Economics

Housing is a common topic of discussion in Grand Forks. Many questions surround the topic, too many in fact. As a frequent contributor to the Jarrod Thomas program (1310 AM Grand Forks), I receive a fair share of these questions. For every question I answer, or attempt to answer, it seems like two take its place. All this because, as I maintained throughout these last few years, we are not asking appropriately defined questions.

Continue reading The Housing Hydra

Read more

Seventeen years ago the Red River flooded caused immense damage in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. It seems natural to take a look at the state of the economy. Certainly there were major changes, and it is important to note which changes had more impact or longer durations than others. The time patch of the Grand Forks experience is also important. Lessons for other communities about what went right, and what went wrong could be gleaned from this nearby history.

Continue reading Grand Forks, 17 A.F. (after flood)

Read more

Asymmetric information is a feature of many, if not most, transactions. My bank regulation students are particularly tired of hearing about AI issues. Purchase of any product entails some risk, even of a standardized product. There are situations where asymmetric information can create problems for transactions. The classic used car model of Akerloff, the so-called “lemons” problem is one market where there is such a problem. In the past callers to my radio visits expressed a similar concern with donations to charity.

Continue reading Private Solutions to Asymmetric Information Problems

Read more

The shale oil expansion began in North Dakota, and the expansion of oil output in the U.S. has been nothing short of revolutionary. However, I think it is time to recognize that the fanciful notion of “energy independence” is less and less likely to happen, if it ever really had a chance. We are surely less dependent on foreign oil as the graph shows, but it is not clear that it is going to go to zero anytime soon, if ever.

Continue reading Energy and the Economy in North Dakota

Read more

My bank regulation students received their final paper topic today. This is a big one. Let me preface this by saying that I have high regard for my students. They have excellent analytical and technical abilities and I think, generally speaking, they are able to bring these skills to bear on important problems. So I decided to give them a big one in bank regulation. I asked them to solve the problem of “Too Big to Fail” (TBTF).

Continue reading Assignment: Solve a Problem

Read more