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About this Blog

This blog is exactly what the title suggests:

It contains the leftovers and tidbits that are of interest to me but that don't fit other outlets of which I have a few.

As a behavioral economist, I publish academic papers which are serious research (or so I'm told), but do not attract a wide audience (or so I assume).  I look forward to writing more freely here about what drives people to behave in ways that often contradict mainstream economic theory.  As someone with other diverse interests, ranging from Taekwon-do to food to fashion, I will also be leaving posts on a variety of random topics.

Finally, to clarify the seeming typo in the title of the blog: Evan is my son's name, and he is three at the time of this post.  Many posts here will have a theme of how to navigate and balance family, parenthood, career, and hobbies. There is no such thing as 'having it all', but there is such a thing as compromising to achieve balance.

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Facing the challenges of everyday life, Part 2

Fall of 2017: my closet is out of control.  Bursting at the seams with hardly ever-worn party dresses, jackets, and jumpsuits, it still manages to be completely devoid of options.  How is this possible, I muse, digging through the racks, laden with hangers, each carrying two or more items. Among the multitude of impulse buys and total duds, I locate that 15-year-old black jacket, two sizes too big and 20 dry cleans past its prime.  I wear it with a belt, and it looks ok.      Fast-forward one year: I no longer fall for impulse buys, and I almost never dry clean anything! Thank you, unlimited membership at Rent the Runway .   In a nutshell, I rent clothes, keep the four items I pick as long as I want to, and then return (no dry-cleaning required!).  As soon as the returns arrive back at the distribution center, I can pick my next items (conveniently "hearted" in the app).  First, this is a perfect mental replacement for shopping (hello, commitment device!).  I no longer go

Redefine “Promotable”

I only wrote one post in 2019.  It was not for lack of inspiration or important topics, but rather because writing op-eds is a “non-promotable” task for me. Other examples include serving on a committee, speaking on a panel, and talking to the press about research.  So what is  “ promotable, ” you might ask ?    For an economics professor, it’s research. Actually, not so much the research itself, but publishing said research. (Somewhat tangential, here is a piece on bias in publication in economics and how it relates to promotions.)  At some institutions, teaching counts too, as long as you aren’t doing it “too well” or too much, so as to not get pigeon-holed as “teaching faculty.” In the world outside of academia, non-promotable tasks may include things like organizing a social event for the firm or serving on a committee.   Broadly defined, these are tasks that benefit the organization but likely don’t contribute to someone’s performance evaluation and career advancement.   It tur

Why I chose left

    A few weeks ago, on March 1, 2019, I wrote a seemingly innocuous post on Facebook seeking my network’s opinions regarding my most recent professional photos.   Specifically, I wrote: “ Time to pick my new work profile pic! What looks more “professorial” - left or right? ”    The two photos are reproduced below.       Little did I know that this post would generate the greatest number of non-birthday comments ever (87!).   On Instagram, the same post got 25 comments. Without even realizing it, I was conducting a survey experiment.   The photo on the left displayed only a hint of a smile, chin up, and head slightly tilted to the right. The one on the right had me smiling a toothy smile, chin down, and head tilted left.   Otherwise, the pictures were identical, down to the arm fold, slightly unruly hair, and outfit.   (The only give-away that I didn’t originally plan this as an experiment was the fact that the two pictures were cropped differently, with the one on the left more