econlife on ‘Businesses’

Formally called the theory of the firm, the business category focuses on ownership, production and competition. Our goal is to understand business behavior. For ownership, topics include the corporation and sole proprietorships. For production, the focus involves maximizing profits. With competition, topics relate to a continuum that spans the 4 basic market structures: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly and monopoly.

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    Banana Machines

    Oct 30, 10 • 108 Views • Businesses, Economic Thinkers, InnovationNo Comments

    It is tough to design a vending machine that will handle a banana gently. The temperature needs to be 57 degrees, a 4 foot fall to the consumer should be gentle, and they have to remain ripe for as long as possible. It gets even trickier when celery, which...

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    Healthy Incentives

    Oct 24, 10 • 111 Views • Behavioral Economics, Businesses, Macroeconomic Measurement, Regulation, Thinking EconomicallyNo Comments

    What happens in a school cafeteria when apples are placed in bowls rather than on a metallic pan? Sales more than double. Require trays? Students eat 21% more salads. Call corn “creamy” and more people ask for it. As displayed by the NY Times...

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    Blockbuster’s Sunk Costs

    Oct 20, 10 • 103 Views • BusinessesNo Comments

    When is it bad to be good at something? Blockbuster has the answer. As described by New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki, Toys ‘R Us, Barnes & Noble, and Blockbuster were known as “category killers” because they decimated their...

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    Closed Professions

    Oct 17, 10 • 105 Views • Businesses, Demand, Supply, and Markets, RegulationNo Comments

    If you are a Greek pharmacist, you are guaranteed a 35% profit on the drugs that you sell, your store can be no closer than 820 feet from another pharmacy, and you probably paid close to $400,000 for a business license. Called “closed professions”...

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    Powerful Women

    Oct 16, 10 • 93 Views • Behavioral Economics, Businesses, Gender gap, LaborNo Comments

    Lady Gaga is #7. Yes, according to a 2010 Forbes list of the most powerful women in the world, Lady Gaga’s power is surpassed by just 6 other women: Michelle Obama, Irene Rosenfeld (Kraft Foods CEO), Oprah, Angela Merkel (Germany’s...