Saturday, September 29, 2012

A good read that is relevant to our class

Doug Glanville has an unusual combination of gifts.  He is a graduate of Yale and he is former Major League Baseball player.  Now, among the things he does, he is a writer.  This column about brotherhood, meant as a tribute to his dad, gives an eloquent description of the social climate to be found in an organization bound by "the invisible handshake."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Road Map for Next Three Weeks

This morning I put in calendar entries for all sessions through the first midterm.  Here I want to give a narrative to explain that and give you a heads up so you can best prepare outside of class.

We are talking about six class sessions where the sixth is the exam.  You'll have the full 80 minutes for the test.  I will write it with the aim that it takes half that time.  That day you should spread out around the room.  The exam format will be 2 problems/scenarios (each spreadsheet within a workbook corresponds to a possible scenario.  There will also be one essay question.  I will distribute 3 to 5 potential questions ahead of time.  The actual question will be selected  from one of those.

The Monday before the exam we'll have a review session so you can feel prepared for the test.  I will do no new content then.   There won't be a blog post due the prior Thurs., to free up in class-time for the review.  Students will drive that session via the questions they ask.  

That leaves four other sessions and we will go through those last to first.  On Wed. October 10, we will discuss information economics as it pertains in insurance markets and in that context consider adverse selection (hidden information) and moral hazard (hidden action).  This session will be based on an Excel homework that I'm committed to author and have ready by next Tuesday (10/2).   The content in this homework is fair game for the midterm.

On Mon. October 8, we will recycle back to transfer prices.  This session will be partly a discussion about student posts on Illini bucks, partly a discussion about non-price means of allocation as an alternative to transfer prices, and partly a discussion about off-the-top funding for a division as an alternative to transfer pricing.  We also want to review the Excel spreadsheet on transfer pricing from the homework.

On Wed. October 3, we will talk about the elements of risk and insurance.  I hope for most of you this is a review from intermediate micro.  My intent here is to spend a disproportionate amount of time on definitions of concepts.  Our best session so far was when we spent our time this way.  We'll also spend some time on a rudimentary model of insurance.  This will be based on material available here.

Next Mon., October 1,  we will continue the discussion about coordination in the presence of Knightian Uncertainty by talking about learning and decision making.  We'll consider the economics model of experimental consumption (or equivalently how a monopolist chooses price to learn about the  demand curve.  Then we'll consider non-economic approaches:  (1)  Steve Sample on Thinking Gray (Read the first pages through page 12.)  (2)  Malcolm Gladwell's Blink on Thin Slicing (Read the first pages through page 25.)  (3)  Daniel Kahneman on WYSIATI from Thinking Fast and Slow.

Annual David Kinley Lecture

When:  Thurs, Oct 25, 4 - 5:30
Where:  Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium
Who: Austan Goolsbee

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Background material on the economics of risk

The last time I taught intermediate microeconomics, I made a bunch of Excel workbooks with numerically animated graphs, which I call Excelets, and then I produced some micro-lectures, one per worksheet, and delivered those as YouTube videos.

You can find the set of these on Risk and Uncertainty at the link.  The Excel workbook on which these are based can also be downloaded.   We might cover a few of these next week in class.   It is important background information for us.

When I taught this stuff some of the better students wanted to see the algebra of expected utility worked through.  So here is a micro-lecture on that and here is the PowerPoint on which the micro-lecture is based. Finally, this is the same concepts looked at graphically and the Excel file for that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Here is where we seem to be

1.  I would like to hold class on Wednesday, but I don't yet have a ride.  So check this space tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning to confirm.

2.  I am on pain relievers.  But I am entirely logical in my thinking.  The issue for me (assuming the class is held) will be fatigue, not lala land.

3.  I may dress more casually to accommodate the immobilizer.  Please don't let that bother you.

4.  Everything I produce on the computer now is done with the left hand.  (I am right handed.)  That is slow.  So I am trying to figure out what to do with the Excel homework near term.  We should discuss this in class on Wed.  Perhaps we'll concentrate more on B&D for a couple of days to balance things off.

5.  There have been a couple of comments to earlier posts.  Thanks for that.  I like getting the comments. Please keep them coming.

Friday, September 21, 2012

home after my procedure

the thing itself went ok.  but i'm groggy from the pain meds.  we'll figure out in a day or two the effect on our class.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My lessons learned/Decisions to be made going forward

I think it is somewhat ironic that we talked in class yesterday about things going wrong and then finding somebody to blame with that preceding almost immediately several students struggling with the homework because they put in numerical values rather than cell references, and then some of those students sending messages of irritation along with their submission key.

I wonder whether those students completed the Demo for Homework that we went over in class during the second week of the course.  There were exercises in that Demo specifically about this issue.  From where I sit either (1) I should have required everybody to do that and submit their result or (2) some people who did that nonetheless didn't take the lesson from it, so the demo needs to be redesigned.  I would appreciate getting comments on this as I really don't know what the explanation is for you.  If you prefer putting that in an email to me to further protect your privacy, that would be fine too.

I trust that on future homeworks students will use cell references so this issue, painful as it was this time around, will be behind us.  The next issue for me in designing the homework is whether on the math itself I'm spoon feeding you the answers too much and that it would be better for your learning if I didn't do that from here on out.  I get that the comfort with the math is somewhat heterogeneous in our class and some may prefer to leave as is.  I welcome your opinion on this issue too.

Let me say how the issue looks from where I sit.  There is an old idea of how students do math homework called "plug and chug" where students take an already given formula and plug in values into that.  It is a path to generate an answer without getting understanding about why the formula is useful.    So I'd like to steer students away from plug and chug  and am looking for suggestions on how to do it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More on Coordination/Thoughts on M&R Chapter 4

It is not unusual for one branch of economics to borrow from another.  When I was coming up with the ideas about service quality for the transfer pricing worksheet, I borrowed from ideas on the economics of regulation. And with that let me say that even if you learn only a little bit of economics in this class you will get a reference to a series of off-beat movies that somehow tie into the economics.  In the case it's The President's Analyst, a hilarious and very weird picture.  The tie in with the economics comes at the very end of the movie.  (You'll have to ask in class why.)  Also note that when I tie in to other economics I do a little test to see if it makes sense in my experience.  In this case I ask myself whether what the model predicts matches my experience when I was in CITES.  It does.  We'll talk about that a bit during our next class session.

M&R also borrow quite freely from many other areas in economics.  Much of the part of the book on compensation borrows from information economics and labor economics.  Chapter 4 borrows from a literature on economic planning a la the Soviet Union Agency Gosplan and mechanism design, which was a similar area for a theorist but applied to capitalist countries and was about the joint determination of how much public good is provided and how the tax burden for the public good is distributed.  That research was quite hot when I was in graduate school.  But now it's a little older and somewhat out of fashion.  So I want to give some context for why it existed and also say why we won't spend time on it in our course.  The PowerPoint I've prepared for next Wednesday is meant as an alternative.

Note that the Soviet Union came to an end right about the time most of you were born.  M&R came out about a year later.  So the existence of Soviet Union and the economic theory that developed around it had to matter a good deal in M&R's thinking, at least indirectly.  It is generally agreed that as economic systems go, Communism a la Gosplan setting prices and quotas for the economy was much worse than capitalism with market prices determined pretty much by supply and demand, with caveats we've already discussed in class.  Both system have warts - they are not perfect, but communism in this vein was much worse.  There were chronic shortages of many consumer goods, notably meat, and many produced good were of shoddy quality.  This in spite of a well educated populace.  Nobody disagrees about the comparison.  What's at issue for us is the explanation for why this is the case.

The planning and mechanism design literature focus on "informational efficiency" which means being able to communicate what is necessary with the least possible information possible - presumably because information is a scarce resource.  The price system in a market economy is informationally efficient.  But note that M&R were writing at the dawn of the computing and communications revolution and until that time information was a scarce resource.  Now we live in a world of information over abundance.  Walmart, for example, craves piles and piles of data about inventory and where it resides as well as about shopping patterns at its various stores so it can efficiently restock and warehouse its merchandise.  So informational efficiency seems less exciting nowadays as a reason to prefer one economic system over another.

Communism under the Soviet Union produced a massive amount of featherbedding and other forms of corruption and that sustained until the system as a whole collapsed.  Tying this to today's Powerpoint about Schumpeter - captialism is far better on the destruction part of creative destruction than communism is, where inefficient and old ways of doing things may have become entrenched.  Capitalism may also be better about the creative side, but I think its on the destruction side where communism failed.  Personally I think that would have happened even if somehow what Gosplan did was as informationally efficient as capitalistic price system.  There were so many other problems with the Soviet Union, pinning them all on informational inefficiency just doesn't seem right.

In what we will do next week my preferred way of thinking about this is to emphasize the role of the "honest broker" in coordination.  In stead of worrying whether a mechanized scheme like the intern matching program provides incentive to tell the trust, as whether people feel they are dealing with somebody they can trust and who listens to what they say.  That is how to achieve high productivity and upbeat spirit about the work, in my view.

Doing the third worksheet in the homework

After class today some students came up to me and said they were having trouble with the homework, the part where there is transfer pricing but also an external market.

I just tried it and it is fine as is.  But I also tried to replicate the error and I think I did that.  The problem is that there is a price in cell F255.  You see a number with two decimals, but you were instructed in the tutorial not to trust what you see but rather to use the cell reference.  See if that works for you.

(I'm placing the same message as a comment here.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Better Class Session - Disincentives against "nasty" behavior

There seemed to be more life in the class today.  I appreciate your efforts in making it so. There was good back and forth and we got participation from many students.  Both of those were delightful and in accord with my view of how things are done well with instruction.  For my part, it is definitely easier to get this if I'm reacting to you already, which is one role the blogging will play for the duration of the course.  I will try to do this even on days when we're not talking about the blog posts, but they'll be less context to use to make the points.

On the content of what we were talking about, I think it is time to bring in a metaphor that represents the opposite extreme of one I've already mentioned repeatedly, which is doing somebody a favor, being collegial, and promoting a trusting environment.  We need to talk about nasty behavior - doing bad things to others.  The next blog post is about hold up - a specific type of such nasty behavior that emerges as a person discovers that as a consequence from holding a specific asset that person has been conferred substantial bargaining power - so decides to use it.   Since hold up is the specific issue Coase had in mind when he wrote the Nature of the Firm paper, it is especially important to understand it.

However, there are other types of nasty behavior that we should consider as well.  Perhaps the "patron saint" for such predatory types is P.T. Barnum.  He is attributed with the line:

There is a sucker born every minute.  

Whether Barnum actually said the line is not important here.  What is important is the source of the power conveyed by the sentiment.  It is not anything that the predator possesses that gives him power.  Rather it's what the sucker lacks (knowledge and common sense).  The predator takes advantage of that.

Over the last 10 years there has been much written about predatory practices in financial interactions.  Originators of subprime loans, for example, have put borrowers into the wrong type of loan and with excessive principal, fooling these borrowers by initial teaser interest rates that were much lower than the longer term rates.  (Countrywide earned a reputation for encouraging such predatory lending.)  Some responded to this history by arguing that what is needed is to raise the financial literacy of the borrowers.  There may be substantial merit to this argument but do note that Bernie Madoff's customers, particularly those who lost a lot of money, were suckers yet among these are several very prominent people in New York business and social life. So, I believe, an equally compelling argument is that anyone can be cast in the role of sucker; education and intelligence may make it less likely to get duped but don't eliminate the possibility altogether.  Another alternative deterrent is regulation.  The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is aimed at doing just that.

Given that such nasty behavior is possible in the marketplace, it is probably reasonable to assume that it can also happen within organizations.  So while in class today I said that management tries to encourage intrinsic motivation for its employees, as that is the way to get the best work from them and enable them to get a lot of job satisfaction, it is also true that management must spend some time providing disincentive against predatory practices by its employees.  It is a darker side of the job, but some of it is certainly necessary.

Also note here that I'm sticking to predatory behavior within an economic context, as that is the scope of our course.  Surely it is possible to observe other forms of nasty behavior - bullying, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, etc.  The U of I, for example, deals with each of these via education and oversight.  The issues are certainly interesting to consider but we won't do so in our class as they run too far afield of our subject.

Use this for homework 2 questions and comments

The second Excel homework is due this Thursday evening.  If you have questions or comments about the assignment please put them as commnets to this post.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cheating and Social Responsibility

This Op-Ed from the NY Times makes you want to ask whether the same sort of attitudes prevail outside of academia.  There is a concept known as the white lie.  One should whether that in itself is benign or if it paves the path to much darker falsehoods.

The piece is also interesting in asking whether Harvard students are so different from those at the U of I.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Upcoming Schedule

Below is the change of schedule I mentioned in the previous post along with some annotations about how you might best take advantage of it.

Blog Posts

Tonight there is a blog post due.  It is the first real one after last week's posting about your alias.  This one asks about your experiences in organizations.  I would like to spend some time on Monday, probably at the beginning of class discussing points culled from your posts.

There is no blog post due next week.  Partly that is simply because I will be unable to comment on the posts immediately after my procedure.  It is also partly to get the pace of the class better in tune.

The next blog post is due in two weeks.  The topic - refraining from behaving opportunistically - is important.  My preference is that you use an example other than not cheating while taking an exam.   I'm sure some of you don't cheat but are aware or believe that others do.  (And some of you might have cheated in the recent past, but writing about that would be weird.)  We might discuss this example in class.  But if it is the only example we discuss than it will be less interesting.  It would be much better to consider the issue in a variety of contexts.

I am cancelling class Monday the 24th, which is just a few days after my procedure.  That should give you more time to consider the blog post you will write and to help put together the various pieces that the class is considering.

Excel Homework

The next Excel Homework is due a week from today, on Coordination Failures and Coordinating Mechanisms.   We'll do a little bit next Wednesday on the Intern Matching program which is the concern of the second worksheet, but the first worksheet (which is simple but important) and the third worksheet on transfer pricing, we don't get to in class for a while.  I want you to do it early so you begin to get some perspective on the issues.

The third worksheet in that homework is about Transfer Pricing.  This is discussed in Milgrom and Roberts, but my tone and perspective is different than theirs.  Because they take the Efficiency Principle as truth, their analysis proceeds in a certain way.  But what happens if instead of bargaining, the parties act independently?  What then?  Might it be the case where parties create private benefit but inefficient group outcomes as a consequence?  This alternative possibility is more consistent with Bolman and Deal's political frame.  In essence, politics is the consequence of social inefficiency.

Upcoming Class Sessions

Next Monday in class when we conclude the discussion on efficiency that was started yesterday, I want to discuss via examples the issue of gaming the system or designing it.  I hope by doing that to make these ideas about Social Surplus and Pareto Optimality more real to you.

On Wednesday we'll discuss "the assignment problem" and discuss that from a couple of different perspectives.  One job of management is to solve the assignment problem.   If you've seen the movie, Eight Men Out, this scene might help in considering some of the issues (the first one at the link):

As I said above, I'm cancelling class the following Monday.  I'm also going to leave the mixture of doing modeling versus simply having discussion unspecified for now.  The reality of my procedure suggests that these things will fall out based on how I'm doing afterward.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Getting on Terra Firma

You guys took me by surprise today when it seemed nobody in the class had seen the Edgeworth Box.  After the class was over it occurred to me that we didn't talk about quasi-linear utility, so we have to do that, and maybe my quick coverage of the Edgeworth Box was just too quick.

So let me say the following:
(a) For your general literacy as Econ students the Edgeworth Box is important as a tool.  If you want to learn more about it:
     (a1)  You can go here where there are a bunch of brief videos I've made on it.  There is coverage about markets in the Edgeworth box, which I only briefly touched on today.
     (a2)  Since some of you have trouble with Google Docs for downloading Excel Workbooks, I've posted the one on General Equilibrium here.  It has what I call Excelets --- there are controls you can press that move the graphs so you can better understand how the graph changes when that parameter changes.
(b)  For our course the Edgeworth box is not very important at all.  The concepts of Pareto Improvement  and Pareto Optimality, which can be applied in contexts other than the Edgeworth Box, are important.  As far as I know the are typically taught first by looking at the Edgeworth Box, but if you understand those concepts more broadly, that's fine.  Then you can ignore some of the minutia of the Edgeworth Box.
(c)  The one other reason for introducing the Edgeworth Box is that if the only alternative reference you have is the (partial equilibrium) supply and demand framework, then you know that the competitive equilibrium maximizes the social surplus, but it sure looks in that setting like efficiency considerations can be separated from equity considerations.  As a general proposition, it isn't true.  So we look at the restricted case of quasi-linear utility because it is true in that setting.  Law and Econ types like Coase maintain that assumption without blinking an eye.
(d)  I intended that first homework as a review to set the context for our course.  There is a puzzle if you take Econ 302 too literally.  Why not have only markets and all transactions taking place in them? Why have organizations as an alternative to markets?   Since it seemed less review than I had thought, I wonder if what we did with the PowerPoint afterward helped in setting context.  We didn't finish that and will have to return to it in the next class.

It also occurred to me that we shouldn't go so quick on covering stuff, particularly if it is newer to you than I had previously thought. So I am going to revise deadlines for things over the next few weeks to reflect that change of pace.  I will write another message in a bit about those new deadlines, once I've thought through what makes sense.

Work Around for Homework Download/Extending First Homework Deadline

I have looked for other alternatives of where to store the Excel Homework for members of the class to access.  For the Efficiency Concepts Workbook, I now have posted a copy to SCRIBD and also posted a copy to the U of I's new Box service.  For those of you who have yet to do the assignment, see if you can download one of those and then see if you can submit your solution by this evening.  You'll still get credit for doing it that way.

Longer term. I will choose one of those as the alternative place to post the assignment and continue to use Google docs as well.  I'd like to choose the Campus Box service, but I was having problems with the login this morning.  I'd want to make sure those are behind me before opting for it.  SCRIBD should work, though it is not a campus service, but at least there is a fallback option.

The only real downside to using one of these is that while I can paste the link to the site of the document  in the Google Calendar description, that won't be clickable.  You'd have to copy it from the calendar description and paste into your browser.  I can put in a clickable link in the block post about the assignment, but not in the calendar description.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Issues with doing the homework reported by students

At this point seven students have done the homework and submitted their key via the Web form.  This to show that for those who have yet to have done so, it is do-able.  But it seems there are a variety of stumbling blocks, so I'd like to list them here and give my best guess as to how to resolve them.

Downloading the File

I have been getting some requests to share the file.  They are unnecessary.  All the homeworks are made publicly available.  There *may* be an issue that if you are logged into Google Apps with your Campus account then it won't let you access it because this lies outside the Campus Google Apps.  I'm not sure on this.  I can't test whether it is true or not.  But the simple solution is to do as follows.

Don't be logged into anything.  Click the link to go to the page with the File.  Then go to the File menu and Download it.  You must use real Excel to do this homework.  You can't do it in Google Spreadsheet.

Doing Computations

Some of you have been trained to do arithmetic and algebra on a calculator.  That is okay for figuring out the solution to a question.  But when you enter the solution do the computation in Excel.  Don't enter an approximate solution.  It will say it is incorrect.  Do the calculation precisely.

Working the Algebra

Some students have struggled a little with finding a P.O. allocation in the Edgeworth Box, the homework says this requires a little algebra.  This is where doing the homework with a classmate can help - they can explain what they did.  Or you can post questions to the class site.

After the fact you need to feel comfortable with the algebra.  I expect that in our review tomorrow, students who struggled will ask questions.  That's the point of the activity.  Do note that the midterms will take problems to work from the homework.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good Content - Flat Class

The class really seemed to drag today and it was probably more me than you as the cause.  I started to get a sore throat later in the afternoon and have been a bit sleep deprived ahead of time because of my shoulder.  I hope the sore throat and sleeplessness will pass and that my energy level is higher on Wednesday.

This is the link to the Arthur Okun essay I mentioned.  On campus, it should just work, off campus you need to use VPN for access.  I think it is an excellent read and it might help you out now, although it dates from 1980.  Many of you are going on the job market in the not too distant future and you will start to ask yourself what it is that you want in the job, apart from the salary.  Thinking of the job as an implicit contract might help you to frame what you should be asking during the interviews (and what answers you should be providing to the recruiter's questions.)  It might also help you to reflect on whether you are ready to make a long term commitment to a job.  (Perhaps you aren't.  I definitely wasn't when I graduated, which was a big reason for going to grad school.)  In any event, I like that essay a lot, so perhaps you will like it too.

Let me switch gears and talk about technology.  One of the disadvantages with the approach I'm taking is that I don't have a campus Google account (they haven't given those to faculty yet) so I can't try things from the perspective of somebody who has one.  The prof.arvan account is a regular gmail account, not affiliated with the university.  If you use a private gmail I don't believe you should run into any technical problems.  (I do believe in Murphy's Law and The Jinx, so I probably shouldn't have written that prior sentence.)  I also believe in learning by doing and in passing along work-arounds to problems.  So if you have some technology glitch and solve it, please post about it, either on your own blog or as a comment here.  Think of doing so as providing a favor to me and your classmates.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hub or Edge/Rules or Discretion?

There is a close parallel between asking whether decisions are made at the center or near the edge, on the one hand, and if decisions are made by following prescriptive rules or if instead they are left to individual discretion.  In class yesterday I said that economists as a group are biased in favor of decentralized decision making.  The argument is that a person near the edge has information about local context that the center doesn't have, so the person at the edge can make a decision that better fits the circumstance.

But there is a counter argument that you should be aware of, that says rules are better when decision makers can quite possibly exert a negative externality on others but ignore that in making their own decision.  A novel example of such a negative externality is given in this essay by Atul Gawande, On Washing Hands.  (You can access the full text of this article if you are on the campus network.  The Library has licensed access for you.  If you are at home, use the CITES VPN to attain access.)  This piece made quite a stir when it first appeared.  It turns out that in hospitals doctors actually make patients sick by passing along the infection one patient has and giving it to another patient, though this happens invisibly so it is difficult to pinpoint who the culprit is.  Hand washing stops the spread of infection from happening.  The rule is that doctors are supposed to wash their hand each time they examine a patient.  But many bypass the rule - their time is scarce, hand washing is inconvenient, and too much hand washing can irritate the skin.  The piece discusses ways to get better compliance with the rule.

On more familiar territory, the negative externality argument presumably justifies why there are laws against speeding and drunk driving.

First Homework on Efficiency/Using Pencil and Paper?

I have turned off  Moderation on the blog.  I'll leave it that way as along as we don't get a lot of spam. If the spam does come will go to Plan B.  (At the moment, I don't have Plan B.)

Use this post to ask questions you have about doing the first homework.  Do so in the comments area for this post.  For each subsequent homework, I will make a post so you can ask questions on that particular assignment.  As I said in class yesterday, other students are free to respond to those questions.  It would be good for you to do that.  Sometimes students understand better than the instructor the difficulty encountered and the work around they found.

In the demo yesterday, I showed that there are blank cells for you to do "scratch work" as you complete your assignment.  But many people are more comfortable with a pencil and paper, writing out what needs to be solved, drawing a diagram, or working an equation.  So I encourage you to find an approach that fits the way you think.

I am curious about that so perhaps after the or third homework, when a routine has been established, I will poll the class about how each of you go about doing this.

Blog Description

Some of you have already interacted with me on the issue of whether an outsider mistakenly assumes you are really pretending to be the famous economist you use in your alias.  This is unlikely, to be sure, but I am nonetheless concerned that it could happen.  So below is a further step I'd like you to take that will prevent this possibility.

Your blog has a place for putting in a description.  (See the image below).  I would like your description to say the following:

I am a student in Econ 490 blogging under an alias, using the name of a famous economist as part of my identifier.  I am doing this so that my true identity remains private while enabling me to make public posts for the class. 

The place for putting in the description can be found in the Basic item in your Blog Settings.  It comes next after Title.  Click the Edit link and enter your description.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Since I'm authoring much of this content and doing so "on the fly" don't be surprised if there are little errors.  I will not be offended if you point them out to me so that I can make a correction.

When I was a Freshman I took a course in probability from a world-famous probabilist - Gian Carlo Rota.  Our textbook, he said, had several typos.  (He was right about that.)  He said that was a good thing - to keep us on our toes.  Were I as good an economist as Rota was a mathematician, I'd claim to be putting in the typos deliberately, to keep you on your does.  But in this case the real explanation is that though I proofread what I provide to you, I do so timewise rather close to when I post it.  Invariably errors get through that way.

Some Reminders

Tomorrow we'll begin with a technology demo.  It would be good if you could bring your laptop to class.  It would also be good if you could download the Excel file we'll use for the demo ahead of time.  That Excel file is here.  After following the link, go to the file menu and select download.

A few of you have sent me the link to your blog, but many have not yet done that.   Please do so at your earliest convenience.  Note that the first real post, a description of the economist from whom your alias has been derived, is due this Thursday at 11 PM.