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What is the #DemandCurve in #Economics?

18 May

Let’s say that Mike is buying pencils from Metro (Màidélóng)

We want to know what price should Metro charge?

Demand Curve.jpg

This picture is very helpful! The Green Line tells us how many pencils Mike will buy at each price.

Situation #1: The price is $3.00, Mike is willing to buy 50 pencils.

Situation #2: The price is $1.00, Mike is willing to buy 70 pencils.

Situation #3: The price is $4.00 and Metro has 30 pencils. Will Mike buy them?

Answer: Yes! Mike wants 40 pencils, of course he would buy 30 if they are available.

Situation #4: The price is $4.00 and Metro has 50 pencils. Will Mike buy them?

Answer: No! Mike only wants 40 pencils, so he is never going to buy 50.

So we could draw the picture like this:

Demand Possibility.jpg

So what is the Demand Curve?

  • It tells us the MAXIMUM number of products Mike will buy at each price.
  • It tells us how many products Mike will NOT buy.
  • It gives us an idea of what price we should choose. For example, if the price is $8.00, Mike won’t buy any pencils!

Price of Related Goods (PR) in #Economics

3 May

An #Infograph for my Chinese students in #microeconomics and #macroeconomics 

When we study Supply and Demand in #economics, we learned that one of the factors that changes them both is Price of Related Goods.  

  • Supply — The number of products the company has available to sell at all prices
  • Demand — The number of products the buyers will purchase at all prices
  • Quantity Supplied — The number of products supplied at a specific price
  • Quantity Demanded — The number of products demanded at a specific price
  • Inverse Relationship — When Y ↑   then X ↓ — Line goes down
  • Direct Relationship — When Y ↑  then X   ↑ — Line goes up

#business #studyguide #econ 


Job Interviews are a #Negotiation, not a Grocery Purchase

20 Apr

So many of my amazing #students are up and off to internships and their first jobs. Proud and thrilled for them!

But it recently reminded me of one of my early interviews for a position while in law school. I had applied for a job with #LexisNexis at my University to work as a recruitment / trainer kind of person (for those of you who don’t know – they operate one of the big legal research websites and hire students to train other law students in how to use the system). 

During the first meeting, the interviewer asked me what I was looking for in a workplace. I answered very honestly. Nothing outrageous — I needed something flexible to work around my school schedule and a job that did not involve a lot of weekly meetings and reports. At the time, I was swamped with school and couldn’t afford a job that was extremely time-consuming. I’ve had those jobs (#teaching happens to be one) where they say you’ll work 5 hours but the reality is more like 12. I had also recently come out of a job where the manager would give us orders, but never explain how to accomplish the assignment (it wasn’t something you could just pick up). If you did it wrong, they were furious because it wasn’t how they wanted it. All of the student workers quit in about a month. So I also mentioned that I was willing to go the extra mile for a company, but I really appreciated managers who were clear about their expectations and specific if they wanted things done a certain way.

In the second meeting the interviewer took me aside to explain that I should never tell a company what I’m looking for. That they may not fit that description and then won’t hire me. You should only talk about how you benefit them. 

It was the worst advice I’ve ever received.

Jobs are not a one-way-street! It’s a negotiation. Recruiters are not walking into a shopping mart looking over the selections, picking the best employee for them, and then making a wonderful masterpiece out of the pieces. They may be considering you, but you are also considering them.  If the company does not suit you, if the management sends your stress through the roof, if the job is inconsistent and changing while you work better under consistent and clear guidelines — those are important factors in job success. The masterpiece relies on both parties doing their best.

It’s called the ‘job market‘ for a reason — there are both buyers and sellers. While the buyer’s interests and needs are very important, the seller also has a role to play. There may be some buyers you just aren’t willing to work with because they don’t have what you want.

It is true that if you are extremely picky, you may put off potential hiring opportunities.

However, if you have a list of reasonable requests — issues that may determine whether you like a job and are satisfied with a position — it’s okay to discuss them.

In my last workplace, they got a little crazy with “evaluations” of professors. While I strongly support the concept of evaluations, we had student evals, management evals, and peer evals. I had random people in my classroom at least once a week and then I was (without pay) expected to visit anywhere from 3-5 people myself to evaluate them during busy mid-term sessions. It didn’t work. Everyone was stressed, the students didn’t respond well to the constant flow of new and unfamiliar faces. We would have as many as 5-6 meetings just to explain, catch-up, update, explain, and re-update information about evaluations. There was a lot of unnecessary frustration. So in my next job search, I asked recruiters how evaluations were completed and explained that I wanted a program where the system was solid but well-planned. Finally came a recruiter who said “Totally! That drives me crazy too. Our system includes X, Y, and Z — it’s all done at specific times and with forward planning. We get it done as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t disrupt the classroom.” Great! This is what I was looking for! They explained what they were looking for (I fit). I explained what I was looking for (they fit). I took the job, and we’ve both been very satisfied (I received some of the highest student evaluations of 2017).

If a company cannot fit your needs and requirements, it isn’t going to be a happy relationship. If you and the company are both satisfied and all needs are met — it’s market equilibrium (the best trade for everyone).

So don’t let recruiters try to shop you over. Negotiate. Talk. Remember — Job interviews are cooperative and involve two sides.

#Diversity – It’s More Than Just a Hiring Issue!

16 Apr

Being ‘diverse’ is more than just hiring the right people and ‘seeing everyone the same.’ It means recognizing differences, acknowledging them, and responding appropriately when necessary.   Having a strong Business Culture involves understanding the background that people are coming from and adapting to it as needed so that people feel motivated and comfortable.  For example, if you are going to do business in China, you should do some research into their traditions.  Even if it’s not ‘unfair treatment’ — assigning someone from China to chair #4 may actually cause a problem for them culturally (4 can represent death or bad luck in Asian cultures).  Many of my Chinese students feel very uncomfortable being asked to be in ‘Group 4’ or to sit in ‘Chair 4’ during a project.   It’s important that I (as an international employee) be aware of that and do my best to find work-arounds.  It isn’t difficult, but it does take some thought and forward planning. 

#StudyAid for Understanding #Graphs in #Business and #Economics

20 Mar

Quick tip for my students of #Economics#Business, and #Finance — I know some of you have a hard time with the graphs. So many lines gets a little confusing.  If you are a little more “artist” than you are “mathematician” by nature, this is a tip I’ve shared with many students to help them keep track of information.  Buy a DRAWING book, not a notebook with lines on the paper. A blank book. Also buy a set of markers or colored pens.  Pick a color for each “key” thing — For example, Profit can be blue and Revenue can be red.  Draw the graphs in your notebook with those colors. Use the same colors to take notes. Whenever you are writing about “Revenue,” use the red pen. Whenever you are writing about “Profit” use the blue pen.  People who are visual can often see things better when there are different colors. It is easier to avoid getting confused and to keep things clear in your mind.  The students who try this method say it helps them a lot more. It’s worth a try! 

Break Even


#Business and #Finance ~ FIFO, LIFO, and AVCO

13 Mar

As always, this lesson is not intended to be professional advice. This is simply lesson material for ESL students in an introductory Economics and Finance class. Posted here for their use or for helping other students. 

Although they might sound more like little dog names (“Here, Fifo!) the terms FIFO, LIFO, and AVCO are actually extremely important terms in Accounting, Supply Chain Management, and Business!

Image result for Fifo

The company wants to know, “What is our Profit this year?” “How much Money did we make?”

Hopefully, you already remember this ~

Profit = Revenue – Cost 

This sounds pretty easy!  But actually it isn’t -_- . . . . in fact each company may count their profits in a different way!

Let’s look at how this happens Continue reading

Vote Sugar for Participation!

26 Dec
Me: Your assignment is NOT a presentation — you are supposed to lead a class discussion.
Student:  I don’t understand.
Me: You ask the class questions and get them to participate and talk. 😐
Student:  Our grade means the class has to TALK to us? But teacher, this is not the China way. Maybe we do not like to talk in class. Maybe we will all have a very bad grade.
Me (in my mind): Welcome to the life of the laowai laoshi (foreign teacher) and the struggle for participation!
Me (in reality): You can do this. Maybe call on people one by one. Or ask your friends to help you. Or offer the first person to talk candy.
Student: . . . . . . . 😑
WeChat 5 minutes later . . . . “You may use every way to force your classmates to work for you. Teacher Olivia recommends sugar.”
Me: Bwahahahahahahahaha . . . Behold, the power of sugar! 😝😆🤣🍡🍨🍬🍭🍫🍰🎂🍪🍩

OFO Bike Sharing Market Research

3 Dec

Image result for OFO

My students in microeconomics were recently studying quantity demand and ways to improve profits. Before we moved onto changing prices, we spent some time discussing ways they can change or alter the other 5 factors of demand (Income, Price of Related Goods, Taste, Future Price, and Number of Buyers in the Market).

This brought us to Consumer Research and how companies gather information about their buyers, products, and demand markets.

I recently noticed that the OFO bicycle system has just started operating on the Northeast Normal University campus this semester. For those of you unfamiliar with the system, OFO is an app that allows users to rent bicycles and drive them around town with no designated pick-up or drop-off site.

It was originally founded in Beijing in 2014, but has since spread to cities around China and more countries besides.

The theory of the system is rather simple.

Users download the application on their cell phones and set up an account. The start-up deposit fee has traditionally been 199RMB in China (about $30) which then goes to your account. Then it costs a small amount (1-2RMB) per hour (about $0.16) that you ride. To get a bicycle you locate the familiar yellow bike and use the Code Scanner on your phone to read the bicycle’s bar code. That registers the bicycle to you, and you then ride around wherever you want to go. When you are finished, you cancel the agreement and leave the bicycle wherever you stopped.

There are many conveniences to the program (handy for local transportation, students enjoy the system). But there are some inconveniences as well (too many bicycles left lying in the way of sidewalks and doors, bicycles can be difficult to find, etc).

So I arranged a small market survey and sent it out to my students. They shared it with the freshman (and a few with their parents / siblings) and we used to analyze our results.

Although it is not official, it was a lot of fun and we did learn some interesting results that I thought I would share.


We started by testing the income level of our respondents. We agreed that 199RMB was a lot for students with less than 1000RMB per month. There were a few students who thought it was too expensive as a start-up deposit. Especially since most of them felt they may not ever use that much money in the long run. Some of the students complained that since Changchun is in the north (with very cold weather very early in the fall and late in the sprint), their time to use it was limited. This much money for something they would only use a few months was a stretch.


To get a feel for our response bias and the real category of people we reached, we also established some demographics.  

Most of the boys agreed they had tried it, but we had a difficult time getting them to take the survey. 🙂

The students also agreed that, although our survey never reached them, their parents and grandparents were a possible market for OFO. Several students said their parents had already tried it as well. The 21 – 25 year olds were mostly our Junior students. The 15-18 year olds were Freshmen.

Reputation of OFO

At this point, most of the students were familiar with the system. Those who did not recognize the same were aware of the “Yellow Bicycle”


The students also agreed that 24% was a high number for a company like OFO. Although it has only been in Changchun this year, it has been operating in China for a while. They recommended that OFO help teach people how to ride bicycles or show people how to set up the account. They felt like there was not enough information about OFO or people introducing them to OFO.

Some students (and me) had trouble setting up the OFO account. Most of the unhappy users felt like the system was clear, but it often didn’t work or was broken. They complained that they would try to put in all the information and then would get an error code. But quite a few thought it went pretty smoothly.

The Bicycle “easy to reserve” part was must less satisfying amongst the students. The majority complained that there weren’t enough bicycles. They paid a high start-up deposit fee, but then could not ever find bicycles in their area. The bicycles were far away or were already being used. They wanted OFO to provide more bicycles in the area. At the same time, we discussed Beijing and Shanghai’s problems where there are TOO many bicycles available. The bicycles are parked on the sidewalks, and with so many taking up the space, people are forced to walk in the busy streets.

Most agreed that they enjoyed the experience overall. Some felt that it was too cold when they tried it (October — people in the far north are already bundling up for winter and heaters are turning on). Perhaps after summer they will have a different impression. Others felt like it was a lot of money and aggravation to get it all going. Many felt like it was a lot of fun for entertainment, but would not replace taxi or DiDi services.


Overall, students seemed to feel that the program had a lot of potential and possibility. They did however think there were areas where it could be improved. It was a fascinating discussion, and the students responded very well!

Abbreviations are CRAZY

28 Nov
Me: “If I give you Q, TVC, and TFC you can find TC, AVC, AFC, SMC, ATC, etc.”
Students: 😓😵
Me: 🤣 Let’s try it step by step. . .

Snickerdoodle #Treats!

31 Oct

Making yummy #Snickerdoodles for the 8 #proctors of my #exam today 😊  320 students, 4 classrooms, one exam.  Go #microeconomics students!!!  Fighting!!  Jiayou!

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