Missouri State University
Economics Department Blog

MSU Student Pricing Index

The Economics Club of Missouri State University recently released its first annual summary of the newly created Student Pricing Index for Missouri State students. The purpose of this project is to estimate the change in prices for a group of goods that a typical MSU student would buy, much like headline CPI does for a typical consumer nationally. The Economics Club gathered prices in October of 2013 and 2014 and prices were compared annually. Key consumption categories include: grocery and food items, tuition, off-campus housing, entertainment, and gasoline costs. The total consumption bundle increased in price 1.27% annually. The price changes by consumption categories are as follows:

Category Percent Change
Groceries 5.39%
Gasoline 5.99%
Tuition 1.49%
Off-Campus Housing 0.97%
Pizza 7.67%
Movies Unchanged
Hygiene Items -0.81%
Beer 6.89%

This is the first release of price change data for the Economics Club at MSU. Price indexes need more than one set of observations to be meaningful. Last year’s club decided consumption bundles and collected prices, while this year’s club collected prices and calculated the percentage changes. Headline CPI on a national scale is 1.7% over the same time period, calculated from a different consumption bundle.

The Economics Club anticipates new releases to this index every Fall. For information about the club please contact Mr. Per Norander in the Economics Department at MSU. For information on the Student Pricing Index, please contact Dr. C. Patrick Scott in the Economics Department at MSU.

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Greenwood Elementary 5th Graders Learn About Money

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?  Professor David Mitchell, Director of the Center for Economic Education at MSU, recently spent time with the 5th graders at Greenwood Elementary teaching them a bit about the functions of money through a few interactive exercises.


In one activity, students were given a bag of treats that had different quantities of different things inside. For example, some might have Hello Kitty pencils, Spiderman pens, a slinky, a small flashlight, and assorted candies. Students were asked if they liked everything in their bag and then were given a few minutes to trade with their classmates if they wanted something else. At the conclusion of trading, students were asked how easy or difficult it was to trade and find people who had the items that they wanted and were willing to trade. In short, students were introduced to the problem of the double coincidence of wants. Students were then told how money, as a medium of exchange, solves the problem of the double coincidence of wants.


Students also learned about the need to include anti-counterfeiting measures in money, were shown different currencies from around the world, and were shown a picture of the stone money of Yap, a currency that can weigh up to 3 tons!


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Homecoming 2014 – Save the Date!

Homecoming pic


October 17-18, 2014

Join Missouri State University alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends in letting the good times roar and celebrating all things maroon and white at Homecoming 2014!

  • Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. – Distinguished Bears Dinner and Awards Ceremony
  • Oct. 18 at 7 a.m. – Bear Tracks 5K
  • Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. – Band of Bears Homecoming Parade
  • Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. – BearFest Village and Tailgating
  • Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. – Missouri State Bears vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
  • Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. – Bears on the Square

For more information, please visit the Homecoming website.

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Job Opportunity in Missouri Office of Administration

The Missouri Office of Administration is currently accepting applications to fill a position for an Economist.  Alumni and May/August 2014 grads are encouraged to apply.

Position Details

This is a great opportunity to work in the state budget office.  Primary duties include:

  • Evaluating and reviewing a wide variety of economic data for use in forecasting, planning and analysis.
  • Preparing forecasts and analyses of state revenues.
  • Serving as liaison with state agencies in collecting and evaluating economic and fiscal information.
  • Developing, monitoring and analyzing legislative proposals in the areas of state revenue, taxation, local taxation, economic development, tax credits and related state fiscal issues.
  • Preparing complex fiscal note responses, bill reviews and related analyses.
  • Evaluating federal legislation, economic policy and fiscal policy that affect the state and/or state tax policy.
  • Developing and using state econometric and other analytic resources.
  • Providing data, reports and technical assistance to other state agencies and staff.
  • Preparing in-depth research on topics on an ad-hoc basis.

Complete details can be found here.

Application Instructions

  • To apply, please visit the OA careers website at http://on.mo.gov/oa-jobs
  • The application deadline is July 31, 2014.


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Economics professor receives award

Dr. C. Patrick Scott, assistant professor of economics, traveled to Kansas City in October for an award ceremony with the Missouri Valley Economic Association. He received the Distinguished Student Paper Award based on his paper titled, “Are Central Bank Preferences Asymmetric When Policy Targets Vary Over Time?”

Dr. Scott earned his doctorate at Kansas State University and his research interests include Econometrics, Monetary Economics, and Macroeconomics.

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Study shows Nepalese women have less influence on decision-making in household

Dr. Sharmistha Self, economist at Missouri State, spent her recent sabbatical looking at discrepancies between how much autonomy Nepalese women believed they had in making household decisions versus what their husbands cited.

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Is light polluting the sky? Answers could keep you up at night

Light pollution, as defined by the International Dark Sky Association, is any adverse effect of artificial light, including sky glow, glare, light trespass, light clutter, decreased visibility at night and energy waste. Economics faculty members Drs. Terrel Gallaway, David Mitchell and Reed Olsen have published several articles on their recent studies of light pollution and the value of a dark sky, and they see economic effects in addition to the biologic and conservation issues.

Through surveying visitors to four national parks, the team assessed the value people place on a dark sky – one that is not showing sky glow. They tried to discern how much people would pay a utility company to have more efficient lighting placed in their communities and whether they would pay additional taxes to preserve the naturally dark sky. Mitchell explained some of the follow-up questions.

“Are they willing to pay to keep light pollution away from national parks but not their own home? For instance, people want to go to a place to be able to see tigers, bears and lions, but they don’t want tigers, bears and lions in their own backyard. It’s that idea,” he said.

Olsen said that 25 percent of power used in the U.S. is used for lighting and an estimated 30 percent of that is wasted as light pollution, equating to approximately $25-$30 billion per year.

The first studies of light pollution focus on the biologic aspects, Olsen noted. Most species on Earth depend on periods of light and darkness, and biologists are concerned about the lack of biodiversity when nocturnal animals are disoriented by light pollution.

“I think the most ubiquitous problems for humans, though, is a lack of sleep if it’s not dark,” said Olsen.

In June, CNN reported that toward the end of his life, Michael Jackson sustained more than 60 nights without reaching the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle – the deepest sleep cycle in which you experience dreams. Mitchell related Jackson’s scenario to their topic of light pollution and sky glow. If people sleep fewer hours overall, and therefore have less REM sleep, does that lead to more physical and mental health issues?

“It’s widely documented that when people don’t get good sleep at night, it interferes with their hormones. In women, this could mean higher incidences of breast cancer,” said Mitchell. Other chronic conditions that have been related to hormones or sleep include obesity, diabetes, migraines and hypertension.

At the national parks, for astronomers and for many Americans, the most visible problem associated with light pollution is the aesthetics.

“You don’t see a really dark sky in Springfield. The most recent example would have been during the ice storms of January 2007 when power was lost widely in the community,” Olsen said. “The situation was bad, but the skies were magnificent.”

 “Hot Topic – Expert Source” releases are a tool the office of university communications provides to assist media in locating a university source to comment on a particular subject or issue. The opinions expressed by the expert are those of a specific individual and are not necessarily representative of the views of the university.

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