Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Game Over! Video Game Company Lets You Play One Time

Capcom's new video game "Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D" will only allow one saved game and the game cannot be reset. I haven't played many video games since the days of Mario 3 so apologies if I get things wrong. In short this is a problem, because it hurts the resale value of the game. Some larger outlets of rented and second hand games are not making Resident evil available. Articles like this one in Wire complain that not being able to trade, rent, or lend the game decrease the value to the original buyer.

The author in Wire won't buy the game, but as he also points out the game even with the potential resell might not be worth the $40 price tag. If Capcom lowered the price sufficiently to compensate for the loss of the value of holding the right to the game, my guess is people would buy it. It would seem that would be the case. If you rent a game or buy a pay preview movie you do not own the right to resell it.

My colleague at Towson claims students would rather have a tradition book they can resell, than an e-book they can't, since Mom & Dad usually pay for books, but the students keep the cash from selling their book.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

President of Argentina Discounted TVs for All

Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina, has just announced a new program that will provide subsidized TVs for Argentinians (via Kids Prefer Cheese). It may shock you that this was announced as she is beginning her reelection campaign.

One good benefit is that TVs tend to reduce population growth, too bad retirees will be the first to receive the TV. Of course Kirchner is probably thinking more the handouts will help her get votes. This has worked in several Latin American Countries as popular Conditional Cash Transfer programs that pay money to mothers to send their kids to school and go in for health check ups have helped incumbents grow their support in Brazil and Mexico.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Immigrants doing jobs that wouldn't get done?

I just got back from teaching a 3 week class in Spain. As part of the class we had a guest lecture on immigration to Spain. The change in immigration in Spain is incredible. 20 years ago less than 1% of Spain was foreign born now that figure is close to 15% (similar to the US). Like the US many immigrants came to work in Spain in construction, agriculture, and domestic services.

In Spain there seems to be much less blame on immigrants for negative impacts on the economy. According to our speaker the Spanish were more likely to believe immigrants were doing jobs that Spaniards wouldn't do, well that and a good social safety net.

In general I had thought, the doing jobs natives weren't willing to do isn't quite the right way to put it. That immigrants were working at wages that Spaniards (Americas) would not want to work at. However, it may also be that immigrants are doing jobs that have such low returns that no Spaniard would work for amount of income the job creates. In short imagine picking cotton creates $4 an hour worth of income, if no American/Spaniard is willing to work for $4 an hour than no one will pick cotton. Adam Ozimek demonstrates this nicely in a post with a discussion of farmers in Georgia leaving crops to rot since they can't get immigrant labor.

Of course the second part is that cotton prices will rise and so will wages, but if there are substitutes from other countries or machines can be used the potential wage may never exceed the minimum wage native workers will accept.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Hagerstown not Harperstown

Bryce Harper last year's number 1 draft pick in major league baseball is playing well for his minor league team the Hagerstown Suns. However, Hagerstown hasn't filled the Suns park every night to see the future star. Comparing attendance up until this point to previous attendance through June for the last five years shows the team's attendance has jumped maybe 200-300 fans a game, when overall attendance is around a couple thousand. The total impact on attendance may also be reduced if fewer fans go to Suns games this season once Harper is promoted and leaves Hagerstown.

This result is consistent with a paper (Top Prospects and Minor League Attendance) my Towson colleague Tom Rhoads and I published in this month's Journal of Sports Economics, where we find over the last 15 years even the top prospects only increase attendance by a small amount for minor league teams.

See more thoughts on the subject Camden Depot and some other baseball studies.

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