fulfill all its payment obligations”


From WSJ: “The combination 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42, a recurring string that appeared in the American television series “Lost,” was played more than any other in the Dutch study, a total of 3,190 times by 656 people. It’s popular in the U.S. as well—and in 2011, four of the numbers hit in the Mega Millions lottery. More than 40,000 people had played the winning combination, and each one walked away with a slice of the multimillion-dollar prize. It amounted to $150 per person.”


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