I love to travel! No matter where I’m going or how long I’ll be gone, I always try to pack everything into a carry-on. I don’t like waiting at the baggage claim, but I especially dislike squeezing in between a hundred other passengers, leaning way over or standing on my tiptoes to catch a glimpse of my bag, and struggling to hoist it from the conveyor in the second or two I have after it’s passed the guy immediately to my left yet before it moves into the space of the lady leaning in on my right. Have you ever wondered why people ignore conventional manners and social distance norms to crowd around the baggage claim? Did you know economics can help explain this puzzle?
When I took my first economics course, I had no idea it would turn out to be my favorite class of that semester. Instead of starting with technical terms and formulas, my professor introduced us to economics by having us work out puzzles like the one above. By the time he got to the more formal material, I was hooked. Seeing the world through the eyes of an economist was like wearing a pair of those incredible recon glasses from Mission Impossible. I saw things in a way I had never seen them before. By the end of that class, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be an economist. I completed my MBA at Middlebury's Institute of International Studies and moved to Virginia to complete my PhD in economics at George Mason University where I was the Oloffson Weaver Fellow in Political Economy.
Now, at the University of Texas at Austin, I get to ask my own puzzlers! Why do the majority of dictatorships have democratic institutions like legislatures and elections? Why do some nonprofit organizations refuse government funding? Even better, I have students of my own to introduce to the discoveries our incredibly awesome (and not in the slightest bit cheesy) econ glasses will reveal!
When I’m not talking, reading, or writing about my favorite subject, I’m traveling, exploring the outdoors, admiring an art exhibit, or drinking coffee with a friend. Explore the photos below to find out more!