Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Final Post

I was a little anxious when I first took course, because this is my first 400 level economics class. After had taken some classes, I still found some of the topics rather challenging to me, but very interesting. Risk and risk preference is one of the lesson I’ve never learnt in other classes. I think risk is a very important concept in economics, and I’m glad that I learnt some about it in this class.

Single loop and double loop learning is also fascinating to me, these models well domestrate how conflicts occurs within a team unintentionally. Through this I’ve also learnt about which model is better for learning, and what kind of manager should I look for when I look for a job after graduation.

Another concept I’ve learnt is transfer pricing. I’ve learnt about how demand and supply will affect market price, and transfer pricing, which is about pricing of goods and service transferring between the divisions of an enterprise, is a new field of pricing for me.

I think the blog posts are playing an important role of connecting daily life to economics concept we learn in this course, for example, we’ve wrote about conflicts, income risk, etc. All of these topics are very practical, and have led me bring theories and concepts about organization to everyday life. This process helps me to understand the course contents better.

The blogging usually take me about an hour, and the excel homework could take me up to a couple of hours when it’s challenging. I usually would read the relevant textbook chapters, and if there is a relevant video I would watch it. I would also do some additional research on topics when needed.

I think I would appreciate some more tutorial video on excel homework. The excel homework can be challenging for me some times, and I personally think the watching tutorial video is a great process of  improving self- learning skills while helps me to understand the home content better.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I started working in a psychology lab since this semester, and have developed a reputation of a hard-working and helpful RA in the lab. At first, I was the only new RA this semester, so I was little nervous when I stated. Despite I had relevant experience, I was still not familiar with many lab tasks. In order to be involved in the lab, I tried to be quick learner.

One of the examples was to use a survey tool called Qualtrics. I’ve never used it before, but quickly picked it up after watching some tutorials myself even before my supervisor trained on it, and my supervisor was very pleased that I was willing to learn new things on my own. Things like this helped me developed reputation of hrd-working in the lab.

Recruitment was our major tasks during the first half of the semester. We needed to recruit 150 participants to fill out a 30 minutes long survey for a research, and unfortunately we had only $100 of funding for recruitment. We set a $100 drawing for all participants, which is not attractive enough. As a new RA, I contacted a student club that was organizing a fieldtrip to Six Flags, there were two buses, 90 students going to the trip. So I bought many snacks – homemade cookies, donuts for those students and asked them to fill out the survey on the way to Six Flags. I recruited about 30 participant that time, and my supervisor was very impressed.

Another thing developed my reputation was that I’m willing to help others. Once another RA was sick but had an urgent lab task, so I volunteered to take up his task. As return, he took up some of my lab tasks when he recovered.

I’ve never “cash in” my reputation. I believe that individual’s reputation develops slowly, and the development of good reputation takes a lot effort. People can gain priceless things while developing good reputations, such as trust and friendships, and these are what immediate gains cannot be compared with.

In my case, it is also very unwise for me to cash in, because I want to continuously work it this lab, and gain research experience.  “Cash in” can also be immoral in some case too, so I will avoid “cash in” in either career or relationships.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Triangel principal agent

Last summer, I worked in a summer camp in China. It was a camp for elementary students. Most summer camps in China are different from ones here, they are usually operated by some certificated education institutions other than schools, the camps usually play a role that is similar to summer schools, where students can take classes. The content of classes can be either be an advance of school courses, or reviewing of school courses.

I taught English and Math to elementary students. The class size was 8 to 12 students, which was small, and not hard to control. It was an enjoyable experience, because I always like to work with children. Despite I liked my job, I’d encountered some problems. I would have to admit that some of the problems are caused by my lack of experience as a teacher, for example, did not know how to deal with children when they were getting moody, and some of the problems were caused by the triangle arrangement.

Despite I worked as a teacher, I’ve been so used to consider things from a student’s perspectives, especially when I was working with elementary children, I did not want to push them too hard on studying during their summer break. Besides, they would have the class very day for one hour and a half (with a ten minutes break in between) for a month, it would be hard for them to stay for one hour and a half. So I went a little slow while teaching my students, and added some educational games, and video-watching in my teaching. One of the games was role plays in English classes, students could write their small English plays using words we earnt, and act them out. My goal was too let them have fun while learning.

My students, and most parents liked my classes, but there were some parent complained that the children did not learn as much stuff as expected in the camp. My boss understood my concepts, but she also thought that I should make the course more efficient, so parents would believe that paying for the camp was worthy. She and I talked to the parent who was complaining, and solution we had after the talk was to cut down the time for games and video watching. There will be one game/video watching every two classes instead of in every class, and I also promised the parent to finish the teach content I supposed to teach every single class.

In this case, I made my lesson plan majorly based on students’ needs, which was not completely consistent parents’ expectation for the camp. We solved the problem by negotiation, and each of us gave in a little bit to make things work. I would believe that was the best solution I could think of, and in contrast, if I tried to satisfying the students while ignoring parents, parents would be less likely to choose our camp.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


As a college student, I mostly try to avoid conflict by negotiation nicely, but go back to when I was a teenager in high school, I can recall that I had a major conflict with the supervisor of the dorm in my boarding school.

I was a freshman in high school, and it was my first time going to boarding school, so as everyone, I had many complaints about the dorm restrictions and rules. One of the rules was, we were not allowed to bring in blow dryers to our dorm. The reason for that was, the blow dryer blows high temperature winds, and may cause potential dangers such as a fire. I would have to agree that this theory makes sense, but the chance of this accident happening was very small. It was okay in the summer because it was hot and hair gets try fast, but as it was getting cooler, it was almost a disaster for girls with long hair to not use the blow dryer after hair-washing. However, our dorm supervisor was obdurate, she explained that last year there was a girl who left her blow dryer on unattended on her bed, and the sheet was burnt.
As we had no hope to overturn the rule, we started to break it.I sneaked in my blow dryer and used it, but the blow dryer was really loud when using, so I got caught a few times. The first time, our dorm supervisor warned me, the second time she was extremely mad, and believed I was being very disrespectful to her. I explained that it was simply for my own convenience, and we ended up breaking into an major argument, she tried to grab the blow dryer from me, but I did not let her.

After several similar arguments between students, parents, and the dorm supervisor, the rule was modified eventually. The dorm supervisor said she would keep our blow dryers in her office, we might ask for it when needed, and return it after using. This solution was inefficient as the dorm super visor was in charge of around 40 students, but it was safe.

I do understand now that the dorm advisor was in charge of our safety, and wanted to avoid every risky factors, but I think this issue could be avoid if the rules was reasonable at the very beginning.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Team production and gift exchange

Two developmental psychologist, Michael Tomasello and Katharina Hamann from Leipzig, Germany created a scenario in which three years old children can get rewards—marbles by pulling ropes on a machine, and they may be better off by engaging in gift exchanging and team work. There are three conditions of the study, the first one is that when two children pull their ropes together, one of the children gets 3 marbles, and the other gets 1. In this case, about 75% of time children would equalize their marbles. In the second condition, two children receive diffrent number of marbles, and one have three times more marbles than the other. In this case, few “rich” children would give their marbles to “poor” children. In the third condition, children still need to pull ropes to get marbles, one get three for every pulling, and the other only one. This time two children do not have to pull the rope together to get marbles, but they can just pull their own ropes for marbles, and 30% of children would equalize their marbles in this case. The author used this example to demonstrate that in economics people should focus more on procedural fairness instead of distributive fairness.

A relevant example I think of is me and my roommate.  I’m a better cook, so I’m the one who usually cook in my apartment, and my roommate usually do the dishes. In this case, my roommate does the dishes to exchange for a better-cooked meal, and I could save the time of doing dishes by cooking for both of us. But if we both bring carry-out home, we are less likely to share food, or do dishes for each other, which is similar to the second condition I mentioned in the above paragraph, two children already have marbles in front of them.

Another example would be going to camping. I went to camping last week, and I think it was a great example pf team production with gift exchange. There were 14 of us, 9 guys and 5 girls. Guys set up tents for all of us, which require more physical works, and our girls prepared food. The team production and gift exchange here made all of us better off – we did work that we were better at, and share the food and tent together as a team.

The two example I mentioned above are both engaged in fair gift exchange – people all did similar amount of work, and share gains from the work equally. But team production and gift exchange is not always this fair in reality. For example, in a group project, if one person did most of work for the entire group, it is unfair for the entire group to have the same grade. However, it is hard to measure every single member’s contribution to the team in many situations, and the spread of responsibility can make people in a team less motivated, so teamwork is not always more efficient than individual work.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Manage income risk

I’m a senior majoring in Econ and Psychology, and I will be graduating in summer of 2016. As my graduation is coming close, the first thing I can think about is to start looking for an ideal job as early as possible. Starting job searching early would be helpful for me to manage future income risk, because I would technically have a bigger chance to find a job with the income level I pursue.
Another thing I’ve done to manage income risk is doing a double major. The job market is very competitive comparing to it was in my parents’ generation, the rate of people having a bachelor degree and above is increasing, so I decide to add a second major. I’m expecting that having bachelor degrees of two majors will make me more competitive. Besides, I will have a wider range of jobs to choose from comparing to having only degree of one major, which could help me manage income risk in the future.
As I have a great interest for both Econ and Psychology, especially child psychology, I've interned in different institutions, includes bank, and real estate company, where I can apply economics knowledge at school, and children’s camps, where I will be able to have experience of working with children. I plan to look for jobs in both fields after graduation, if I get offers from jobs of both fields, income will be an important criteria for me to consider which job to take.
It is lucky for me that I haven’t accumulated any debt, so I will have less pressure while I graduate. Many of my friends have gone through job markets, and some of them have started their own business. I think people who’ve gone through job markets are now living a more stable life comparing to those who try to start their own business, and it is partly because there is a smaller income risk for people who work as employers of stable companies. I’ve heard a few people who did not found a satisfying job, and went to graduate school instead. I think it could be a way to manage income risk, as having a higher degree makes the person more competitive in job market.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Post 5 Illinibucks

I think the idea of Illinibucks is interesting, students on campus will be able to value their needs, and pay a certain amount of Illinibucks forn early access of each goods. The candidates can be making an appointment with an academic advisor, getting early access to pick university housig, or using career center for mock interviews.
 Early registration for class can be one of the candidates for Illinibucks, too, and it will be probably be what I will spend a large amount of Illinibucks on. But I believe that pay for priority to register for class would be highly demanded by students, as a result, the cost of it will be incredibly high. I may also pay to get an early adviser's appointment because sometimes advisers may have a very full schedule.
However, the idea of applying Illinibucks on campus may rise many issues, the first one I think of is we will not be able to afford emergencies. For example, if I have an urgent need to use the career center for preparing an interview, I can use Illinibucks to get ahead of line only at a cost of sacrificing other needs, such as registering for class later than I expected, and classes I planned to take may be already full. Another issue is people may find a way to trade Illinibucks, such as use money or other goods for trade. This would cause many unfairness on campus, students from rich family can easily take advantage in this case, and students from average or poor family may face many difficulties in collge.
An additional concern that could be brought by applying Illinibucks is pricing for getting early access for each service. it would be complicated to set a reasonable price for every service, and the price will affect quantity demanded. Both too high and too low price could lead to the failure of the entire system. For example, low price can lead to exceed demand of prior access of certain service, when everyone pays to get ahead, the system could lose meaning; and high pricing will make the college system inefficient because students may be blocked from what they really need, such as accomplish a class for graduation. I talked about unfair trade of Illinibucks in the paragraph above, and I think high price could also be a cause of unfair trade. 

To sum up, I don’t think the idea of Illinibucks is viable based on the current situation, the current first come first serve and priority system generally is generally fairer, and is more efficient than Illinibucks.