Archive for the Economics for Life Category

eCampus Ontario Showcase 2017

Yesterday was the eCampus Ontario Showcase, with a chance to show the eCampus-Ontario-funded online ECO 105Y Intro to Economics, based on Economics for Life. Here is the handout summarizing what we are doing in the course, including the scalable writing assignments (developed with Dr Andrea Williams of the […]

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How Elasticity Helps AirBnB Owners Make More Money

The Toronto Star reported on a startup called Beyond Pricing that is helping AirBnB owners increase revenues from their short-term rentals by figuring out the highest price they can charge. The company using a dynamic pricing algorithm like those used by airlines and hotels that raises prices […]

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Bell Pays $1.25 million Penalty for Fake Online Reviews


The Globe & Mail reported in October that “BCE Inc. has agreed to pay a $1.25-million penalty after the company’s staffers wrote online reviews of Bell products and services without disclosing their ties to Bell. It is the first penalty of its kind imposed by the Competition […]

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The Demise of Black’s Photography


After 85 years, Black’s Photography, one of the largest Canadian retail photography chains, went out of business in August 2015. As the Globe & Mail reported, Black’s was a “victim of a fast-changing digital industry and high-quality smartphone cameras and Instagram posts.” This is a classic example […]

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Who Would Buy a Bond with a Negative Yield ?

The recent discussion by Stephen Poloz of charging negative interest rates to chartered banks on their deposits at the Bank of Canada was preceded earlier in the year by stories about negative interest rates on bonds in Europe. If February 2015, a Globe & Mail story reported […]

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Plunging Oil Prices as a Positive Supply Shock ?

A year ago, oil prices had plunged from $110/barrel to around $70/barrel. There was much concern then, as there is today with oil prices under $40/barrel, about the effects on the Canadian economy. The Globe & Mail ran a story “Oil’s Plunge to Buoy Global Economy: A […]

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CPI Video from StatCan


Statistics Canada has a 3 minute video showing how data for the CPI basket are collected, weighted and compiled to create the CPI. This is a useful visual introduction to Macroeconomics for Life, Chapter 7.3.

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GDP Video from StatCan


Statistics Canada released a nice 4 minute animated video showing how GDP is calculated using the value-added approach. It begins with the definition of GDP as “The value of output less intermediate consumption plus any taxes less subsidies on products not already included in the value of […]

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Op-Ed Writing Assignment in a Literacy-Targeted Economics Course

I use Op-Ed Writing Assignments in all of my literacy-targeted courses.  Every student must choose an article, editorial or opinion piece in a recent online publication that addresses an economic issue that interests them. The economic issue can be Canadian or international. In response, the student writes a […]

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What Determines the Value of the Loonie ?


The Globe & Mail reported that the value of the Canadian dollar fell on foreign exchange markets, after the Bank of Canada forecasted slower GDP growth and lower oil prices. This is a classic reaction of the Canadian dollar to changes in two of the main forces […]

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Uber Teaching Moments Galore!


After meeting an Uber developer at a University of Waterloo hackathon, a student posted this paper – “The Effects of Uber’s Surge Pricing – A Case Study” – by Jonathan Hall (Head of Economic Research, Legal and Public Policy at Uber Technologies), Cory Kendrick (Data Scientist at Uber Technologies) […]

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The Five Minute University


As economists and teachers, what do we want our lasting “economic footprint” to be? There is a wonderful old Saturday Night Live skit by Father Guido Sarducci called “The Five Minute University.” His premise is to teach in five minutes what an average college or university graduate remembers five years after […]

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