Easily Integrate These Wall Street Journal Articles in Your Class
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Did you know that you can use these Weekly Review articles to easily assess your students' comprehension of course concepts and current events?

With our new WSJ Assessment Tool, they'll complete the online quizzes based on the articles and you'll have immediate access to their results.

You can learn more at WSJ.com/assessment.
THIS WEEK'S ARTICLES
More Beekeepers Sour on Profession as Winter Die-Offs Continue
Comcast's Lobbying Machine Faces Test in Washington
Google, Cablevision Challenge Wireless Industry's Business Model
The Outlook. Australia Weighs Whether Its Minimum Wage Is Too High
Opinion. How Student Debt Harms the Economy

More Beekeepers Sour on Profession as Winter Die-Offs Continue
by: Tennille Tracy
Jan 24, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Microeconomics

SUMMARY: Increasing numbers of beekeepers are considering early retirement or are being forced out of business as honey bees continue to die at alarming rates.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Students can evaluate the effect of declining bee populations on the costs to beekeepers of providing pollination services and honey, the prices of pollination services and honey, and the exit of beekeepers from the industry.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Advanced) What is the effect of the increased death rates of bees on the cost of providing pollination services? What is the effect of the shift in the cost function on the equilibrium price of pollination services?

2. (Advanced) What is the effect of the increased death rates of bees on the price of food products that rely on pollination?

3. (Introductory) What is the effect of the increased death rates of bees on the profits of beekeepers? What is the effect of the change in profit on exit from the beekeeping industry?

Reviewed By: James Dearden, Lehigh University


Comcast's Lobbying Machine Faces Test in Washington
by: Shalini Ramachandran, Gautham Nagesh, and Brody Mullins
Jan 23, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Mergers, Regulation

SUMMARY: Comcast's proposed merger with Time Warner Cable and Obama's call for stringent new Internet regulations are testing the cable giant's lobbying power. "Comcast believes the president's strong "net-neutrality" proposal, if enacted, could threaten future investment in its fast-growing Internet business and cast doubt on the logic of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable-a deal currently being chewed over by antitrust regulators.... Regulators at the Justice Department and FCC don't view regulatory approval as inevitable, according to people with knowledge of the reviews. The regulators are concerned that Comcast could gain too much leverage as a major buyer of TV programming and the dominant high-speed broadband provider in many big markets, these people say. That could give Comcast outsize power to squeeze programmers and newer online video entrants. The Justice Department, however, may face difficulty challenging the deal because Comcast and Time Warner Cable don't currently compete directly against each other. The FCC has a broader mandate to decide whether the merger would serve the public interest."

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Students can evaluate the causes of Comcast's growing lobbying machine. They can also examine the effect of net-neutrality regulations on the value to Comcast of acquiring Time Warner Cable.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Advanced) What is "net neutrality." Why is Comcast opposed to net neutrality while Google favors it?

2. (Advanced) Research question. Why is Comcast's value of acquiring Time Warner Cable dependent on Internet regulations that are implemented by the federal government?

3. (Introductory) What has Comcast been building its Washington lobbying machine?

Reviewed By: James Dearden, Lehigh University


Google, Cablevision Challenge Wireless Industry's Business Model
by: Ryan Knutson, Alistair Barr, and Shalini Ramachandran
Jan 27, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Innovation

SUMMARY: Google and Cablevision Systems are preparing new cellphone services that would turn the wireless industry's business model on its head, increasing pressure on companies already dealing with a price war. Related article: Cablevision's service, dubbed "Freewheel," will take advantage of the 1.1 million Wi-Fi hot spots the company has deployed in its greater New York service area since 2007.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Students can conjecture about the effect of the introduction of wireless service using Wi-Fi hot spots and cellular connections on the price of wireless service.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Advanced) Distinguish the types of consumers who use 'Wi-Fi only,' 'Wi-Fi first,' and cellular wireless service. Conjecture on the price elasticities of demand for these different types. How would the consumer price elasticities of demand affect the equilibrium prices of these services?

2. (Introductory) How would the increasing popularity of 'Wi-Fi only' service affect the equilibrium prices of cellular service?

3. (Advanced) What are "sunk costs"? Are the costs of constructing cellular networks fixed and sunk? How do large fixed and sunk costs required to offer a service affect entry into an industry? How does limited entry affect equilibrium prices?

4. (Advanced) What is "normal economic profit"? Does the limited entry resulting from large fixed costs of entry imply that the firms operating in an industry earn above normal economic profit? Are cellular companies earning above normal economic profit?

Reviewed By: James Dearden, Lehigh University

RELATED ARTICLES: 
Cablevision to Offer Wi-Fi Phone Service
by Shalini Ramachandran
Jan 26, 2015
Online Exclusive


The Outlook. Australia Weighs Whether Its Minimum Wage Is Too High
by: Rachel Pannett
Jan 27, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Labor Markets

SUMMARY: The Outlook: Higher minimum-wage supporters in the U.S. often point to Australia as a low-unemployment country with one of the world's highest pay floors. Now, joblessness in Australia is rising, and some are calling for a decadelong slowdown in increases to the minimum wage.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Students can evaluate the effect of an increase in a country's minimum wage on the country's employment level.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Advanced) What is the effect of an increase in a minimum wage on employment levels? Does the answer depend on the price elasticities of demand and supply for labor?

2. (Introductory) What are possible explanations for increases in Australia's minimum wage being contemporaneous with high employment levels in the country?

3. (Advanced) The column notes the relationship between the rate of increase in a country's minimum wage and its inflation rate. Why is it important to compare the increase in a country's minimum wage and its inflation rate?

Reviewed By: James Dearden, Lehigh University


Opinion. How Student Debt Harms the Economy
by: Mitchell E. Daniels
Jan 28, 2015
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Education

SUMMARY: "Now comes evidence that it's not just consumer spending that these debts are denting, but also economic dynamism. A variety of indicators suggest that the debt burden is weighing on the engine that has always characterized American economic leadership-and the factor that many have assumed will overcome many structural and self-imposed challenges: our propensity to innovate and to invent new vehicles of wealth creation." In 2010-13, the percentage of younger people owning part of a new business dropped to 3.6% from 6.1%.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: Students can evaluate the negative effect of increased college education debt on business startups and innovation.

QUESTIONS: 
1. (Advanced) "Working with the Gallup Research organization, Purdue scholars devised last year's Gallup-Purdue Index, the largest survey ever of U.S. college graduates. Among its findings: 26% of those who left school debt-free have started at least one business. Among those with debt of $40,000 or more, only 16% had done so." Can the decrease in the percentage of college graduates from 26% to 16% be attributed to the burden of student debt? In answering this question, discuss whether family wealth is negatively correlated with student debt and whether family wealth is positively correlated with starting businesses.

2. (Advanced) "[Today's young Americans] are already saddled with a lifetime per capita debt of some $700,000 (to date) to pay not for debts they incurred, but for those run up in entitlement programs such as Social Security, Social Security Disability and Medicare, explicitly designed to tax the young to subsidize their elders." What are "entitlement programs"? What are "unfunded liabilities"? Why do politicians pass legislation that introduces unfunded liabilities?

3. (Introductory) Should colleges and universities lower tuition? If so, what programs should they cut?

Reviewed By: James Dearden, Lehigh University


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