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July 27, 2009

Mud-Hut Housing Bubble

By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig

A former Fed colleague, Tim Schilling, put up a great blog regarding a recent WSJ article on a very unique housing bubble. I agree with Tim that this piece could be used in educational setting very effectively to teach core economic concepts. I also think it could be used in professional settings to introduce the concept of bubbles and global price dynamics.

The article was accompanied by a short video from WSJ that is a very engaging way to kick-off the conversation; check it out here.

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Posted by Cindy at 9:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 9, 2009

Take a Vacation!

By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and busy planning a vacation! In the spirit of my first week of vacation this year, I thought I would post something regarding the relationship of vacations and productivity. Here is a good article in Business Week on the topic: " Do Us a Favor, Take a Vacation." The article points out how workplaces benefit from recharged employees.

If you are interested in something a bit more progressive on the topic, check out this blog. In our boundary-pushing, creative companies such as Netflix, they have instituted a "no-vacation" policy, meaning that you can take as much vacation as you would like assuming that you meet your project deadlines. Google is allowing 20% of engineers' time to be spent on their own pet projects. Best Buy is considering instituting a completely flexible time arrangement with hourly employees!

What do you all think? Does the U.S. dominate in productivity per worker because, as the first article points out, we rarely take all our vacation, or do we dominate in productivity because of the type of innovation that the second blog describes?

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Posted by Cindy at 7:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 8, 2009

Yellowstone National Park makes economics fun!

by Cindy Ivanac-Lillig

We have recently had some discussion on this blog about the importance of changing the way we teach economics, as our methodologies are not bearing fruit in terms generating increaased student interest and enthusiasm. There were some great comments in response to the blog entitled, "Is economics too hard or too boring?." I had shared in that entry that I would like to occasionally use the blog to showcase educational initiatives that are interesting and experiential.

I found a great article regarding a program Indiana State University recently ran. They took high school teachers on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and focused on presenting economic material through public park policy discussions. The teachers, as you will read, found it eye-opening and have since changed the way they teach their economics class. I hope you find the article as interesting as I did. It actually seems like a lot of fun!

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Posted by Cindy at 5:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 6, 2009

Oldie But Goodie: FRED

By Cindy Ivanac-Lillig

I use the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis's FRED all the time for my presentations, as I am sure many of you do. But if on the off chance you haven't heard of it or haven't used it in awhile, I thought I would just post the link here.

The site offers dozens of current economic indicators in various formats. The graphs will save down to your hard drive as "jpg" files and it is easy as pie to insert them into powerpoint, pdfs, etc.

I realize it might be old news to many, but oldies are indeed sometimes goodies.

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Posted by Cindy at 10:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack