Commentary, Health Economics

COMMENTARY: That Time a South American Country Fought Big Tobacco—and Won

VinhHuy Le, Stanford University -- In 2010, the world’s largest tobacco conglomerate descended on an international courtroom ready to fight. Philip Morris International, the company behind cigarette brands like Malboro and Chesterfield, sued the South American country of Uruguay for $25 million. But why pick on a country whose entire GDP at the time was half the size of Philip Morris’ net worth?

Commentary, Macroeconomics

COMMENTARY: The Pandemic Economy and the Power of Labor

Devan Bhumralkar, Stanford University -- Inflation has become an unfortunate fact of life in the post-pandemic era. But with Americans dipping deeper into their savings for holiday shopping and keeping their houses a little cooler this winter season to save on energy costs, many are wondering when—and how—it ends. The Federal Reserve has been on a rate-raising mission to combat inflation since early 2022, but while everyone is concerned about consumer prices, what this means for the job market remains to be seen. By the time the dust settles in the pandemic economy, workers may emerge with higher wages and bargaining power.


LONG-FORM COMMENTARY: Can Doing Social Good Also Be Good Economics?

Neha Malhan, Wellesley College -- Organizations are increasingly being held accountable for their social and environmental impact. While increasing shareholder returns is still seen as the primary objective of a commercial enterprise, advocates of sustainability argue that the interests of all stakeholders need to be served. Yet, in a lot of this debate, the implication is often that doing social good has a cost that must be borne by the enterprise.


COMMENTARY: The Digital African Giant

Chidera Ejueyitchie, American River College -- With talk of self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and metaverses dominating the headlines, it is hard not to fantasize about the exciting technological innovations the future holds in store. But somehow, despite all the buzz, the prevailing vision of a futuristic new world still has a missing piece—a blank spot the size of a continent. This isn’t the first time Africa has been forgotten: The continent has lagged behind through each industrial revolution. Today, the African tech industry is ready to finally put an end to this game of catch up.

Commentary, Health Economics

COMMENTARY: Bigger Is Not Always Better: The True Impact of Hospital Mergers

Richa Upadhyay, Stanford University -- Most people can name the nation’s most prominent health systems such as Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, and Trinity Health. Hospital mergers and acquisitions continue to make the “household names” of healthcare stronger, but such consolidation often comes at the expense of consumers. More often than not, hospital acquisitions fail to improve health outcomes while raising costs for patients and payers due to decreased competition.


COMMENTARY: Contextualizing the Stanford Nursing Strike

Nicolas Garcia, Stanford University -- The story of how negotiations between Stanford Hospital and the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA), the union representing registered nurses (RNs) at Stanford, broke down is documented in both news reports and press releases. However, the role that the nursing supply in California played in shaping the strike deserves closer examination.


COMMENTARY: Predicting COVID-19’s Long-Term Effects Using Past Pandemics

Azmaeen Zarif, University of Cambridge -- Despite vaccine successes, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic remains unclear. While strict public health measures alongside lower fatality rates for the younger population may have mitigated the impacts on potential output in the long-term, issues such as the deskilling and demoralization of unemployed workers and delayed bankruptcies following the eventual withdrawal of governmental support, risk potential deep and persistent economic scarring. Past pandemics may hold the key to predicting the long-term economic effects of COVID-19.