LONG-FORM COMMENTARY: Why Stanford Needs Unions

Gabriel Frank-McPheter, Stanford University -- In less than two days, the Stanford Graduate Workers Union (SGWU) got over 2,500 signed cards expressing support for unionization, well over the threshold of 30% of workers required to trigger a unionization vote. Since then, 3,600 of approximately 5,000 eligible graduate workers have signed cards, and the SGWU has officially petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a unionization election. The SGWU’s mobilization efforts are impressive and represent a significant political moment at Stanford.


COMMENTARY: What is a Digital Nomad? Introducing the New Nomadic Workforce

Alma Andino Frydman, Stanford University -- The COVID-19 pandemic drastically transformed how people work. Before the pandemic, only 5% of American workdays were WFH (“working from home”); as the pandemic engulfed the world, this number rose to a staggering 50%. For many, the pandemic forced a natural divergence from the “9 to 5” work structure. Many workers realized they were just as, if not more, productive working at their own pace, and for many, there was no going back to the office.


LONG-FORM COMMENTARY: The Mixed Impacts of a $15 Minimum Wage and Exploring Alternatives

Kyle Feinstein, Stanford University -- Raising the national minimum wage by 107% to $15 per hour would increase the wages of many jobs, particularly in rural communities where some employers have monopsony power. However, a minimum wage of $15 per hour would also contribute to unemployment, widen disparities in the labor market, and reduce the hours worked for small businesses. Because of these effects, it may be necessary to consider the alternative policies of setting the minimum wage as a percentage of a city’s average cost of living and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to assist low-income earners.

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.

Announcements, Health Economics

Our Summer 2021 Issue

On behalf of the Comparative Advantage Editorial Board, we are pleased to present the ninth volume, summer issue, of Stanford University's undergraduate economics journal. This volume presents undergraduate work on a wide variety of topics, including environmental economics, political economy, and labor economics. Furthermore, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exact a toll on individuals… Continue reading Our Summer 2021 Issue


BLOG: Unemployment, Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and the 2008 Financial Crisis – An Analysis using Structural VAR and Dynamic Panel Models

Sarah von Bargen, Columbia University -- This paper analyzes the relationships between refugee and asylum seeker flows, unemployment rates, and suicide rates using both structural vector autoregression and dynamic panel models. Specifically, structural VAR is initially used for analyzing data from 1980-2018 in the United States, and a random effects dynamic panel model is utilized for analyzing post-2008 financial crisis data of these four variables in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom.


BLOG: Analyzing the Effects of Unemployment on Political Polarization in New York State

By Mohammed Al-Khulaifi, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service -- In this empirical research I attempt to investigate possible causation between the level of unemployment and the level of political polarization in New York State by county. I hypothesize that the increase in unemployment will lead to higher levels of political polarization following the intuition of political fanaticism grounded on economic distress.