Doing business in Argentina

April 6, 2015

Linette Lopez put it this way in Business Insider:

After suspending Citibank’s access to Argentine capital markets and sacking the bank’s CEO in the country, Argentine authorities will perform an “integral inspection” [on the bank].  Read the rest of this entry »


Law and Order NYU

March 29, 2015

From the ancient history of NYU, the story of distinguished anthropologist John Buettner-Janusch:

He served as chairman of the New York University anthropology department before 1980, when he was sent to prison for turning his laboratory into a drug manufacturing operation. After his release, he attempted to poison the judge who presided over his first trial and was sent to prison a second time.

Wow, hard to beat that one.


Be careful what you wish for

March 28, 2015

The New York Times has a classic example of incentives not working as intended. Bernie Ebbers had an incentive to keep WorldCom’s stock price up, but he did it by cooking the books. Sears (this is an even older one) paid commissions for auto repairs, until the people doing the repairs realized they could make more money doing repairs that didn’t need doing. Now a Times op ed by Katherine Bouton notes that policies inflicting retirement on police officers who use hearing aids tend to “discourage officers with hearing loss from coming forward, with the result that we have many police officers with uncorrected hearing loss.” Yup, that’s how it would work.

PS: Richie Freedman, our resident management guru, tells us this is all in Steve Kerr’s classic, “On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B.” The title pretty much tells you the story.


Learn SQL at Stern

March 24, 2015

Want to learn SQL?  Some of our students tell us it’s becoming a must-have business tool. If you’re interested, check out our SQL Bootcamp, a non-credit elective course organized by Professors David Backus and Glenn Okun and taught by MBA student Sarah Beckett-Hile. The course is endorsed by Amazon for its new staffers and begins Friday, March 27 in KMC 5-90 at 1:30 PM. No registration required, all skill levels welcome.

More at http://bit.ly/1DvKwV1


Deflation mini-case

January 23, 2015

Kim Ruhl writes:

The goal of this case study is to understand how inflation targeting works, and why deflation is so problematic for the NFL.  Read the rest of this entry »


News from Argentina

January 21, 2015

Murder and a shortage of tampons.


Surge pricing in two markets

December 19, 2014

Larry White writes:

People get worked up when Uber charges more at peak times (New Years Eve) or gas stations raise their prices (remember Sandy?). Why don’t we see the same in business markets? The price of transporting oil in super tankers has gone up by a factor of eight since the summer, but we don’t see any complaints.

In economic terms, both situations show supply and demand at work — and working pretty well, I’d say. So why the different reactions? Why no accusations of “unfairness” or “gouging” when businesses are on both sides of the market? Are businesses simply more experienced in dealing with fluctuations? Less appealing as victims? More likely to understand how supply and demand work?

Please submit your answers to Larry.


Holiday songs

December 15, 2014

The down side of business analytics?


Business students learn to code

October 27, 2014

On Friday, several dozen students at NYU’s Stern School of Business got together for the first meeting of Data Bootcamp. When a group of students decided they wanted to learn to code, Dave Backus and Glenn Okun organized a short non-credit course. Meeting every second week on Friday afternoons, the course introduces code newbies to the popular programming language Python. The goal is to give them enough familiarity to work effectively with economic, financial, and business data. Projects include quantitative asset management, emerging market assessment, and revenue projections for movies. MBA2 Jeremy Wimmer commented: “I think this makes me even more valuable to potential employers.” Professor Okun added:  “The impetus for this comes from our students. We’re just trying to keep up.”

Course repository (work in progress):  https://github.com/DaveBackus/Data_Bootcamp 


The invisible foot

October 18, 2014

From Raihan Salam in Slate:

We’ve all heard of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” that guides the free market. The invisible foot is the invisible hand’s brutish older brother. It is the force that sees to it that capital gets reallocated from firms that aren’t doing their jobs to firms that are by putting the former out of business.


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