* ECON103 - Economics in the Information Age [#t3443c86]


** Week1 More Utils, Anyone? [#r744b9ed]

- Question

The textbook introduced the concept of "utils."  What are they? What kind of economic decision-making do they lead to?  

Give a concrete example from your own life of your desire for more utility, your budget constraint, and the price or cost of that utility.  When thinking about this, remember that economic transactions are not limited to buying stuff at stores.  What about the utility versus cost of asking that certain relative for Thanksgiving dinner?  You can be creative with describing your economic decision!  

- Answer

Mayer, D.A. (2010) defines utils are the amount of utility or happiness you get from doing something, and they can be converted into dollars easily.

In my case, I drive to my office everyday, and it normally takes almost two hours from my home to get there. Because I don't want to waste my time for driving as possible, I use a toll expressway so that I can save 45 minutes. I pay 300 yen (3 dollars) for an one-way trip, and I can get a one-dollar discount during the rush hours. The reason I choose to use the road is I think 45 minutes are worth more than 3 dollars. Actually, the minimum wage in Okinawa is 664 yen (6.64 dollars) per hour, which is the lowest in the country. Of course I work for more than 664 yen an hour, 45 minutes at least 498 yen by applying the rate.

Although I have never experienced a Thanksgiving dinner, I guess it takes a good amount of time and money to prepare for it. Nevertheless, it is a significant annual event for the most of American people maybe because it tightens family ties.

- Reply to Arleen

That's exactly true, Arleen.

Actually, I save approximately 375 hours a year by using the toll road. Still, I spend 12.5 hours a week, or 625 hours a year to commute. So I try to learn something new by listening to Podcasts or iTunes U while driving.

Also, since my company allows teleworking up to 32 hours a month, I try to utilize the system when I have outside appointments.

** Week1 Technology and Markets [#y70259f7]

- Question

In Naked Economics, Charles Wheelan gave a number of examples of how technology has affected supply, demand and price in certain markets.  Describe one example that you found especially compelling.  Illustrate and explain that example using an experience from your own observations of the economy. 

- Answer

I agree with the idea that Wheelan, C (2010) says that nowadays grocery stores post one price, but charge another to shoppers.

I often fly to Tokyo with All Nippon Airways. Although I can choose other low-cost carriers, I use the airline to earn frequent-flyer miles. Of course, I have its mileage credit card and can use it as an Edy card, which is a rechargeable prepaid card. Edy card is can be used at many convenience-stores or major supermarkets. I earn miles by my shopping with the card. After earning enough miles, I usually get an extra flight ticket for free, or I use for shopping at ANA online store.

- Comment on Geraldine's Post

I agree. Definitely, Amazon is the most successful online retailer in the world by use of technology.

They analyze your purchasing trends by using association analysis, and suggest products which people who have similar buying histories to you are interested in.

The major reasons they can sell products at cheaper prices than the others I think are direct sales and economies of scale. They do centralized control of inventories at large-scale warehouses. It allows them to improve inventory turnover rate. A symbolic example of Amazon's corporate culture is that they had more than 30 price reductions of AWS, or their cloud computing services, since 2006.

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