In the fall of 2007, when the U.S. economy first seemed in peril, I began answering reader queries here on the Business Desk. I still do so occasionally, but this page has expanded to include posts from eminent economists, "far-flung correspondents," and a variety of voices that have intriguing and/or useful things to say about economics, broadly defined. Please feel encouraged to respond to any and all of them.
Economic analysis of a local, family-run bread bakery is the topic of the latest dispatch from Yoram Bauman, our temporary economist-in-residence in China. Using his improving (but still a bit limited) language skills and a visit to the local Wu-Mart, he estimates the small shop's production, profit and costs. Bauman notes that the bread-making family works nearly every day of the month, which is typical, he says, of most workers in the market by his apartment. He's seen the same workers at the place he buys breakfast everyday - for four months. Mr. and Mrs. Yang, managers of his favorite restaurant, work 12-hour days, seven days a week. They'll get a break when their first child is born this month.
What would you expect a worker at a bakery to make, pulling eight-plus hours a day, seven days a week? Guess, and then watch this analysis.