Friday, April 16, 2021

04/16/2021 France to ban domestic flights where trains are available - Georgia restaurant owner offers burglar a job

Today's Article: Governor Murphy signs bill allocating $25 million for New Jersey microbusinesses

From: The Washington Examiner
Readability Score: 11.6

Today's Article: France to ban domestic flights where trains are available
From: CNN Travel
Readability Score: 13.3

I Will Not Have Them On A Plane...But I Might Have Them On A Train: France set to ban short domestic flights in favor of rail to ground emissions.

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Georgia restaurant owner offers burglar a job
Readability Score: 8.4

 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

04/15/2021 Governor Murphy signs bill allocating $25 million for New Jersey microbusinesses - A paper cowboy rides out his quarantine in an Australian hotel

Today's Article: Governor Murphy signs bill allocating $25 million for New Jersey microbusinesses

From: The Washington Examiner
Readability Score: 11.6

As small businesses struggle to survive the recent economic and health challenges, New Jersey leaders have offered a helping hand, allocating $25 million for businesses with 5 or fewer employees. Discuss the role of microbusinesses; then follow up with izzit.org's Pennies A Day for a look at the value of small businesses in poverty-stricken Bangladesh.

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: A paper cowboy rides out his quarantine in an Australian hotel
Readability Score: 6.9

 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

04/14/2021 Clarence Thomas argues it’s time to rein in Facebook, Twitter, and Google censorship - How Covid Affected College Applications

Today's Article: Clarence Thomas argues it’s time to rein in Facebook, Twitter, and Google censorship
From: The Washington Examiner
Readability Score: 12.7

Should social media behemoths like Facebook and Twitter be regulated like utility companies? Justice Clarence Thomas recently suggested that it might be time to do so. What issues are involved? How can we protect free speech and also respect the rights of private companies to make their own choices?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: How Covid Affected College Applications
Readability Score: 9.3

 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

04/13/2021 Fewer parking spaces for new homes, shops? It could happen - Urban gardens create a buffet for bees

Today's Article: Fewer parking spaces for new homes, shops? It could happen
From: San Jose Mercury News
Readability Score: 11.6

Will less parking with new developments reduce or increase congestion?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Urban gardens create a buffet for bees
Readability Score: 7.8

 

Monday, April 12, 2021

04/12/2021 Amazon's Jeff Bezos backs tax rise on companies - Tens of thousands of stores could still close even after the pandemic ends

Today's Article: Amazon's Jeff Bezos backs tax rise on companies
From: BBC.com
Readability Score: 11.1

Bezos backs corporate tax: patriotism or self-interest?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Tens of thousands of stores could still close even after the pandemic ends
Readability Score: 8.0

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

04/09/2021 Ruling By Senate Parliamentarian Opens Up Potential Pathway For Democrats - ‘Cool but weird’: former Macy’s in Vermont converted into high school

Today's Article: Ruling By Senate Parliamentarian Opens Up Potential Pathway For Democrats
From: NPR
Readability Score: 14.7

New rule could pave way for Democrat controlled Senate to pass Biden bills without Republican votes

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: ‘Cool but weird’: former Macy’s in Vermont converted into high school
Readability Score: 9.6

 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

How a Contest Can Encourage Ingenuity



ELAINE SCHWARTZ
In Taiwan, for two days, people whose name was “salmon” (and five of their friends) got all-you-can-eat sushi. Offered by a sushi restaurant chain, the promotion created “salmon chaos.” Because you just needed an identity card that included “gui yu” (the Chinese characters for salmon), more than 200 people officially switched their names. Choosing an ID that was perhaps, “Salmon Fried Rice” or “Salmon Prince,” one student said he returned to eat 15 times. A young woman said her “new” name was “Kuo Salmon Rice Bowl.”

Since the government permits up to three name changes, I assume it wasn’t permanent.

Where are we going? To the incentives that spur innovation.

An Innovation Contest


In a 2020 NBER working paper, researchers described how an innovation contest could optimize incentives. They wanted to find out if winner-takes-all or top-10 prize sharing generated more creativity.

You can see below that winner-take-all won:

In the experiment, there were 184 participants that were divided into two groups. The winner-take all half was told a $15,000 prize would go to the individual or team that had the best solution. (The problem was how to disseminate technology to small firms in Mexico.) The people in the other group would share the prize, dividing it among 10 winners where $6,000 would go to first place, and then decreasingly smaller amounts. The criteria were quality and novelty.

Researchers concluded that winner-take all encouraged more risk taking and risky ideas. However, the real difference came from the decision to work as a group rather than individually. Only then were the participants able to access a variety of talents that generated the most novel solution.

Our Bottom Line: Innovation


For the rapid development of a Covid-19 vaccines, the U.S. government had to decide the optimal incentive. One answer was the massive amount of financial support that formed a synergy with existing research. The goal was to remove the individual firm’s financial risk.

The bigger question, though, as we move forward, is how to incentivize ingenuity. Throughout history, governments have implemented policies that included patents and subsidies, prizes, bounties, monopoly protection. In a 2015 NBER paper, a Bowdoin economist suggested that history proved prizes were not the answer. Instead, she cites the U.S. decision to go with a patent system. Protecting intellectual property, patents created a market orientation that generated innovation from the 18th century onward. The market’s incentives were more crucial than what a jury or judge might offer.

Returning to our winner-take-all study, we also have individual firms that have to decide how to encourage innovation. Then, we have a group providing the varied skills and a huge payoff, the incentive.

Let’s conclude though with a wonderful quote from one of the papers. “Genius is not created by incentives, but empowered by them.”

My sources and more: Having seen the salmon promotion on Marginal Revolution, I checked the impact of a contest structure on innovation. From there, it was helpful to have the historical perspective offered by this NBER paper. I also was curious about the Covid-19 vaccine connection.



Ideal for the classroom, econlife.com reflects Elaine Schwartz’s work as a teacher and a writer. As a teacher at the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, she’s been an Endowed Chair in Economics and chaired the history department. She’s developed curricula, was a featured teacher in the Annenberg/CPB video project “The Economics Classroom,” and has written several books including Econ 101 ½ (Avon Books/Harper Collins). You can get econlife on a daily basis! Head to econlife.





04/08/2021 Factbox: Key elements of Biden's corporate tax-hike plan - Part of Wright Brothers First Plane Now Flying on Mars

Today's Article: Factbox: Key elements of Biden's corporate tax-hike plan

From: Reuters
Readability Score: 12.0

Taxes are on people's minds in April, and this year President Biden wants to reverse some of the tax cuts brought about by President Trump. Discuss taxes and their effects (and unintended consequences); then follow up with izzit.org's What's Taxing About Taxes?!

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Part of Wright Brothers First Plane Now Flying on Mars
Readability Score: 9.3

 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

04/07/2021 South Carolina Senator Suggests Everyone Be Made a Militia Member - A Bucatini Mystery

Today's Article: South Carolina Senator Suggests Everyone Be Made a Militia Member
From: Associated Press
Readability Score: 10.7

As the debate over gun control laws rages on, a South Carolina state senator thinks he's found a creative way to protect his state's citizens and their right to bear arms. Discuss the Second Amendment and its language of a 'well-regulated militia' in today's article.

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: A Bucatini Mystery
Readability Score: 8.0

 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

04/06/2021 More than a year after Breonna Taylor's death, Kentucky's House passes bill limiting no-knock warrants - Signs of a hidden Planet Nine in our solar system may be an illusion

Today's Article: More than a year after Breonna Taylor's death, Kentucky's House passes bill limiting no-knock warrants
From: CBS News
Readability Score: 11.0

Should no-knock raids be outlawed?

Click here to view the entire article and classroom discussion questions:
https://www.izzit.org/events/index.php

Today's Alternate Article: Signs of a hidden Planet Nine in our solar system may be an illusion
Readability Score: 7.6