Thursday, September 23, 2010

Haskayne prof revolutionizes economy

I was delighted to read today that a professor at the Haskayne School, Dr Piers Steel, has developed a "conceptual framework" to match workers to jobs better. He is proposing a system called "synthetic validity." You will understand why I am so excited about this when you learn, as I did with astonishment, that "This new selection tool would also be incredibly valuable, generating worldwide benefits worth trillions of dollars per year—more than $100 billion to the Canadian economy alone—says Steel." Wow!!! Canada's GDP is around $1500 billion, so Steel's conceptual framework, for which a working system apparently still needs to be built, will boost our GDP by 7% on a perpetual basis!!! Not to mention the global effects!!! This is the single most important finding of the last hundred years, at least. While I haven't had time to read the materials in detail, I am really pleased to know that a simple tool in which the precise demands of each job are fully described, matched up with workers who systematically describe their true traits, can achieve such great efficiencies. This will blow the whole recession thing out of the water, globally! And I like that the name of the system is synthetic validity.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Economics Society of Calgary to host Mayoral Debate

For the first time since 2000, the City of Calgary will elect a new mayor and there are many candidates, both incumbent alderman and newcomers vying for the job. With the end of the Bronconnier era, these candidates will present divergent views on where to take the city moving forward from social, economic and other perspectives.

The Economics Society of Calgary is kicking off its 2010-2011 season with a candidates’ debate on September 24, 2010 that will focus on three key issues:

· Balancing Urban Development
· Diversifying Calgary’s Economy
· Combating Homelessness

The debate will be moderated by Todd Hirsch, Senior Economist for Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB). Event details are as follows:

· Registration opens at 7:00 am
· Candidate Debate: 8:00-9:30 am
· Questions from the Audience: 9:30-10:00 am

The cost of the event is $30.00 for non-members and $25.00 for members, and includes the Chamber's buffet breakfast. Proceeds from this event will be put towards the ESC scholarship programs at the University of Calgary.

Please RSVP by September 20, 2010 by clicking on the following link:

Members: $25 ~ Non-members: $30 ~ Student Members: $25
To register click here.
To purchase/renew your membership click here.

The ESC is now on LinkedIn and on Facebook. Please join us!

About Todd Hirsch
Todd Hirsch received his BA Honors in Economics from the University of Alberta, and an MA in Economics from the University of Calgary.

Since completing his education in 2003, he has held a series of economist positions at a variety of for-profit and public sector organizations, including the Canada West Foundation, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Bank of Canada. He has also served as a two-term President of the Economics Society of Calgary.

Todd joined ATB Financial in May 2007 as Senior Economist where he provides economic information and intelligence to the various lines of business at ATB. He also tracks current developments in Alberta’s and North America's economy and delivers presentations to both internal and external audiences.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Behavioral Economics iPhone App

Duke University Professor Dan Ariely (personal page, TED lecture) runs the Center for Behavioral Economics at Duke. I recently came across one of their iPhone Apps called "At a Boy". The general idea of the app is to give you a compliment when you need one. In that way, it gives you something to smile about or boost your self-esteem. I added this to my phone and indeed it gives you something to smile about: aside from getting a nice (albeit vacuous) compliment, some of the compliments (which users can submit) are hilarious. I just tried it and got the following:

You know, on anyone else that hat would look ridiculous. Somehow, you can pull it off.

Yes, I'm currently wearing a hat.