Expanding the Market Through Fear

There’s a good article in Vanity Fair about the scandal at Valeant, the pharmaceuticals maker. NPR has also covered this for those not interested in reading. http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/06/the-valeant-meltdown-and-wall-streets-major-drug-problem The part that has everyone up in arms has to do with their pricing strategy. The examples given are Syprine and Cuprimine, for treating Wilson’s disease: [F]or years, Merck, the big pharmaceutical giant, owned these drugs and sold them for a dollar a pill. And then Merck sold these two drugs to another firm, who then in turn sold them to Valeant, and Valeant began to hike the price of the drugs. Today

Political Risk and Export Finance

Here’s a great article on export credit. Following the fight over the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which I discussed here in 2014, here in 2015, here again in 2015, and in The Conversation last year, the bank was reauthorized by Congress after a brief shutdown period. Elaine Pofeldt has a good article in Global Trade where she discussed Ex-Im, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and other export finance options. Predictably, I make an appearance discussing political risk. You can get the full article on Global Trade‘s website: Sharelines When credit insurance broker Joel Berman reached out to the

JSM 2016

I received word back from the 2016 Joint Statistical Meetings. As noted back in February, I proposed to JSM a presentation on retrospective social discount rates. This came from my dissertation and you can read more about it there. Yesterday, I got word that my proposal had been accepted for a SPEED presentation. At the speed presentation, I will be talking for 5 minutes. Then I will have an e-poster session later in the day. In addition, I will be chairing a session on behalf of the Section on Statistics and the Environment. The topics for that presentation are: Is

How we externalize other life risks

In my estimate of the costs of gun violence, someone suggests that amortizing the costs across ammunition is not an appropriate solution, giving this example: I doubt just take $9.1 million X the 30ish thousands automobile deaths each year and follow it up with a break down for a large tax on… break pads, tires, gas? That’s a great example, and one really worth unpacking. I replied with the less obvious piece, noting that with respect to automobiles, the are large both intrinsic and extrinsic benefits associated with automobiles. But there are large external costs, as well, and that’s why

Gun Violence is Expensive, So Internalize the Costs

Over the weekend, I estimated the economic costs of (only) the deaths attributed to gun related violence in the United States up to Friday. Now we should figure out what to do with that information. In economics, we call these large costs, borne by third parties, externalities. Externalities are those costs and benefits that are involuntarily forced on others who had nothing to do with some original transaction. Externalities, for instance, are common in environmental economics. As you purchase (then burn) fuel, the byproducts released into the atmosphere are an externality imposed on everyone. Because nobody associated with the transaction