Friday, October 21, 2016

Team Production and Gift Exchange

I think the story that attracts me the most is sharing marbles. Michael Tomasello and Katharina Hanmann, two German developmental psychologists, set up an experiments with 3 years old children who can get marbles as rewards by pulling ropes on a machine. These children may be better off if they engage in gift exchanging and team work. The experiment has three different scenarios. The first one is that two children pull ropes together, but one of the children gets 3 marbles while the other can only get one. The result of this scenario shows that children will equalize their marbles around 75% of the time. The second scenario is that 2 children will receive marbles. However, one will have three times more marbles than the other one. The result of this scenario shows that the one with more marbles will not give off their rewards to the other one who has less marbles. The last scenario is that 2 children do not pull the ropes together to get marbles. Nonetheless, one will get 3 marbles for every pulling while the other can only get 1. In this case, the result shows that about 30% of children would choose to equalize their marbles. I believe the article overall want to use the example to show that procedural fairness is more important than distributive fairness in economics.

An example I can think of is me and my best friend Phil. When I came to the states at the beginning, I didn’t have a car. Phil, on the other hand, had one. We both loved road trip and hiking. Thus, I will usually take care of the itinerary and accommodation, and Phil would drive. In this case, Phil provided the transportation to exchange for a well-planed travel. I could also get a ride to the destination by doing the trip preparation. The situation changed when I bought a car on sophomore year, since we both had cars, we both were lazy to do the trip itinerary. This is similar to the second scenario in the experiment that I mention above. Another good example for this is definitely camping. I love going outdoor and hike through all kinds of national parks. Usually I will go with bunch of friends. When I get to our camping spot, some guys will do the tent sett-up, girls will usually cover the food and BBQ preparation. I think the team production and gift exchange in this case are we all do work that we are good at and share all resources as a team.

However, team production with gift exchange can be somehow unfair. Take group project as an example, in most of my experience of doing group projects, there will always be 1 or 2 free riders who do minimal work. But we all receive the same grade at the very end. Thus, as far as I am concern, individual work may be more efficient than team work in particular situation.      

Friday, October 14, 2016

Future Plan and Income Risk

First of all, I think the prompt for this week is very interesting. I don’t have a job lined up for when I graduated (I am graduating in December). However, my future plan is absolutely clear. Unlike most of other students in the class, being involved in a career associated with economics is not in my goal. Therefore, in the following parts, I will first talk about the kind of job/career I plan to pursue after graduation and its location. Secondly, I will talk about some of my efforts and decisions during college that contribute to my future job and income risk.

I am a dual degree student majoring in Kinesiology and Economics. I started following the pre-med path when I was a sophomore. Becoming a physician in sports medicine field is my dream ever since I was a teenager. Therefore, due to the specialty of my choice, I can only continue to stay in school (medical school) for another 4 years and pass the board exam before I actually jump in the “real world”. Compared to my other friends who get a job right after graduation, I will have a huge opportunity cost when I get out of medical school. For example, my roommate Kevin, who is majoring in CS, gets an offer from Bloomberg in New York with 140k/year. He will earn at least 560k when I graduate from medical school. However, I believe the opportunity cost can be recovered in the long term since physicians will typically have an average of 32k/year. The only thing matter here is that if I have the patience to keep walking on the road till become a licensed physician or not. As for locations of the job, usually I will stick with sports teams or stay in big hospitals in major cities. But the location doesn’t really have a huge impact on the salary.

Since I am graduating this December, I have already applied for different medical schools since August. So far, I completed interviews from UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, NYU, and Northwestern. The final results will come out at around the end of the year. Looking back at my preparation, I think I tried a lot of things during college to make me become a better medical school candidate. I became a personal trainer at the ARC when I was in sophomore year. With this opportunity, I have built up my experience in communication with clients and responding to their reactions and needs immediately. Moreover, I have participated in 3 different research labs as undergraduate research assistants for over 3 years. In the labs, I help Professors and PHD students to complete their project. The topics of these projects vary from immunology to cancer cell mutation. Sometimes I have to go to Carle hospital and Davita Clinic to collect data from dialysis patients. These lab practices give me strong research background and offer me chances to choose whichever specific fields I want to get in to in the future. Last but not least, I spend over 180 hours in different hospitals and facilities shadowing doctors. All of the above reduce my future income risk as it increases my chances to get into a better medical school. As for now, my debt only limit to my car loans and house rent. I am lucky enough that my parents are capable to pay for my medical school tuition. Therefore, I firmly believe that the choices that I made will ensure that I will have a content life if I don’t quit in the middle.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Blog Post Reflection

When going over the previous blog posts that I have written, I think they do share some small themes or similarities. I have to admit that I didn’t do a good job in posting blogs as the class requirement due to my extremely busy medical school application and interview. However, I would still think of examples for those blogs that I missed and participated in the class discussion. I think the connections between my previous blogs are my personal experiences, and I really try to give details to readers so that they can understand what I am trying to express out of the text. For instance, in my blog post “Experience with Organizations and Transaction Costs”, I talked about my working experience as a shift leader at Aplus Karaoke. I didn’t expect most readers know the environment of a standard Karaoke business, but I am sure with my explanations of my trainings and duties, most readers will know what it is like to work in a busy and high pressure place.

As for connecting what I wrote to the course themes, I think there are many ways to do it. At the very beginning of writing posts, I just simply answered the prompts just like answering different short essay questions. However, in this way, it was hard for me to figure out the connections between my posts and our course materials. Later, I figured out that it would much better if I treated the prompt as one big thesis. Each small question should be treated as a small topic and eventually guided me to evolve my thoughts to readers. For example, in my post about experience with organizations, I put a lot of effort in connecting the team configuration to my own experience. However, I didn’t go further after my work description. I should have made a contrast what it is like when it is very busy from what it is like when things are slower.

As I have missed two blogs posting, I can’t really say there is an obvious evolve. However, my thoughts on organizing the content and getting prepared for the prompt are evolved. As I mentioned above, initially I just simply answered the prompts. Now I will try going further, making conclusions, after writing examples. I believe this will not only help me understand the course but also deliver clearer messages to readers. I think I would prefer more “open” prompts which don’t have standard answers. I think these prompts can allow me to know more about other people’s thoughts and contracts their thoughts to mine.