WBEZ | economics http://www.wbez.org/tags/economics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The legacy of Michael Jordan in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/legacy-michael-jordan-chicago-111803 <p><p>Everyone from superfans to the casual office bracket pool participant follows NCAA March Madness. We rally around underdogs. We&rsquo;re suckers for Cinderella stories. It&rsquo;s as much about these journeys as the sport itself. So as teams compete for the championship title, let&rsquo;s look at Chicago&rsquo;s biggest basketball legend. Our tall tale. Michael Jordan.</p><p>Jordan came to Chicago in the 1980s, and went on to have one of the most memorable careers in basketball. Briefly, Chicago had the best sports team in the country. <a href="http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1998/06/22/244166/index.htm" target="_blank">We were known around the world</a> as the home of Michael Jordan and the Bulls. He brought home six NBA championship trophies in the &lsquo;90s.</p><p>Jordan&rsquo;s lasting fame in Chicago is what prompted a seventh-grader working on a history project to ask this question about him. (The student chose to remain anonymous.)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What was Michael Jordan&rsquo;s impact on Chicago?</em></p><p>Jordan wondered about his local legacy too. In 1993, he said this to a crowd at the opening of the Michael Jordan Restaurant:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I want to say to the Chicago people, thank you for your support. Ever since I came to this city in 1984, you have taken me in like one of your own, and I&rsquo;ve tried to reciprocate that in my talents and playing the game of basketball. Hopefully the two is going to be a relationship that&rsquo;s going to last a lot longer than me just playing basketball.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>MJ did indeed leave the Bulls and the city in 1999. So, what did MJ leave behind? We consider possible economic impacts as well as his cultural &mdash; even spiritual &mdash; contributions, too.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Timeline: A brief history of Jordan</span></p><p>If you&rsquo;ve never been a Jordan fan, just need a refresher, or are too young to remember, here&rsquo;s a timeline of how Jordan&rsquo;s career intersects with Chicago history.<a name="timeline"></a></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="650" scrolling="no" src="http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ai7E2pZ6aCZtdEczczVJNzlKNFlUakM0bW1MQlZvOEE&amp;font=Bevan-PotanoSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;height=650" width="95%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Jordan&rsquo;s economic impact: A windfall for the Windy City?</span></p><p>In the 1990s, the Bulls were on fire. They won championships. More people bought tickets to games and wanted Bulls memorabilia. However, according to sports economists we talked to, it&rsquo;s difficult to find measurable economic impact on the city.</p><p>Allen Sanderson, an economics professor at the University of Chicago and editorial board member of the <a href="http://jse.sagepub.com/" target="_blank">Journal for Sports Economics</a>, says pro sports teams typically draw in-person audiences within a 25-mile radius. He argues that when all those Chicagoans and suburbanites bought tickets to basketball games, that very same ticket cash likely would have just gone elsewhere &mdash; say, to Chicago restaurants, malls, etc.</p><p>Economics and Business Professor Rob Baade of Lake Forest University agrees that during Jordan&rsquo;s time in Chicago, it was likely that local fans just shifted some of their spending from one entertainment choice to another. Bulls are on a hot streak? Spend Saturday night in the arena. Lackluster season? Go out to dinner instead.</p><p>These kinds of arguments, he says, continue beyond Chicago and Michael Jordan. Consider a more <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/17/lebron-james-economic-impact-cleveland-we-expect-too-much" target="_blank">contemporary debate about economic influence and famous athletes: LeBron James and the city of Cleveland, Ohio</a>. Sports celebrities have some effect, Baade says, but it&rsquo;s often modest.</p><p>&ldquo;If you make the argument that Cleveland&rsquo;s economy has ramped up during LeBron&rsquo;s return, you&rsquo;d have to look at the entire Ohio economy,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Whatever modest effect Jordan did have, though, likely got a bump from the fact that he got the Bulls into the playoffs, effectively lengthening the local playing season, and creating several more games.</p><p>&ldquo;You can make the argument that more people are coming in to watch playoffs. But that&rsquo;s not lasting,&rdquo; Baade said.</p><p>But what about Jordan&rsquo;s own spending? After all, by the mid-90s he was one of the world&rsquo;s highest-paid athletes.</p><p>Sanderson says the success didn&rsquo;t put money back into Chicago because that money was spent elsewhere. Jordan went on trips to Jamaica and other places that took him &mdash; and his wallet &mdash; outside of the city.</p><p>Jordan does still have a home in north suburban Highland Park. The mansion, complete with entrance gates adorned with the number 23, is for sale. Though he left the city more than 10 years ago, the house is still on the market. (Any takers? <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2700-Point-Dr-Highland-Park-IL-60035/4902463_zpid/" target="_blank">There&rsquo;s a gym and a basketball court (duh), and it&rsquo;s only $16 million.</a>)</p><p>What about the Michael Jordan Restaurant? It&rsquo;s closed (<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-01-14/entertainment/9401150342_1_waiter-plate-iced" target="_blank">possibly because of bad reviews such as this one</a>), but the Michael Jordan Steak House, which opened in 2011, still stands. The restaurant employs about 150 people. According to manager Myron Markewycz, the operation&rsquo;s doing well. Markewycz estimates that during the first few years it was open, Jordan visited the restaurant about 30 times. That was before Jordan divided his time between residences in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Florida. Now, while Markewycz can&rsquo;t give a specific number, he says they see much less of Jordan.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The United Center: The house that Jordan built?</span></p><p>It&rsquo;s tempting for an armchair historian to credit the United Center&rsquo;s construction to Jordan and the Bulls&rsquo; success. After all, you can&rsquo;t miss the statue of Jordan that dominates one of the center&rsquo;s main entrances. And, a surface reading of the timeline lends some evidence: Jordan arrived in 1984 and the United Center opened for business in 1994, replacing the Chicago Stadium.</p><p>But actually, the United Center was a joint venture designed to house both the Bulls and the Blackhawks hockey team. And it was first planned in 1988, years before the Bulls&rsquo; first championship in 1991.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/UnitedCenter.jpg" style="height: 338px; width: 450px;" title="Chicago's United Center was opened in 1994. (Flickr/Esparta)" /></div><p>Sanderson says it&rsquo;s likely Jordan was just in the right place at the right time. Yes, Jordan excelled at the United Center, but basketball&rsquo;s popularity was the draw, not Jordan.</p><p>Jordan&rsquo;s rookie season was 1984, just as the NBA&rsquo;s popularity began to snowball. Until then, not many Americans watched basketball at the stadium or on TV. According to Sanderson, the playoffs were taped and aired later because not enough people wanted to watch them live. The sport gained momentum throughout the &lsquo;80s. Jordan and the Bulls, he says, rode the wave.</p><p>Sam Smith, a sports reporter who covered Jordan for the Chicago Tribune and authored two books about the star, says this rising tide compelled the NBA to push all teams &mdash; including the Bulls &mdash; to build new stadiums, fill seats and boost revenue.</p><p>&ldquo;They committed all of the franchises to have to get new buildings,&rdquo; he said, adding that if teams couldn&rsquo;t pull it off financially or politically, they were pressured to look for new cities to play in.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MJ%20united%20center%20statue%20for%20united%20center%20section_0.jpg" style="float: left; height: 361px; width: 250px; margin: 5px;" title="Chicago Bulls' star Michael Jordan stands next to a 12-foot bronze statue of himself unveiled outside the United Center in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 1, 1994, during a salute to Jordan by the Bulls. At left is Jordan's mother Deloris. (AP Photo/John Zich)" /></p><p>&ldquo;Everybody was put onto this,&rdquo; Smith said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s why Seattle&rsquo;s team moved to Oklahoma City, as an example.&rdquo;</p><p>But Charles Johnson, the CEO of Johnson Consulting (a firm that works on stadium projects, among other things) gives Jordan more credit.</p><p>Johnson helped supervise the development of the United Center for Stein and Company. He says the previous venue, the Chicago Stadium, had become obsolete and that there &ldquo;was no doubt&rdquo; that the United Center would have been built at some point. Still, he says, Jordan &ldquo;absolutely&rdquo; drove the timing.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it is safe to say that this is the building that Michael built,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I do not think this can be said anywhere else, so emphatically.&rdquo;</p><p>Johnson, Sanderson and Smith agree that Jordan had a definite impact on the new stadium&rsquo;s capacity and other amenities &mdash; in particular, the high number of suites.</p><p>&ldquo;If MJ was not in the picture, that many suites would never have happened,&rdquo; Johnson said, adding that the decision to create additional luxury seating turned into an excellent revenue stream for the construction project.</p><p>Smith goes further, saying that the NBA pointed to Jordan&rsquo;s track record and crowd appeal as an argument to expand suites and other accommodations. He says the franchises listened.</p><p>&ldquo;You can make a case with Michael that he influenced all of these buildings everywhere,&rdquo; Smith said.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Charitable impact</span></p><p>Throughout the 1990s, Michael Jordan was the richest athlete in the world, raking in $78.3 million in 1997 alone. Even if Chicago felt little economic impact from the Bulls&rsquo; success, you might suspect that Jordan&rsquo;s personal wealth &mdash; and fundraising in his name &mdash; had potential to leave a more measurable mark on the city.</p><p>In 1989 Jordan and his mother, Deloris, created the Michael Jordan Foundation, a Chicago-based charity that focused on improving education on a national scale. It had two offices and twelve people on staff. Student who participated in Jordan&rsquo;s Education Club could earn a weekend trip to Chicago if their grades and school attendance improved.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MJ%20econ%20impact%20AP_1.jpg" style="height: 345px; width: 450px;" title="Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan gestures during a news conference at Bercy stadium in Paris Wednesday Oct. 15, 1997. Michael Jordan is the richest athlete in the world, regaining the top spot on the Forbes magazine list for the fifth time in six years. Jordan will earn dlrs 78.3 million in 1997. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)" /></div><p>But in 1996, seven years after the foundation&rsquo;s start (and shortly after Jordan made his <a href="http://chicago.suntimes.com/basketball/7/71/450458/michael-jordan-proclaimed-im-back-20-years-ago-today" target="_blank">famous Bulls comeback</a>), he<a href="http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1996/Michael-Jordan-Pulls-Plug-on-Charitable-Foundation/id-0c0db7ac6126eb83ad42762939677c11" target="_blank"> pulled the plug</a>. Jordan told the press he wanted to take a &ldquo;more personal and less institutional&rdquo; approach to financial giving, and that he&rsquo;d rather &ldquo;pick and choose to whom I give my donation.&rdquo;</p><p>And, aside from a substantial <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=9999200019825" target="_blank">$5 million donation</a> to Chicago&rsquo;s Hales Franciscan High School in 2007, Jordan doesn&rsquo;t seem to have picked or chosen much else when it comes to local donations.</p><p>One Chicago charity to which MJ does still contribute is the James R. Jordan Foundation, an evolution of the Michael Jordan Foundation named in honor of his father. Deloris Jordan (Michael&rsquo;s mother) is the founder. Michael has little administrative involvement, a fact quickly asserted by the foundation.</p><p>&ldquo;He hasn&rsquo;t been here in how many years?&rdquo; said Samuel Bain, the foundation&rsquo;s director of development. &ldquo;[MJ] hasn&rsquo;t lived here, hasn&rsquo;t played here.&rdquo;</p><p>Bain says it&rsquo;s challenging to quantify the impact of the James R. Jordan Foundation on the city itself, but suspects it&rsquo;s benefited more local children and families than MJ&rsquo;s efforts in the early &lsquo;90s.</p><p>Under Deloris&rsquo; direction, the James R. Jordan Foundation partners with three Chicago K-8 schools, two of which are on either side of the United Center. Every student enrolled in these schools is part of a program called the <a href="http://www.jamesjordanfoundation.com/a-team-scholars.html" target="_blank">A-Team Scholars</a>, which awards scholarship money to students based on the letter improvements of their grades each semester.</p><p>Bain says the program has helped Chicago kids make it to high school and college. Some students have become <a href="https://www.gmsp.org/" target="_blank">Gates Millennium Scholars</a>, and a number of graduates from the James R. Jordan Schools have returned to Chicago as program mentors.</p><p>&ldquo;The impact shows in actual neighborhoods, in kids who are making it,&rdquo; Bain said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the result of making it to college.&rdquo;</p><p>As far as MJ&rsquo;s contributions?</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s a supporter like our other supporters,&rdquo; Bain said. &ldquo;We are not the Michael Jordan Foundation. We don&rsquo;t want the focus to be on Michael.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Second to none</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/MJ%20need%20you%20back%20pride%20section_0.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 5px; height: 381px; width: 250px;" title="(AP Photo) " />For a while, everyone wanted to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0AGiq9j_Ak" target="_blank">&lsquo;Be Like Mike.&rsquo;</a> Which means Chicago&rsquo;s identity got a bit of a makeover, too.</p><p>Before MJ came along &ldquo;if you were traveling and told someone you were from Chicago, people would say, &lsquo;Oh, Chicago. Al Capone!&rsquo; Now, it&rsquo;s &lsquo;Chicago? Michael Jordan!&rdquo; said Sanderson.</p><p>Sam Smith says that the city experienced a sense of pride that it hadn&rsquo;t had before.</p><p>For a long time, he points out, Chicago was the &ldquo;Second City&rdquo; to New York or Los Angeles.</p><p>&ldquo;Here in Chicago, sports teams have traditionally been unsuccessful. They were associated with losing and being made fun of,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>That sentiment turned around. The United Center&rsquo;s Michael Jordan statue, entitled &quot;The Spirit&quot; and completed in 1994, has these words emblazoned on it: &ldquo;The best there ever was. The best there ever will be.&rdquo; It was as if, when Jordan was playing for the Bulls in the &lsquo;90s, everyone was proud to be from Chicago.</p><p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t be the best forever,&rdquo; Smith said, &ldquo;but for a while we were number one.&rdquo;</p></p> Wed, 01 Apr 2015 11:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/legacy-michael-jordan-chicago-111803 Why we sign up for gym memberships but never go to the gym http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/why-we-sign-gym-memberships-never-go-gym-111312 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/gym.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Gyms have built their business model around us not showing up.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Gyms have way more members than they can actually accommodate. Low-priced gyms are the most extreme example of this. Planet Fitness, which charges between $10 and $20 per month, has, on average, 6,500 members per gym.</p><p>Most of its gyms can hold around 300 people. Planet Fitness can do this because it knows that members won&#39;t show up. After all, if everyone who had a gym membership showed up at the gym, it would be Thunderdome.</p><p>If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym&#39;s best customer.</p><p><strong>So gyms try to attract people who won&#39;t come.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>If you haven&#39;t been a &quot;gym person&quot; in the past, chances are good that paying for a gym membership won&#39;t change that. Gyms know this and do what they can to attract people who haven&#39;t traditionally been gym rats.</p><p>Instead of displaying challenging equipment like weight benches and climbing machines in plain view, gyms will often hide weight rooms and other equipment in the back. Many gyms now have lobbies that are designed to look like hotels and fancy restaurants.</p><p>&quot;For the longest time, the design was around the sweat,&quot; says Rudy Fabiano, an architect who designs gyms all over the world. &quot;Twenty-five years ago ... clubs could be very intimidating. Remember there were the baggy pants that everybody had and the bodybuilders would bring their own jug of water?&quot;</p><p>Once gyms started looking more like hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, people who weren&#39;t bodybuilders started feeling comfortable in gyms. The casual gymgoer was born.</p><p><strong>Our brains want to be locked into annual contracts with gyms.</strong></p><p>Normally, we hate being locked into long contracts (cellphones, cable packages), but gym memberships are an exception.</p><p>&quot;Joining a gym is an interesting form of what behavioral economists call pre-commitment,&quot; says Kevin Volpp, director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Wharton School.</p><p>Volpp says we actually like the idea of being locked into a gym contract ... at first, anyway.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re picturing the &#39;new me&#39; who&#39;s actually going to go to the gym three times a week and become a physical fitness machine.&quot;</p><p>We convince ourselves that since we have committed to putting down money for a year, we will make ourselves go to the gym. And then, of course, we don&#39;t.</p><p><strong>Just when we try to get out, they feed us, massage us and ply us with alcohol. </strong></p><p>Gyms have big issues with retention, and most lose around half their members every year.</p><p>Once we realize that we haven&#39;t been going to the gym, even $20 per month can feel like too much.</p><p>To try to combat this, gyms look for ways to offer value to customers who aren&#39;t necessarily into working out. Planet Fitness has bagel breakfasts once a month and pizza dinners. Those are its busiest times. It also has massage chairs.</p><p>Other gyms have mixers and movie nights and spa treatments.</p><p><strong>Without slackers like us, gyms would be a lot more expensive.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>The reason gyms can charge so little is that most members don&#39;t go.</p><p>People who don&#39;t go are subsidizing the membership of people who do. So, if you don&#39;t work out, you are making gyms affordable for everyone.</p><p>If you are one of the brave few who actually do go to the gym, you are getting an amazing deal.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/12/30/373996649/why-we-sign-up-for-gym-memberships-but-don-t-go-to-the-gym">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 16:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/why-we-sign-gym-memberships-never-go-gym-111312 What Christmas does (or doesn’t do) for the economy http://www.wbez.org/news/what-christmas-does-or-doesn%E2%80%99t-do-economy-111275 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/1128_holiday-shopping-624x415.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Is Christmas good for the economy? That&rsquo;s the conventional thinking, but some economists believe that if Christmas didn&rsquo;t exist, all of the shopping we do would actually be distributed more evenly throughout the year, and there might not be so much &ldquo;deadweight loss,&rdquo; i.e., that ugly sweater from your aunt that gets put in the back of the closet.</p><p><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/is-christmas-bad-for-the-economy/249618/">Derek Thompson</a>&nbsp;has looked at some of the research and joins&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/" target="_blank">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;</a>s Jeremy Hobson to explain.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/12/19/christmas-retail-economics"><em>via Here and Now</em></a></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-christmas-does-or-doesn%E2%80%99t-do-economy-111275 Before we start our homework http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/we-start-our-homework-107717 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/susie thumbnail.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: This post asked how we may best focus Dabney Lyles&#39; question. To those who helped by leaving comments below, on our <a href="https://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook page</a>, or via <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter</a>: Thanks so much! Your efforts really paid off. Susie An and Logan Jaffe&#39;s<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/university-down-block-108021"> finished the investigation</a></em>.&nbsp;</p><p>Recall that Dabney Lyles, a DePaul graduate student living in downtown Chicago, asked a question that won a Curious City voting round:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>What effect do Chicago&rsquo;s colleges and universities have on the local economy?</em></p><p>After a quick convo, Dabney and I decided to get some help from our fellow Curious Citizens. (That would be, um, you.) After all, there are dozens of colleges and universities in the area, and there are just as many angles to explore. So before we sharpen the pencils and start our homework, we&rsquo;d like clarification on the assignment.</p><p>First, just a little background from Dabney. What got her interested in the first place was a trip to Salvador, Brazil, where she studied the city&rsquo;s technology cluster. She noticed that universities played a major role in research, but they also provided students to be recruited for internships and jobs. Salvador&rsquo;s economic initiative seemed focused on bolstering young talent for the local workforce. Dabney wondered how that plays out in her own city of Chicago.</p><p>And I had some experience to kick in, too. I went to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where few students would remain in town after graduation and where some businesses would limit their hours when school was out. In other words, it was a real campus town. Chicago has so many schools but they&rsquo;re secondary to the city itself. I wouldn&rsquo;t mind looking into how money is married between a stand-alone city economy and its many colleges.</p><p>So, here&rsquo;s the short list of angles for you to comment on:</p><ul><li>How much do businesses cater to the many students in the area?</li><li>Do municipal or local investments in university projects pay off?</li><li>Just where does all that tuition money go?</li><li>How might a university benefit or hinder the economic growth of its neighborhood?</li></ul><p>Any suggestion or lead, though, would be great, as the Curious City crew has plenty of grade anxiety! Drop your suggestion in the comments below, or hit Curious City on <a href="https://www.twitter.com/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter&nbsp;</a> or <a href="https://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook</a>.</p><p><a name="Timeline"></a><iframe frameborder="0" height="620" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0Am-AbC8HDbXMdGtwa0I3NjJZZ2t4T0J6WUFTRjBoWlE&amp;font=Bevan-PotanoSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;height=620" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 14 Jun 2013 19:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/we-start-our-homework-107717 Reporter's Notebook: If Illinois legalizes marijuana, how could that affect the economics of the drug trade among gangs? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/reporters-notebook-if-illinois-legalizes-marijuana-how-could-affect-economics <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/pot leaf.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="650" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0An_OJm0YASWadHhMMWQ4VHJmck5yMEdBNTlNRi1nZGc&amp;font=PTSerif-PTSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;height=650" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/about-curious-city-98756">Curious City</a>&nbsp;is a news-gathering experiment designed to satisfy the public&#39;s curiosity.&nbsp;People&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">submit questions</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/ask">vote&nbsp;</a>for their favorites, and WBEZ reports out the winning questions in real time, on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/curiouscityproject">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#!/WBEZCuriousCity">Twitter&nbsp;</a>and the timeline above.</p><p>Siva Iyer from Elmhurt&nbsp;asked:&nbsp;If Illinois legalizes marijuana, how could that affect the economics of the drug trade among gangs? WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore investigates.&nbsp;</p><p>Where do you think we should start this investigation? How would you answer this? Comment below!</p></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 15:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/reporters-notebook-if-illinois-legalizes-marijuana-how-could-affect-economics Paul Krugman on How to Fix the Economy http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/paul-krugman-how-fix-economy-105594 <p><p>The success of President Obama&rsquo;s next term in office hinges on American economic revival&mdash;strengthening the labor market and addressing the persistent fiscal problems that threaten to move the country back into recession. Unemployment may be trending down, but it remains at levels that would have been inconceivable not long ago&mdash;at levels that <strong>Paul Krugman</strong> argues are unconscionable and unnecessary today.</p><div>In a partisan age with a gridlocked Congress, how can American leadership address the forces that are impeding economic growth? What kinds of policies are needed to restore full employment? Paul Krugman will presented in front of a sold-out audience and outlined recommendations for US economic recovery and described the fundamental steps on how to fix the economy.</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79840710" width="100%"></iframe></p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CCGA-webstory_5.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Recorded Thursday, January 30, 2013 at&nbsp;The Fairmont Chicago</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 15:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/paul-krugman-how-fix-economy-105594 'The Most Expensive Game in Town': A look at the rising cost of youth sports http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-29/most-expensive-game-town-look-rising-cost-youth-sports-97740 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-29/youth soccer flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-29/youth%20soccer%20flickr.jpg" title="(Flickr/Erica Hampton)" width="500"></p><p>Kids cost a pretty penny these days. According to the <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/expendituresonchildrenbyfamilies.htm" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Agriculture</a>, it costs a middle-income, two-parent family $226,920, on average, to raise a child from birth to age 18—that’s almost 14 grand every year! That figure primarily accounts for general expenses like food, shelter, health and child care, transportation and education. The price tag for parents of the nearly 50 million kids who play organized sports each year is even steeper.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to Lester Munson and Mark Hyman on the Afternoon Shift</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333561907-0" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Lester Munson.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div></div></div><br><p>In his new book, <em>The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families</em>, sports journalist <a href="http://www.markhyman.com/" target="_blank">Mark Hyman</a> examines the cost of youth sports—from uniforms to equipment, league fees, travel, tournament fees and clinics. In the book, he tells the story of one father of three, Fran Dicari, who blogs about his expenses under the moniker “<a href="http://www.statsdad.com/p/youth-sports-costs.html" target="_blank">Stats Dad</a>.” Last year, Dicari spent over $11,000 on league fees, physical therapy, personal coaches, AAU fees, baseball cleats, basketball sneakers, turf cleats, golf shoes, baseball gloves, golf gloves, airline tickets, shirts, shorts and oh so much more.</p><p>Hometown hockey hero and current color commentator for the Chicago Blackhawks Eddie Olczyk also recognized the rising cost of recreation. And so the Chicago Blackhawks and the Blackhawks Charities created <a href="http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=74491" target="_blank">The Eddie Olczyk Award</a> to support young hockey players and teams in Illinois who may not have the means to play at a competitive level. Olczyk joined Hyman, ESPN.com senior writer Lester Munson and Steve Edwards on <em>The Afternoon Shift </em>to discuss the high price of play.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 17:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-29/most-expensive-game-town-look-rising-cost-youth-sports-97740 Clever Apes #28: The critter economy http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-20/clever-apes-28-critter-economy-97474 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-20/THUMBNAIL_Gorrilla.png" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Dario Maestripieri studies how humans behave compared with primates." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-20/DARIO pic for post.png" style="width: 600px; height: 484px;" title="Dario Maestripieri studies how humans behave compared with primates. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)"></p><p>It seems like economics is a purely human invention, far removed from the jungle. But scientists say our ancestors were spending and investing for millions of years. So our behavior when we manage our portfolio or climb the corporate ladder resembles nothing so much as the interactions of apes or monkeys. In the latest installment of Clever Apes, we consider how our financial activity has deep parallels in the primate world. And furthermore, many of our most important financial decisions come from even more primitive impulses, deep in our lizard brains.</p><p>The University of Chicago’s <a href="http://primate.uchicago.edu/dario.htm">Dario Maestripieri </a>is a professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology, neurobiology and psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience. (I usually abbreviate titles, but his makes me happy). He studies the intersections among our minds, our primate cousins, and evolution. In his new book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Games-Primates-Play-Investigation-Relationships/dp/046502078X">Games Primates Play</a>, he details how the mechanisms of economics have their origins in our deep past.</p><p>Apes and monkeys play the market by choosing whom to groom and whom to attack, whom to sleep with and what food is worth risking a fight for. As Yale psychologist Laurie Santos explains, the psychology that governs those decisions didn’t begin with humans. So we see monkeys making the same kinds of classic mistakes that humans make, like “loss aversion,” where we work harder to avoid losses than to achieve equivalent gains. (<a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/laurie_santos.html">check out her TED talk </a>for a great explanation.)</p><p><img alt="(WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-20/THUMBNAIL_Gorrilla.png" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)">We’re also subject to the same quirks of biology as many non-human primates. Biologists have found that <a href="http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223%2895%2900675-3/abstract">monkeys with high levels of testosterone and lower levels of the brain chemical serotonin </a>tend to take more risks: taking longer leaps between trees, challenging unfamiliar males, and so on. Maestripieri and his colleagues set up a <a href="http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/index.php/Kellogg/article/the_biochemistry_of_financial_risk">similar experiment with business school students. </a>There too, those with higher levels of testosterone were more likely to make long-shot investments or go into a riskier profession.</p><p>Finally, we check in with neuroeconomist <a href="http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/kuhnen/htm/">Camelia Kuhnen </a>of Northwestern University. She finds that our investment decisions are heavily influenced by some of the most ancient parts of our brains. She and a colleague did an experiment where they <a href="http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/kuhnen/htm/RESEARCH/KWKW_2008.pdf">activated the brain’s reward center </a>using something that had nothing to do with money – in this case, it was sexy pictures. In males, anyway, this led them to make riskier bets in an investment game. Just the whiff of reward was enough to make these guys high-rollers … something we can thank our reptilian ancestors for.</p></p> Tue, 20 Mar 2012 20:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-20/clever-apes-28-critter-economy-97474 A behavioral economist on what works, and what falls flat, in global poverty relief http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-31/behavioral-economist-what-works-and-what-falls-flat-global-poverty-relie <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-31/Maternal Health_Haiti.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>When it comes to global poverty, there’s often a gap between the billions we pour in and the outcomes that actually result. A behavioral economist at Yale University, <a href="http://karlan.yale.edu/" target="_blank">Dean Karlan</a> is trying to uncover the reasons behind this gap.</p><p>Dean is co-author of a new book called <a href="http://www.poverty-action.org/book/index.html" target="_blank"><em>More than Good Intentions: How a New Economics if Helping to Solve Global Poverty</em></a>. It's a <em>Freakanomics</em>-style guide to development projects that work and projects that just don’t make the cut.</p><p>Dean tells <em>Worldview</em> what the world needs to do to make sure every dollar that's donated makes a difference in reducing global poverty.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Dean Karlan is speaking this evening at the Buffet Center at Northwestern University, at 5PM. Read more about the event <a href="http://planitpurple.northwestern.edu/event/426611" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 31 Jan 2012 16:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-31/behavioral-economist-what-works-and-what-falls-flat-global-poverty-relie Worldview 1.31.12 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-01-31 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2012-january/2012-01-31/africa1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Eugene Peba is a member of the Ogoni Tribe, an indigenous group in southeast Nigeria that's been persecuted for decades. Eugene fled his home country for the U.S., but now faces deportation. He tells <em>Worldview</em> why he may have to leave the United States.&nbsp; Also, when it comes to foreign aid, there's often a gap between the billions poured in to help people in need and the outcomes that result. Dean Karlan, a behavioral economist who teaches at Yale University, is trying to figure out what's behind this gap. Dean is the co-author of <em>More than Good Intentions: How a New Economics is Helping to Solve Global Poverty</em>. <em>Worldview</em> talks to Dean about his book, a <em>Freakanomics</em>-style guide which talks about development initiatives that work and don't work.</p></p> Tue, 31 Jan 2012 15:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-01-31