Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Turning a molehill into a mountain

The survey results can be seen in Moodle.  I thought some of the comments were interesting.  We'll

I again would like to apologize for missing class today.  My present plan on how to manage that is simply to move everything back one class session, so our discussion on signaling will be on Monday, your Blog post about B&D  chapter 8 can be turned in as late as Monday night.  I'll read those on Tuesday and we can discuss on Wednesday.  I will get the calendar adjusted to reflect these changes ---- in a little while.

So now the story of this little fiasco, which might prove interesting when we consider employee shirking, which sometimes happens in the form of absenteeism.  Now you'll have the chance to tell your friends and family, "hey, my instructor cancelled class one day by giving the lame excuse that he had to go to the emergency room."

The medical issue, truly minor, is that one of the stitches didn't get absorbed properly so the wound opened and started oozing.  I was home alone and it was getting a bit messy so I called my wife to see if she could help by calling the orthopedics folks at Carle and asking them what I should do.  She calls back a few minutes later and says the nurse told her I should go to the ER.  But when I finally saw the doc later today, he said the ER trip was unnecessary.  He's on call and I could have met with him for a regular office visit.  The nurse had panicked by recommending the ER.  One good turn deserves another, so my wife panicked too.  As a consequence I did go to the ER.  The physician's assistant saw me in the waiting room so I wouldn't have an ER bill.  He patched me up temporarily.  I saw the doc later, and I'm seeing him tomorrow again just to make sure.  But the whole thing is much ado about nothing other than you guys missing class.

They say - better safe than sorry.  In this particular case I'm safe and also very sorry to have cancelled.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reminder David Kinley Lecture This Thursday

Austan Goolsbee
Public Lecture – “ America’s Economy and the World: Why the Long Face?”
4:00-5:30 pm
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum
Reception to Follow

Goolsbee was an economic adviser to then candidate Barack Obama in 2008.  Recently he served as Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.  I'm guessing that the talk will be, at least in part, a reflection of that experience.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grades in Moodle, Grade Distribution, and PPT from today

For students who missed today's class session -

The graded exams were distributed to those students in attendance.  If you would like to pick up you exam, I will try hard to remember to bring them on Wednesday.  Thereafter it is hit or miss whether I have it when you next come.  You might want to email me ahead of time in that case so I remember to bring it.

For everyone -

I showed a grade distribution for the exam in class, but I'm not ready to distribute that freely.  Likewise, I've not yet uploaded the midterm scores into Moodle.  Some of that is to await the results from Class Direction survey.  (See the previous post. It is linked there.)  I will make these things available in Moodle by Wednesday evening.

But there is another reason.  One consequence of a tough exam, especially one that wasn't anticipated, is that some students will become discouraged.  I've experienced that sort of response in other classes I've taught, so here I'm trying to counter it as much as possible.  Some of the discussion in class today and the discussion we'll have on Wednesday is part of that counter strategy.  Ironically it ties in somewhat to the content of the class session on Monday, based on B&D Chapter 8.

The PowerPoint we reviewed is publicly available.  The first several slides talk about issues from the class' performance on the exam.  The rest is a review of the exam itself and what sort of responses I wish I had seen.  Note that it was constructed rather quickly and it wan't meant to be self-contained.  My narration rounded it out.  If you missed today but want to get a sense of that, I suggest you discuss with one of your classmates who did attend.

Survey on Course Directions

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey.  I got a bit carried away in writing it so it is too wide to embed into the blog, which is why it is linked here instead.

The goal is to use the responses from the survey in our class discussion on Wednesday and then come up with whatever changes we will make in that session.   I will aggregate the results Wednesday morning - probably around 9 AM.  If you complete the survey before then, your views will be included in the aggregate results.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Noble Nobel

Al  Roth won the Nobel Prize in Economics along with Lloyd Shapley.  The story is here.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Getting Caught Up - Grades, Blog Posts, and Baseball

I have now enabled Moodle and put some data there that you might want to verify.  First, on the left you should see a link to Grades.  Click that.  There should be 4 entries.  The first is your alias.  The other three are homework scores.  Each submission is worth 10 points.  You should also see a file near the top called Blog Participation Matrix.  There should be an x for each post you have done.

If you believe there is a discrepancy, please let me know as soon as possible, so we can fix the problem.

When the midterm has been graded the scores will be entered into the Grades area in Moodle.  After the sixth blog post I will also do grades and comments for those.  Soon after, I'd like to meet with you to discuss your blogging and what you might do to improve things.  Those meetings will occur outside regular class time and will need to be scheduled.

Monday is our review session.  To makes that session worthwhile, you should come ready with your questions/issues.  Of course, the midterm is Wednesday.  It's written and photo copied.  You really shouldn't need a calculator to do it, but you can bring one if it makes you feel more comfortable to do so.  There is a blog post due this Thursday.  The prompt for it has been posted, so  if you'd like yo you can get it done early.

Finally I'm grateful that the Yankees made it to the next round and especially that yesterday's game started at 4 PM.  I fell asleep in the middle of the game on Thursday.  I hope I can make it through the ninth inning this evening.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Candidate essay questions for midterm 1

One of three questions below will be the essay question on the midterm.  Of course you should prepare for the exam as you see fit, but I encourage you to work through an answer to each question so you are ready for the test.

By the way, the exam is closed book, closed notes.  The only materials you're allowed are pen and pencil and a calculator.

A.  This question concerns transaction costs.  The underlying cause for the transaction costs are specific inputs so that finding alternative suppliers is difficult if not impossible.  The input supplier then has the power to "hold up" the organization.  There are multiple potential ways to manage transaction costs.  Here we'll consider three:
(i) monitoring performance  coupled with the appropriate carrots or sticks,
(ii) extrinsic reward for excellent performance via bonuses, and
(iii) intrinsic reward by giving the input supplier some control over organization goals and strategies to implement those goals.
Discuss the upside and the downside with each particular  method.  Provide an example of a circumstance where that method is the preferred one,

B.  This question concerns transfer prices.  Provide a working definition for what a transfer price is.  In a for-profit organization how should ownership (shareholders) want the transfer price to be set?  Explain why others in the organization might want the transfer price to be set differently.  What transfer price would these others like to see?  When service quality is jointly set with the transfer price, what service quality would ownership like to see?  Explain why this is the case.  Others may want a different service quality level.  Explain how their preferred service quality level differs from what ownership wants.

C.  This question concerns economic efficiency concepts.  There is a partial equilibrium concept and a general equilibrium concept.  Describe each of these.  Do the two concepts always coincide?  If not, under what additional assumptions do they coincide.  Provide an argument for why we should expect efficient outcomes.  Economic efficiency has been critiqued on several grounds. Explain some of these criticisms and provide settings where the particular critique appears valid.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Homework on Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets

The Excel workbook for this assignment is now available.  I'm sorry for the delay.  Please use the comments area for this post to ask questions about the homework.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gift Exchange or Corruption

The essay is about using gifts in a business setting and when is it and when is it not an act of opportunism.  At the time it was written, I intended the audience to be learning technologists from around the country, but I think it is written in a sufficiently general way as to be relevant to other types of organizations as well.

A Eulogy for Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

Sulzberger was the publisher of the NY Times.  This piece makes him seem a saint.  I'm sure he wasn't that.  The piece is useful to us because it shows what attributes of senior management are prized by those who work under that management, particularly in news organizations.