The Economics of Spam and What’s So Funny About Monetary Policy?

BY Paul Solman  January 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM EDT

In the third extract from this year’s American Economic Association (AEA) Humor Session, let’s hear it for Justin Rao of Microsoft Research, who talks about “The Economics of Spam.” Note that the several mentions of “Varian” refer to Hal Varian, emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, now chief economist at Google which is, of course, one of Microsoft’s arch rivals.

From the Humor Session, we also bring you American University economist Kevin Capehart, on “What’s So Funny About Making Monetary Policy?” That’s the title of an actual academic paper, to be published in the journal, Economic Inquiry, in which Capehart sifts through minutes of Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings to answer the question: Who’s funnier, inflation “hawks” — FOMC members who worry mainly about inflation — or “doves,” those who are willing to risk inflation to reduce unemployment?


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This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions