Urban transportation and competing technologies

General Motors Aerotrain, a combination of GM's Electro Motive Division (locomotive) and bus division (carbodies) John Rennie Short recently asked, “Why is the U.S. unwilling to pay for good public transportation?” It’s a classic question, and he has four good answers. Americans’ “early and continuing embrace of the private car as a form of urban transport.” Adoption of the automobile led … [Read more...]

Tax inversions and Ronald Coase

Ronald H. Coase Pfizer and Allergan called off their $150 billion merger this morning.  What caused these two companies to call the whole thing off? The headline reason for not going through with the transaction was that the Treasury Department changed the rules on tax inversions.  A tax inversion is a situation where a US-headquartered company, in this case Pfizer, merges with a … [Read more...]

Costs of an influenza epidemic: they’re big!

Source: Flikr Creative Commons Authors of academic papers display great skill in crafting their titles.  Yes, I’m being sarcastic, but when a paper with the title, “The Inclusive Cost of Pandemic Influenza Risk,” crosses my desk and I read what’s in it I gain a new appreciation for understatement and a lack of marketing effort. The paper’s bottom line: “We use published figures to estimate … [Read more...]