Missouri tight end Martin Rucker was selected first team All American by the American Football Coaches Association. Maybe this takes the sting out of the joke that was his selections as second-team all Big XII by the conference's coaches.
Joe Posnanski argues for Chase Daniel for Heisman here. This is a great quote that sums up the popularity contest that is the Heisman:
The larger point is this: If the situations were reversed — if it was
Tebow with the excellent stats and leadership for No. 1 Florida and
Daniel with the eye-catching touchdown numbers on a three-loss Missouri
team — you know the Heisman criteria would suddenly be
different. You know all the talk would be about Tebow’s intangibles,
his ability to run the offense, his value. Nobody would even be talking
Joe has nothing bad to say about Tebow. He's a great player and seems to be a great kid. But his issue is with the voters.
Mizzou quarterback is on the current cover of Sports Illustrated. I don't know if this is a good thing or not: One thing's for sure, I can tell you that, jinx or no jinx, at least one Minnesotan will be in the market for one of these things. Damn the jinx! Full speed ahead!
Oh, if only these Trappist monks would be motivated by profits. Then they could alleviate the suffering of beer connoisseurs around the world. But, no, they have to spend their lives in contemplation, while beer lovers around the world go without what some call the best beer in the world.
Monks have been brewing Westvleteren beer at this
remote spot near the French border since 1839. Their brew, offered in
strengths up to 10.2% alcohol by volume, is among the most highly
prized in the world. In bars from Brussels to Boston, and online, it
sells for more than $15 for an 11-ounce bottle -- 10 times what the
monks ask -- if you can get it.
For the 26 monks at St. Sixtus, however, success has
brought a spiritual hangover as they fight to keep an insatiable market
in tune with their life of contemplation.
The monks are doing their best to resist getting
bigger. They don't advertise and don't put labels on their bottles.
They haven't increased production since 1946. They sell only from their
front gate. You have to make an appointment and there's a limit: two,
24-bottle cases a month. Because scarcity has created a high-priced
gray market online, the monks search the net for resellers and try to
get them to stop.
"We sell beer to live, and not vice versa," says
Brother Joris, the white-robed brewery director. Beer lovers, however,
seem to live for Westvleteren.
When Jill Nachtman, an American living in Zurich,
wanted a taste recently, she called the hot line everybody calls the
beer phone. After an hour of busy signals, she finally got through and
booked a time. She drove 16 hours to pick up her beer. "If you factor
in gas, hotel -- and the beer -- I spent $20 a bottle," she says.
Was her opportunity cost of time 0? What would she otherwise have been doing? Talk about the brother keeping the man down!
In Econ 202 (Principles of Micro), we've discussed what is wrong with price ceilings at various times this semester. Some folks, on ethical grounds, support government's cutting of prices so that those who can't afford the good at market-clearing prices can have a shot at buying the good. But by forcing the price down, government does little more than ensuring "the poor" will have less access to price-controlled goods, and Zimbabwe is a sad, sad example (HT to John Chilton at the Emirates Economist):
"There are too many data gaps," the Central Statistical Office's Moffat Nyoni told state media.
Many staple goods are often absent from shop shelves
after the government ordered prices to be halved or frozen in a bid to
stem galloping inflation.
Why is there less on the market? Simple: firms can't cover the marginal cost of production by selling in Zimbabwe:
Maize meal, bread, meat, cooking oil, sugar and other
basic goods used to measure inflation largely disappeared from shops
after Robert Mugabe's government ordered prices to be slashed.
Manufacturers have said they cannot afford to sell goods at below the cost of producing them.
Before the Border War on Saturday night at Arrowhead, there was the Price War in the parking lot.
“Tickets! I got tickets!” a man named Bill yelled as cars crept by him on the way to the MU-KU game. “Two tickets, $600!”
week before a new Missouri law will kick in legalizing ticket scalping
at sporting events, scalpers like Bill, who declined to give his last
name, combed their way through the crowd. Tickets with a face value of
$30 to $55 sold from $100 to as much as $400.
“This is a day to make money,” he said.
Underpriced tickets create opportunities for scalpers. As I've written before, event tickets are priced with an eye towards expected demand and are oftentimes set months in advance. No one can throw anyone under the bus for underpricing this particular event. Who'd have thought, coming into this game, that MU and KU would have been ranked 4th and 2nd respectively in the BCS ratings with one loss between them and with both schools sporting national championship hopes? Not I, said the fly. The Missouri Tigers, with all their returning talent, had not had many Novembers to remember recently. The Kansas Jayhawks were coming off a 0.500 season in which they were not invited to a bowl.
The beauty of legalized scalping is that it allows tickets to go to the people who value them the most and it allows more information to be used in the setting of ticket prices. But the first article notes that scalping today has some new problems.
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon recently cracked down on ticket
brokers, suing three of them for scalping tickets to an upcoming Hannah
Montana concert at the Sprint Center. Nixon later asked for a temporary
restraining order against an Illinois broker who was selling tickets to
the recent Missouri-Kansas football game at prices well above face
“Unfortunately, the elimination of this
consumer-protection tool has come at a time when the ability to take
unfair advantage of consumers has grown significantly through the
Internet,” said Nixon spokesman Scott Holste.
If he's talking about the ability of scalpers to snap up loads of tickets when they first go online, what amounts to butting into a virtual line, that's not the fault of scalping per-se. You can argue that legalizing scalping increases the benefits from butting-in, but it's not scalping that is the root cause of this problem. It's the butting-in.
If you are cooking a turkey and you realize you might burn your hand, you don't throw away the food to keep from getting burned. You take other precautions to keep from getting burned. Why ban an activity where people engage in voluntary trade when the problem lies elsewhere?
Why not ban computers? Technology has lowered the cost of butting in, so if you make an argument that scalping should be banned because of the butting in, you can make a similar argument about banning computers.
Of course banning computers is not the optimal solution, but neither is banning the secondary resale of tickets above face value.
A scalper’s dream played out all night: Fans walking through the
crowd, whispering — and sometimes shouting — “I need tickets” until one
of them moseyed up. Sometimes, the deal was made. Oftentimes, it wasn’t.
People seemed to be waiting for top dollar. And police officers seemed not to notice, or care.
don’t care about that,” said one police officer, who declined to give
his name. “Not at all. We’re here to keep the peace, make sure there
are no fights. Not worry about tickets.”
Ash Wegener gets it. A
parking-lot brawl beats out ticket scalping on a cop’s priority list,
especially when you mix in so many people who don’t like one another,
have been drinking all day and are getting ready for the most important
game in their team’s history.
That's a story from the parking lot outside Arrowhead Stadium from this past weekend's Missouri-Kansas football game (an article referenced in this earlier post from today on price discrimination).
Good morning, class. Today we will talk about price discrimination. Time for a PowerNap. Third-degree price discrimination is charging different prices to different groups of consumers with different elasticities of demand. Student and senior citizen discounts fall under this category. There are three determinants of the elasticity of demand:
The availability of close substitutes
The proportion of income spent on the good
The time consumers have to adjust.
The more close substitutes available for a product, the more sensitive consumers are to price and the less able sellers are to price discriminate. The more time consumers have to adjust, the more sensitive they are to price changes and the less able sellers are to price discriminate. The greater the proportion of income spent on a good, the more sensitive consumers are to price changes which makes sellers less able to price discriminate. Since seniors and students, generally speaking, have lower incomes, they tend to be more price sensitive. Thus the discounts.
In a recent article from the Kansas City Star, there is a wonderful example from the world of scalping (from this weekend's MU-KU scrape in Kansas City) where a scalper uses signals to determine whether a consumer has a high elasticity of demand or not. It would seem that #2 in our list is in play.
Three hours before game time, he’d already sold 10 tickets for $150
to $250 each. Now he had two prime seats in his hand. For these, he
wanted top dollar.
“How much?” a man asked from inside his black SUV.
“Can’t do it.”
The SUV moved on, but a moment later another car rolled to a stop.
“They’re $650 for two,” Bill said, upping the price as a young woman and her husband shook their head and then drove away.
all about the pitch,” Bill said. “Look at the car. Look at the ring on
the girl’s finger. Then adjust from there. Don’t worry. I’ll sell them.
How cool is that? The scalper took a quick look at his potential customers and made a reasoned guess about their willingness to pay. And notice that the potential consumer moved on.
A student recently asked me about how prices get set in real markets.
In our economic models, the prices move seamlessly to equilibrium.
Demand goes up, prices adjust up. Supply goes up, prices adjust down. Automatically. Flawlessly.
But we know that's not how things go in the real world. There's a lot
of trial. There is a lot of error. But we the people are pretty smart, despite our psychological imperfections. Economic models do a
pretty good job at explaining much of what goes on in markets even if
the people in markets aren't the perfectly-informed always-rational specimens we often
assume they are.