Why Economics is Heating Up as the Economy Cools

economy

Why Economics is Heating Up as the Economy Cools

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For decades, the study of economics has gotten a bad rap. Dubbed “the dismal science” for its devotion to numbers above all else, economics requires its disciples to have a strong grasp on complex mathematics and a commitment to rationalism even where rational behavior doesn’t exist. In the past, most American college graduates eschewed the emotionless field of economics for seemingly more passionate studies, like literature or biology.

However, research shows that more and more university students are turning their attention toward the dismal science; the number of graduates holding degrees in economics has risen nearly 40 percent in just five years. Economists themselves are baffled as to why such multitudes of students are turning to this age-old field, but they have offered a few reasons as to swing in attitude.

Pop Economics

Believe it or not, right now, economics is pretty cool. While in the past, economists did little to thin the density of the subject, today’s breed toils day and night to make regular people understand the importance of the science. Their struggles have paid off, and economics is now experiencing a unique period of popularity in culture.

Freakonomics, the book turned documentary turned podcast, is the most obvious example of this. Hosts Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, a duo of an economist and a writer respectively, tackle everyday questions — Why should you get married? Why are some baby names popular? Why doesn’t everyone get vaccinated? — from an economist’s point of view. By reviewing numerical data published by authoritative sources, Levitt and Dubner are able to reveal the economics behind every decision humans make, which makes economics fascinating and relevant to everyone. Freakonomics and other media like it are creating a new brand of the science, called pop economics, which makes the subject more accessible and enjoyable. Read the rest of this entry »



$1.5 Billion Piled on Wall Street Tells Obama and Romney Not to Forget Education

Earlier this summer, 857 desks were placed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They represent the number of students who drop out of school every hour of every school day each year.

Now, a 6-foot-tall stack of $1.5 billion fake hundred dollar bills sits on a sidewalk near the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, representing how much money the economy would gain if the dropout rate of students were reduced by 1 percent.

Both installations are part of an initiative by the College Board to get people talking about education during the presidential campaign. Dubbed “Don’t Forget Ed,” they want to raise awareness on what their website calls a crisis in America.

“It’s my future that they’re messing with. This election is going to make a really big difference to me…If it’s not about education, then it’s not about me,” said Merone, a student featured in one of the campaign’s videos.

Don’t Forget Ed encourages Americans to get involved through social media sites, signing a petition, and talking to others about the issue. In a presidential campaign focused on tough subjects like the economy, health care, and the budget deficit, the College Board doesn’t want education to be left behind in the debate. Read the rest of this entry »



Finding a Job After Graduation Dependent Upon College Major

This is not good news for the college class of 2012. According to an article on USAToday.com, college graduates who have their bachelor’s degrees are having a harder time finding jobs, and many are accepting lower-wage jobs, such as serving jobs in restaurants and receptionists in business offices.

However, it’s not every college graduate who is suffering due to this poor job economy. There are some who are still doing just fine. Students who majored in education, health, and science are finding jobs, but those who studied arts or humanities are having a hard time. This problem could also be because these students have not studied for a career, per se, like those who have majored in science, education, or health are more likely to have done.

“I don’t even know what I’m looking for,” said Michael Bledsoe. Bledsoe graduated in 2010 with a degree in creative writing. Since then, he has been working at a coffee shop as a barista because his college degree did not open up all the doors he thought it would. After two years without any results from his numerous job applications, Bledsoe is considering attending graduate school as his next step in the job-hunting process. “There is not much out there [with his current level of education], it seems.” Read the rest of this entry »



DePaul University Students Occupy President’s Office in Protest Against Tuition Increases

You’ve heard of Occupy Wall Street, but have you heard of Occupy Rev. Holtschneider’s Office? Well, if you are a student at DePaul University, you might have, but if not, you are about to learn all about it.

Last Thursday night, around 20 students occupied the office of their school’s president, Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, in order to show their displeasure about the proposed tuition increase the school is facing. For the 2012-2013 school year, DePaul University has proposed increasing tuition by 2.2 percent for the entire student body, and incoming freshmen will be charged 5 percent more than this year’s freshmen.

The students who are against this proposed tuition increase staged their occupy movement in order to ask the school to postpone voting on this issue until after a public forum could be held on the subject.

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Number of Students Who Qualify for Subsidized Meal Programs Is Rising

lunch tray with cafeteria foodsRecently, there has been a surge in the number of American schoolchildren who have made a national list. Sadly, it’s not an academic accomplishment nor an athletic accomplishment. Instead, these 21 million schoolchildren have all qualified for free or low-cost school meals. A few years ago, many of these children came from families who were considered to be middle class, but now, due to the national economic crisis, they are on longer in this socio-economic range after their parents lost their jobs or homes.

Since the 2006-2007 school year, there has been a 17 percent increase in the number of students who qualify for free or low-cost meals. Eleven states, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, and Tennessee, have seen increases of 25 percent or more in the past four-years.

“These are very large increases and a direct reflection of the hardships American families are facing,” said Benjamin Senauer, an economists at the University of Minnesota. He also said that this new surge has come about so quickly “that people like myself who do research are struggling to keep up with it.”

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University of Michigan Supports New Business Ventures Created by Their Researchers

University of Michigan LogoMany universities are very proud of their researchers, but not many are willing to back them up like the University of Michigan is currently doing. The school’s president, Mary Sue Coleman, announced on Wednesday that the school was starting an initiative that would help fund start-up companies that were developed through university research.

In the past, many higher education leaders have seen these types of investments as a good way to guarantee a company’s success, but they have only endorsed companies on a limited basis. Now, Michigan is starting to shake up this traditional view.

“Simply put, University of Michigan start-ups are a good financial opportunity,” Coleman said. “And the historical data have convinced us now to invest a small portion of the endowment in start-ups from all three campuses.”

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More College Graduates are Filing Bankruptcy Now than Ever Before

Students go to college to learn more about the world around them, learn a trade or profession, and the end goal is to get a job that will allow them to pay the bills.

Unfortunately, with the job market in such a dismal state, this is not the reality that is awaiting many recent college graduates. Instead, they are graduating with more debt than ever before and, without a job to help them pay off their debts, many students are now seeking protection from their outstanding debts by declaring bankruptcy.

According to a survey released by the Institute for Financial Literacy, the percent of college graduates who have earned a bachelor’s degree and owe some sort of debt has increased from 11.2 percent in 2006 to 13.6 percent last year. Interestingly enough, the percentage of those who have not finished college or who only have a high school diploma and are in debt has decreased.

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YourEmployment.com is the Ultimate Job Search Website for Recent College Graduates

As a recent college graduate, I can tell you that the whole finding-a-job process is difficult, exhausting, and discouraging. You can cruise websites like Monster.com, read your local classified ads, and network to your heart’s content, but you still might not find the right job, even though you have spent hours searching. Luckily, a new website takes a lot of the legwork out of this process for you. Let me introduce you to YourEmployment.com.

YourEmployment.com is a free website that lists more than 500,000 jobs from more than 20,000 websites and job boards. YourEmployment.com has full time, part time, internships, and temporary positions available while also offering resources that you might need in order to make yourself a better candidate for jobs, such as information about pursuing a higher education.

Employers also use this website to list jobs that they currently have available. Employers either list directly on YourEmployment.com or the website searches it’s network of websites to find listings that are applicable and relevant for job-searchers.

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How Americans Paid for College in 2010

College is getting more and more expensive every year. Considering the current economy, how are Americans continuing to pay for a product that is constantly increasing in price?

The authors of How America Pays for College 2010 tired of asking this same question over and over again, so they decided to conduct a survey to find out. They interviewed 801 students and 823 parents from across the nation and asked them various questions about how they finance a college education.

A vast majority, about 73 percent, said that they had to reduce their spending habits in other areas to pay for a college education. This shows a 17 percent increase from the 2008-2009 school year to the 2009-2010 year. Luckily though, 82 percent said that they strongly believe that a college education is an investment in the future and worth the sacrifice.

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University of Texas Invests in Gold

Forget stocks or hedge funds. The University of Texas is investing its endowment in gold.

texas longhornsThe university, which has the fifth-largest endowment in the U.S., invested 3 percent, or $500 million, in the commodity. It is unusual for a university to invest in gold, and its value only increases during periods of inflation. Fears of an unsteady international financial market mixed with the probability of inflation have led them to purchase the precious metal.

“Recently, we’ve added 3 percent, 3 percent of our portfolio, into gold as a protection against inflation, but even more as a lack of confidence in financial markets due to extraordinary government fiscal and monetary stimulus,” Bruce Zimmerman, UTIMCO CEO, told the University of Texas board of regents last Wednesday. “I wish I could tell you the future looked rosy. Unfortunately, that’s not our view. At best, we believe the future is uncertain.” Read the rest of this entry »





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