I teach economics at the University of Memphis at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Â I’ve been teaching economics for around 13 years, going to back my days as a graduate student at Georgia State University. Â In those years of teaching I’ve developed many pedagogical tools to help my students better understand economics, which believe me, can be quite a challenge for many undergraduates, if not graduate students. Â One of the tools I’ve developed is emphasizing how cause-and-effect relationships can describe what motivates people to change their behavior. Â For example, an increase in the price of some good should motivate consumers to buy less of that good. Â In this example, the direction of causation is one way: the change in price causes people to change how much they purchase, not vice versa. Â Of course, I am implicitly relying on the ceteris paribus assumption: that all other relevant factors, including income, tastes and preferences, the price of related goods, are held constant. Â In other words, we consider only the relationship between the price of the good and the quantity of that good that consumers wish to purchase at that price. All other factors are held constant.
Of course, in reality it is most difficult to hold all other factors constant. Â We economists have many tools at our disposal for dealing with these challenges, among them regression analysis, but we fully recognize that reality is far messier than our models allow.
What brings all this to mind is something my wife said the other night. Â I don’t remember what we were talking about, probably something about my cycling advocacy efforts, but what she said really made me pause for a moment. Â What she said was this: “You live the life you advocate.” Continue reading
An email reminder from Kyle Wagenschutz …
Just a quick reminder about next week’s meeting during Phase 2 of the update process for the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.Â We had over 70 people attend last month’s meeting, many of whom were new faces, and we got some great feedback and ideas for expanding our region’s greenway and trail network.
We are now gearing up for our second meeting that will focus on pedestrian and bicycle issues.Â During this process, we will be getting public input on the most important part of the plan – describing what we, as a region, want to accomplish in terms of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and support programs.
The Memphis MPO will be holding two additional public meetings over the few weeks to help us gain your perspective on how the plan should be updated.Â Each of the meetings will be held at the Church Health Center Wellness Center at 1115 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104 in Conference Rooms A and B.Â A link to a map and a schedule of the times and topics is listed below:
February 9, 2011 – Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities – 5:30pm-7:30pm
March 2, 2011 – Review and Revise Phase 2 Findings – 5:30-7:30pm
Please make sure to mark these dates on your calendars and plan to attend. We need to hear from you about how we can advance our efforts in formulating a regional bicycle and pedestrian network.
Feel free to pass this information on to anyone that may be interested in attending.
kyle.wagenschutz (at) shelbycountytn.gov
I’m planning to go but may have to skip. Â My students have their first round of exams this week and I’ll be buried in blue books and spreadsheets for the next few days. Â The first meeting was pretty quick, so hopefully I can squeeze in time for this one.
Here’s some exciting news about biking in Memphis (and Arkansas) from today’s Commercial Appeal. Â I love the idea of being able to bike across state lines (and a major river) on dedicated biking and walking paths. Â Let’s hope this happens.
I haven’t watched it yet, but there’s a new documentary on Vimeo. Â It’s called “Mind the Gap” and it’s about sustainable urban transportation. Â One of the topics the webisodes covers is biking. Â As soon as I get a free few hours I’m going to give it a watch.
Anyway, here’s the link. Â Note: I had to open a Vimeo account to subscribe to the webisodes, but I think you can watch it without subscribing. Â Enjoy.
I received this email from Kyle Wagenschutz, the new Bikeway/Pedestrian Coordinator with the City of Memphis, last week and wanted to pass it along. Â It’s really important for all Memphians, not just cyclists, to support initiatives to make our city more sustainable and active. Â Cars aren’t the only means of getting around, and we seem to have forgotten that. Anyway, here’s the email. Â I’m planning to go to all three meetings. Â Hope to see you there.
Hi everyone. Â If you have a moment today, please have a look at this email the good people at Livable Memphis just circulated. Â It’s about proposed bike lanes on Madison, from Cooper St. to Cleveland Ave. Â If the lanes are created as the email describes, they will be a crucial biking link from the heart of Midtown to the Medical District. Â Madison Avenue is not the least bike friendly street in Memphis, but when these new bike lanes, it will be one of the most.
Please take a moment, read the email, and take action.
I don’t remember who or what first motivated me to begin biking to work; it might have been my brother, who regularly bikes to work from his home in Seattle. Â It might have been the realization that I was driving 3.5 miles one way to work (about a 10-15 minute drive, plus time looking for parking), when I could easily walk that distance in an hour. Â (I’ve still never tried that.) Â It might have been the sinking feeling that as I sauntered through my 30s, my metabolism was not getting any faster, and that if I wanted to avoid becoming fat and feeble in my old age, I needed to get my exercise on, and fast. Â Or, it might have been a desire to cut down on my carbon emissions and contribution to traffic congestion. Likely, it was a combination of all of those factors, plus some I’ve forgotten.
Whatever the case, my first challenge in biking to work was planning my route. Â I’m a planner by nature; I love maps, spreadsheets, numbers, labeled files, and having an organized life. Â So after spending hours poring over Google Maps, this is the route I came up with.