Econ Stories

By John Skees | A collection of stories for my high school economics students.

Why Some Men Don’t Work: Video Games Have Gotten Really Good

If innovations in housework helped free women to enter the labor force in the 1960s and 1970s, could innovations in leisure — like League of Legends — be taking men out of the labor force today?<p>That’s the logic behind a new working paper released on Monday by the National Bureau of Economic …

Game Development

Culture Clash at a Chinese-Owned Plant in Ohio

MORAINE, Ohio — When a giant Chinese glassmaker arrived here in 2014 and began spending what would become more than a half-billion dollars to fix up an abandoned General Motors plant, it seemed like a tale from opposite land: The Chinese are supposedly stealing American jobs — as no less an …

China

Walmart takes on Amazon's grocery pickups with automated kiosks

Walmart isn't letting up in its quest to one-up Amazon whenever possible, especially when it comes to in-person pickups. The retailer is testing a kiosk in Oklahoma City that lets you pick up your online groceries at any time of the day or week. Instead of parking and waiting for a staffer to bring …

Amazon

As Economy Grows, North Korea’s Grip on Society Is Tested

SEOUL, South Korea — Despite decades of sanctions and international isolation, the economy in North Korea is showing surprising signs of life.<p>Scores of marketplaces have opened in cities across the country since the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, took power five years ago. A growing class of …

Korean Peninsula

A Debate Over the Home of New York’s Fashion Industry

Forces fighting for the future of New York City’s fashion industry came to a head on Monday evening in the less-than-chic but nevertheless most fitting of places: the auditorium at the High School of Fashion Industries in Manhattan.<p>On one side were those battling on behalf of the garment district, …

Manhattan

Forcing People At Vending Machines To Wait Nudges Them To Buy Healthier Snacks

If you wanted a bag of Doritos from one of Brad Appelhans' experimental vending machines, you'd have to wait. The associate professor of preventative medicine at Rush University Medical Center designed a device that fits inside of vending machines and waits 25 seconds before releasing the typical …

Eating

Chase Had Ads on 400,000 Sites. Then on Just 5,000. Same Results.

As of a few weeks ago, advertisements for JPMorgan Chase were appearing on about 400,000 websites a month. It is the sort of eye-popping number that has become the norm these days for big companies that use automated tools to reach consumers online.<p>Now, as more and more brands find their ads …

JP Morgan Chase

Domino’s has already outperformed every tech stock, now robots will deliver its pizzas

Over the last decade, the stock price of Domino’s Pizza has crushed that of Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook mainly because it stopped making pizza that tasted like cardboard. Now it’s innovating on the labor front with plans to test robots as substitutes for your friendly pizza delivery guy. …

Robots

Brazil meat exports collapse in wake of inspection scandal

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's meat exports effectively collapsed this week, the agricultural minister said Wednesday, as several countries halted imports from the South American country in the wake of a meat inspection scandal.<p>Brazil is struggling to contain the scandal, in which investigators say that …

Wendy’s is responding to the rising minimum wage by replacing humans with robots

By the end of the year, Wendy’s says it will have installed self-serve ordering kiosks in 1,000 of its restaurants.<p>COO Robert Wright told investors that the machines, along with other forays into automation, will help reduce labor costs, which rose 5% at the company last year as a number of …

Robots

A Little Birdie Told Me: Playing the Market on Trump Tweets

SAN FRANCISCO — Analyzing Twitter for market-moving information has been a business for years. High-frequency trading firms have even built such analysis into their trading strategies.<p>Then along came @realdonaldtrump.<p>A month into Donald J. Trump’s presidency, the best algorithmic minds on Wall …

Trading

‘Hamilton’ and ‘Harry Potter’ Productions Try to Outwit Scalpers

LONDON — “Hamilton” and the new “Harry Potter” play are the hottest theatrical shows of the moment, with “Hamilton” outgrossing everything else on Broadway, and Harry, Hermione and Ron drawing hordes of muggles to London’s West End.<p>But success has a side effect: Both shows have fallen prey to …

Harry Potter

An unlikely group of stores is becoming a major threat to McDonald's

Convenience stores are increasingly a threat to fast-food chains like McDonald's.<p>Chains like 7-Eleven, Wawa, and Circle K are ramping up prepared food offerings, according to Anna Kang at Nation's Restaurant News.<p>The convenience stores are getting ahead thanks to a few distinct advantages over …

Trends

Mining company loses 9 surveillance drones – because of eagles

Earlier this year, we were quite surprised (to say the least) by the information that Dutch police were training eagles to take down drones. And …

Drones
Medicine

Alaska, Reliant on Air Transit, Faces Pilot Shortage. Are Drones an Answer?

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Never climb into an airplane cockpit in winter without your best military-grade arctic boots, rated to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Green, cocky pilots fresh from the lower 48 tend to forget that rule just once. Knowing when not to climb aboard the plane at all is harder, and …

Aviation

Venezuela military trafficking food as country goes hungry

PUERTO CABELLO, Venezuela (AP) — When hunger drew tens of thousands of Venezuelans to the streets in protest last summer, President Nicolas Maduro turned to the military to manage the country's diminished food supply, putting generals in charge of everything from butter to rice.<p>But instead of …

Leaked documents from startup Maple show the brutal economics of food delivery

On average, the restaurant-in-an-app lost money on each meal in 2015.<p>It has been a challenging year for food-delivery startups. SpoonRocket went out of business. Munchery is struggling. DoorDash and Postmates secured new investments at a lower and flat valuation, respectively.<p>Maple, the …

Jared Kushner

The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It’s Automation.

The first job that Sherry Johnson, 56, lost to automation was at the local newspaper in Marietta, Ga., where she fed paper into the printing machines and laid out pages. Later, she watched machines learn to do her jobs on a factory floor making breathing machines, and in inventory and filing.<p>“It …

Donald Trump

Secret Unit Helped Brazilian Company Bribe Government Officials

At Latin America’s biggest construction company, bribing government officials around the world became so common that a division was created devoted to tracking and facilitating kickbacks.<p>When wire transfers were inconvenient, workers in this division at Odebrecht of Brazil would organize deliveries …

Corruption

Donald Trump’s trade team has based their analysis on a remarkably silly mistake

There’s a smart critique of current trade policy out there, and this isn’t it.<p>Donald Trump gives every indication of wanting to govern like a conventional conservative Republican on the vast majority of domestic issues. One big potential exception is trade, where he campaigned in an unorthodox …

The Final Days Of Hawaiian Sugar

Fermin Domingo, 61, climbs up the side of a sugar cane hauler for the last time. The haul truck driver has worked at Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar (HC&S) company for the past 40 years, harvesting and hauling sugar cane to the mill. This is the last of Hawaii's sugar mills, and it too, is closing. …

Hawaii

In Shadow of Amazon, European Challenger Looks to China for Inspiration

BERLIN — Robert Gentz stepped off an Air Berlin plane in Beijing with the goal of conquering online fashion in China. By the time he boarded his return flight to Berlin, he had a new plan: to copy it.<p>Mr. Gentz, a 34-year-old German who is a co-founder of Zalando — a European clone of Zappos, the …

Trends

In Major Step for Drone Delivery, Amazon Flies Package to Customer in England

When Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, first said that the e-commerce giant wanted to use drones to deliver packages directly to customers’ homes, many people thought he was crazy.<p>Three years later, his claims no longer look so outlandish.<p>On Wednesday, Mr. Bezos announced on Twitter that his …

Drones

Amazon’s drone delivery launches in the UK

The initial effort is a private trial with a few customers<p>Amazon is pushing forward with its plans for a drone delivery fleet. Today it announced that it’s begun deliveries to two customers in the UK, and will be expanding that to dozens, possibly hundreds, in the coming months.<p>The service is …

Venezuelans rush to ditch 100-bolivar bills after president's sudden ban

Nicolás Maduro pulled country’s largest denomination bill, now worth three US cents, from circulation and many businesses stopped taking them immediately<p>Lining up from dawn with backpacks and plastic bags full of cash, Venezuelans flocked to banks across the country on Tuesday to ditch 100-bolivar …

Venezuela