Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I’ve noticed a pattern in gasoline prices since I started driving in 1990. Prices remain steady for a while, then they go up. They remain at that higher price for a short period of time, and then fall a bit. But never back to the price from which they were increased.

To take a recent example, before Katrina hit, prices down the street were around $2.799 per gallon. After Katrina, the prices jumped to $3.499 per gallon. Yesterday they fell to $3.199 per gallon. Buyers are relieved that prices went back down, and will accept this as the new norm.

It will be.

A Statistical Education

I have some statistical questions. Perhaps some freakonomicist would deign to answer them.

It is often asserted that teachers and college professors are more liberal than the general population. Perhaps nationally, but are they locally? I personally know teachers who are That is, does the distribution of college professors on the political spectrum reflect the distribution of the colleges themselves? Colleges tend to concentrate where the population does. For example, California (343) and New York (286) have a tremendous concentration of colleges compared to Alabama (71), and more than double that of Virginia (106). One would expect that teachers in a given area would tend to reflect the attitudes of those in that area: Do they?

This afternoon, during an earnest discussion with Larry Staton about school vouchers, I supposed that teacher salaries in New York City are higher than those in the metropolitan suburbs because of certain risks that those teachers assume. Is this so? A similar question may be asked of firefighters and police officers.