Saturday assorted links


'IKEA does price discrimination.'

No, Ikea does discounting, in pretty much the same fashion that a store will offer a senior's discount, or a movie theater will do free admission on someone's birthday. Ikea's ad agency is just using an attention getting marketing twist, which one would think is the real story.

Senior discounts are a form of price discrimination (seniors are generally price-sensitive customers with time on their hands for shopping around). So are birthday discounts, which have the same logic as 'bus driver eats free' discounts (namely the person receiving the free/discounted service is expected to bring other paying customers along). And run-of-the-mill sales are also price discrimination. Price-sensitive customers wait and watch for them and buy during those time windows whereas price-insensitive customers don't bother. And, price discrimination isn't like racial discrimination. It it's not a bad thing. It tends to reduce consumption inequality. It's not a scurrilous charge you need to defend Ikea against.

I wondered if this would devolve into a discussion of the difference between discounting and price discrimination.

Here is another example of what a business often normally considers discounting - customers that purchase more than a certain amount get free shipping, or a customer that orders 1,000 identical items pays less than a customer buying 3 of the same items.

The free shipping example does not seem to be covered by price discrimination, while the second could be considered second-degree price discrimination, with the original examples being third-degree price discrimination, at least according to

We could then start to talk about carrying costs, and whether a company offering a discount on a product that has been in inventory too long is also engaging in price discrimination. Then we could also potentially go on and discuss whether there are such things as fake discounts - where the retailer never planned to charge the price being 'discounted.'

But why bother? Basically, this is about marketing, not business pricing strategies, and provides an example of very successful world wide marketing. Ikea receives considerable free international exposure as the sort of furniture store which an expecting woman should shop at, and the price discrimination involved is not the main point (after all, the promotion itself is only in Sweden). One can reasonably doubt that Ikea will be running such ads monthly for the foreseeable future, while the resonance and residual effect globally from such marketing will likely pay dividends far into the future. Far beyond any actual effect of such price discrimination on a temporary basis in a single market.

The point is not about selling a few more cribs in Sweden, regardless if one wishes to describe a part of the marketing strategy involving price discrimination instead of calling it discounting (which is how the pregnant woman perceives it).

The argument that "this is all about marketing" is applying black and white to the situation, when it is neither all black, nor all white. One conclusion does not rule out the other.

And just to emphasize - 'It’s not a scurrilous charge you need to defend Ikea against.' is not what I am doing, and not something that occurred to me anyone would take away from what was written.

So, from what I thought was the main point of what I first wrote - 'Ikea’s ad agency is just using an attention getting marketing twist, which one would think is the real story.' Followed by the longer explanation above.

Seriously, does anyone who does not work for (or is paid by) a particular company care the slightest about defending a company from any charges, scurrilous or otherwise? That seems hard to imagine, but then, this comment section remains eye opening even after a decade.

What you've also missed is that just as Ikea's promotion is intended as a light-hearted joke, so was Tyler's description of it as 'price discrimination'. I mean, it is, but, yes, that isn't the main purpose and I suspect Tyler's reasons for describing it that way were a bit mischievous. Who knows, he might even have been trolling *you*. If so, would you be honored?

'What you’ve also missed is that just as Ikea’s promotion is intended as a light-hearted joke'

Well, if you find (potentially) pregnant Swedish women peeing on a page of paper a joke, fine by me. Neither the ad agency, nor Ikea were spending money on a joke per se, but instead on a stunningly successful way to associate themselves with as many people globally as possible as a good source of furniture when a baby is expected.

'I suspect Tyler’s reasons for describing it that way were a bit mischievous'

The approved term here for that style of joking is 'Straussian' - often with 'mood affiliation' or 'virtue signalling' thrown in.

'If so, would you be honored?'

Who cares what some GMU econ dept faculty member thinks. Most other faculty at GMU have been ignoring them for decades, after all, even if the PR department has never enjoyed that luxury.

"Well, if you find (potentially) pregnant Swedish women peeing on a page of paper a joke, fine by me."

On a magazine ad to get a discount -- yeah, I think that's a funny idea. I think they will too. My wife (though not Swedish) thought it was.

"Neither the ad agency, nor Ikea were spending money on a joke per se..."

Many successful ads work through a sense of humor (you do have one, right?)

"Who cares what some GMU econ dept faculty member thinks."

Not you? But then, why you spend so much time commenting here, right?

1. IKEA does price discrimination.

You know, Foodland would know if the customer was pregnant or not before they did and so would surprise them with a discount.

2. Chinese plans for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

This link seems broken to me. Maybe it is me.

3. The Bush administration, diplomacy, and North Korean nukes.

Let me guess - everything is the idiot W's fault? Do I need to even read it?

6. How much did late marriage boost the Industrial Revolution?

Interesting that this focuses on women rather than men. It is trivial to think how late marriage could affect men more than women. If men want to be married north of the Hajnal line they need to get a job, earn some money, buy a house. So late marriage. Anywhere else, to varying degrees, all they need to do is sweet talk a girl so you may as well drop out of school and hang around on street corners waiting for a naive tourist.

7. Two-day shipping boosts the price of industrial land.

That was interesting. I like the idea of re-purposing shopping malls. It makes sense. That you can already price the effect is impressive. Enough for me to question if it is true.

2. Link *is* broken.

#3 The author is Fred Kaplan, long time wannabe expert on foreign policy who gets everything wrong.
Of course it's W's fault. Once again he travels back in time to when he wasn't president to cause some calamity. You'd think they'd be tired of this storyline.

"1992: In May, for the first time, North Korea allows a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Agency inspection finds inconsistencies with North Korea declarations.[16] Hans Blix, head of the IAEA, and the U.S. suspect that North Korea is secretly using its five-megawatt reactor and reprocessing facility at Yongbyon to turn spent fuel into weapons-grade plutonium. Before leaving, Blix arranges for fully equipped inspection teams to follow.
The inspections do not go well. Over the next several months, the North Koreans repeatedly block inspectors from visiting two of Yongbyon's suspected nuclear waste sites, and IAEA inspectors find evidence that the country is not revealing the full extent of its plutonium production."

Sorry, TMC, but you are dead wrong, and Kaplan was completely and totally correct. I applaud Tyler for posting this as most Americans have no idea about any of this. One of the more shocking parts of it is the way Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld humiliated South Korea's Kim Dae Jung when he visited Washington in March, 2001, an incredibly stupid and indefensible thing to do. These idiots had it in mind that they were going to make the North Korean regime fall. Well, it is still around. They were wrong, wrong, wrong.

In fact this blunder by Bush and his pals was so bad it rivals our idiotic invasion of Iraq for being the biggest foreign policy blunder by the US of the 21st century. Trump has pulled some doozies, but nothing as bad as either of those, and while Obama made damaging blunders in both Libya and Syria, both of them pale into insignificance compared to these two massive mistakes by the Bush administration, and while everybody knows Bush messed up in Iraq, very few are aware that North Korea has nuclear weapons because of massive stupidity and blundering by him and his war hawk gang.

Another believer that W was a time traveler. Bush II should take the heat just as you've said, but the nuke program was well under way before he was in office. The IAEA was doing inspections in 1992. Clinton, Bush, and Obama kicked the can down the road with a predictable result.

Also this, from same wiki article: 31 August 1998: North Korea launched a Paektusan-1 space launch vehicle in a launch attempt of its Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1 satellite. U.S. military analysts suspect satellite launch is a ruse for the testing of an ICBM.[18] This missile flew over Japan causing the Japanese government to retract 1 billion in aid for two civilian light-water reactors.[19][20]

So nukes and work on an ICBM by 1998, but it's Bush's fault...

In the past 8 years it's been terribly obvious that something needs to be done, so Obama may be the most culpable, especially since he helped finance their rocket technology through the Iran deal.

Did you actually read your own link, TMC? I love it when drooling lunatics come on here and make ridiculous claims citing some link they provide, when the link does not support them. The link is completely consistent with Kaplan's story. Of course there was this stuff going on earlier, which is why Clinton nearly went to war over it. Or did you not read the Kaplan article? Then the agreement of 1994 went into place, and even your link says that a freeze on plutonium production went into place. Bush's actions led to the ending of that freeze and the North Koreans making nuclear weapons out of plutonium. What they were doing with uranium, not covered by the agreement, had them still very far from making bombs in 20022.

So is it that you are lazy and did not read the article and the Wiki entry or is it that you do not know how to read? Or maybe you deliberately misread to fit your political and ideological fantasies so that you can just blatantly lie? So, are you lazy, crazy, or just plain stupid, TMC?

Bush named them as part of the axis of evil because they were continuing their program, Barkley. The program never stopped, it went underground. (again, sounds familiar). Nobody thought they were complying except for Kaplan and now you. Clinton didn't either, but didn't care enough to act.

" I love it when drooling lunatics come on here and make ridiculous claims citing some link they provide,"

And no self awareness either, Barkley?


You are lying, you worthless scumbag. The plutonium program was stopped dead. Kaplan's account is accurate. What was underground but not addressed in the agreement was the uranium program, but that was very far from being able to use for nuclear weapons. They used their stored plutonium rods to make their bombs, which came about thanks to Bush's screwing up exactly as recounted by Kaplan. However today their uranium program is such that they may be making some of their bombs from it.

Look TMC. You are massively wrong here, utterly and totally on the crucial points. The question is, are you consciously lying, or just a stupid or ignorant loser. Which is it, TMC, because it is at least one of these.

BTW, I have posted on this on Econospeak, linking to the Kaplan article. And, TMC, if you want to pursue this line of nauseating idiocy and false propaganda on your part, you should understand that my knowledge of Korea is such that I have published academic articles on things there. You are in over your head and blatantly drowning.

They were testing their delivery system right in the middle if the agreement. Wake up, Barkley.

Wow, TMC, if you cannot get away with one lie, you come up with another. DPRK already had short range delivery missiles by 1994 and had created a row by selling some to Pakistan. As with the Iranian JCPOA there was nothing about delivery systems in the 94 agreement, but there was no significant work done on such systems during the period of the agreement. It was 2005, after Bush and pals had destroyed the agreement, that they got back into working seriously anew on such systems.

I am wondering, are you trying to compete with Trump on lying? Sorry, you are way too far behind to catch up, but nice try.

"Let me guess – everything is the idiot W’s fault? Do I need to even read it?"

I was told he had a secret plan to solve the Korean issue forever after appeaser Bill Clinton ruined everything. Was it electing Obama so that Trump would run against Clinton and be elected? Is the plan unfolding before my eyes now?

7. Just in case readers don't see the irony: The mall is still there and the goods are still stored in the mall, but the customer no longer goes to the mall to shop, the customer shops on-line and the mall ships the goods to the customer's home. Is that an innovation so great to justify the mall/shipping company's stock price going from $1.72 in 1997 to $1,305 today? This reminds me of the newfangled taxi company: one hails the taxi by typing the pick-up and destination locations in her smart phone rather than calling the taxi company and giving that information over the phone. Even as the old school taxi companies that relied on the telephone suffer bankruptcy, the newfangled taxi company is valued at about $70 billion. I suppose innovation isn't what it used to be. I'm still waiting for flying cars and spaceships to Mars.

I can buy a widget online in 15 seconds; going to the mall could take an hour or more, depending on distance and traffic. There are also benefits to suppliers: centralizing inventory lowers inventory carrying cost and reduces the need for costly retail locations (and to be within two days of nearly all US customers takes just 4 or 5 warehouses total; to be within one day might take 15-20 warehouses, though one hits a break even point between shipping service upgrades to 2 or 1 day shipping and the additional outlay for more warehousing/inventory).

Uber: I once meet one of the banksters who was involved in one of the funding rounds for Uber. He talked poetically about the company but I shut him down simply by asking when it would be profitable rather than burning $3B/year (his response was a series of incoherent stammering; I guess the Softbank guys see the value of adding their billions to the fire though).

Mars: contrast Uber with SpaceX which is actually trying to do something hard like fly rockets to Mars. The problem with problems is it's hard to know how hard they really are until you've solved them (Yudkowsky made this point discussing AGI last year).

It's shopping the Sear's catalog updated: instead of shopping in a catalog, it's a PC or tablet or smart phone. Of course, Amazon is convenient (I don't have to go to the mall!), as was the Sear's catalog. My point is to question the idea of innovation. Peter Thiel questioned it too ("We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters"), but he has profited, and profited immensely, from what passes as innovation. Thiel is a self-described libertarian, a libertarian who started a company, Palantir, whose business is to help the government spy on people. Nothing is as it appears to be.

A hundred million people saved hours of shopping time with better selection of goods, I consider a significant innovation.

4. Of course, people see what they want to see, whether it's reality or virtual reality. The proof is cited daily right here at this blog. Economists are people. At least that's what I've been told.

6. What the authors seem to be saying is that later marriage meant fewer children, fewer children meant fewer adults, fewer adults meant fewer laborers, and fewer laborers meant higher wages. The "cause" of all this, as indicated by the authors, was fewer deaths among adults (i.e., a longer life expectancy) due to fewer pandemics (implied by the authors in the abstract). Contrast this with the ancient world: just to maintain the population required every woman to have at least six to eight pregnancies, so many women and infants died in childbirth and so many adults died young. Absent a longer life expectancy, the industrial revolution may have been less of a revolution. Today, demographers worry about too few children in developed countries. It seems we are facing the same dilemma as in the ancient world but for an entirely different reason. The solution then and the solution now is the same: encourage women to have more children (with tax credits, etc.). Of course, more children means more adults, more adults means more laborers, more laborers means lower wages.

I came to a different conclusion about what the authors were saying. I understood them to say the women, marrying later, became better educated before having children, and therefore their children were also better educated. And, thus more suited to bringing about the changes that occurred. I would also think the puritanical mores of the time played a role, both in the delay of marriage, and in the heightened expectations for prenuptial achievements by males.

1. IKEA -- No discrimination. Scroll down:

"the ad is not a coupon. ... Rather, the discount is available to all members of the Ikea Family program."

#2. Nice RickRoll there Tyler!!

No, you need to read the article. Elephants on skates will be a new demonstration event in the 2022 Olympics and is expected to be a fully competitive event in the 2026 Olympics. It is a sop to Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos who feel they cannot compete in bobsledding because of Jamaica.

3: All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Everything is either Trump or Bush's fault.

It's like Lightbringer Boy never even existed.

3. Has no one even clicked through to the article? It was written in 2004 and is about W, not HW. The dictator is -Il, not -Un. Obama wasn't even in the national picture yet.

It's a little funny and a lot sad that an ad for a postdoc in economic history requires "a PhD from an international research university in such fields as: Economics/Computer Science/Sociology" and "a strong theoretical and empirical background economics, sociology or education" but mentions nothing about knowledge of history.

Patterns in history (e.g., high levels of inequality and financial instability) are mere correlations and not evidence of causation, so knowledge of history would actually be a disadvantage. You must not understand how economics works. Don't feel like you are alone, because I don't either. Correlation, causation, it depends on the mood.

I mean really the level of naval-gazing here is kind of astonishing. To create an "economic history" fellowship but not even mention historical knowledge/expertise as even disireable, or helpful or "a plus" the way many job ads do for different skills, even as just like a pro-forma acknowledgement that they don't even really mean. They might as well write "we have certain preconceived notions about the way society functions/ed and we're not really interested in hiring someone to question those notions, but really just interested in someone who can run the numbers to buttress conclusions we've already reached."

Maybe it's not a plus. I can imagine they may want someone who didn't bring the bagage a history major might bring and just let the evidence take them where it goes.

#6 I wonder when we'll read about how "too late" marriage, gay marriage, no marriage, and DINK marriage led to the end of Western Civilization.

It will be the end of progressivism. Conservatives are still having kids.

That's why we need to increase immigration! We're below replacement level fertility for Progressives!

@BarkleyRosser, you embarrass yourself with your hysteria. TWC raised many fine points that you have ignored in favor of shrieking "wrong, wrong, wrong" and name calling.

No one cares whether uranium was covered by the agreement. Our goal was to stop NK from getting nuclear weapons. If Kim Jong il was developing nuclear weapon capacity while remaining in the strict definition of the agreement (which he actually wasn't), then it was a bad agreement that should be ripped up. It made no sense for the Bush administration to continue financing NK as they attempted to develop nuclear weapons and missiles. The only mistake Bush made (albeit a significant one) was not invading NK the moment he found out about Kim Jong il's perfidy.

The idea that the answer to NK's deceit was to sit down to more talks with them and expect them to be trustworthy this time is foolish.

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