Homelessness in San Francisco

The Partisan Blame Game That Perpetuates Poverty

A sociological explanation for why the Bay's homelessness epidemic is so intractable.
Early food stamps

What the History of Food Stamps Reveals

In the early years of food stamps the goal wasn't necessarily to feed America's poor. The idea was to buttress the price of food after the decline in crop prices had created a crisis in rural America.
Child poverty

Why Equality Matters More Than Income

Looking at children’s wellbeing in rich countries like the U.S. in 2007, scholars found that inequality may matter a lot more for kids’ lives than absolute income level.
Diamond water prices

Why Are Diamonds More Expensive Than Water?

Water is simultaneously one of the few things we absolutely cannot live without, and one of the things we value least. There's an economic rationale behind that.
hospital interior

The Cautionary Tale of India’s Private Hospitals

In 1985, a writer in Economic and Political Weekly saw the beginning of private hospitals in India and warned of the dangers of their mismanagement.
fortune teller's hands

Why Economists Make Terrible Fortunetellers

Even the (presumably rational) economists of the world love to try to predict the future. They often get it wrong, suggesting that all the rational data in the world is rendered useless by the irrationality of human behavior.

Why People Want to Be Fitness Instructors

Being a fitness instructor isn’t a very highly-paid job, but, researchers found that the job provides other rewards for the people who love it.
Monopoly board with dice

The Different Meanings of Monopoly

Monopoly's real inventor was Lizzie Magie, a progressive Georgist, who believed that land should be collectively owned by all.
Monks in cloisters

When People Thought Charitable Donations Would Save Their Souls

As the middle ages progressed, monasteries became a major engine of economic activity in European communities.
60s exchange floor

Are Free Markets Fictional?

Back in the 1940s, when America's post-war economic system was taking shape, many popular economists agreed that “free markets” were a fiction.