Are You a Mac or a PC?

We’ve all heard it said before: Mac users and PC users are just different. But is it true? Before we get to the crux of the argument, let’s get some housekeeping out of the way: we’ll define a “PC” as a computer manufactured by any of a dozen companies that runs on the Microsoft Windows operating …

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The Unlikely Case of the Brick-and-Mortar Store with Lower Prices than Amazon

AAmericans love Amazon, and have demonstrated this affection with their wallets, making the Seattle-based online superstore extremely profitable. Each year, in fact, Amazon gets bigger relative to other online retailers, as consumers award it a larger share of their total online shopping budget. This means that each year, Amazon amasses a little more power, and …

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How Amazon Tricks its Customers into Believing its Prices are Lower than they Actually Are

Why do U.S. consumers shop at Amazon in numbers that are orders of magnitude greater than any other online retailer? There are many plausible reasons consumers might prefer Amazon over competing stores: its vast array of products, free shipping policy, fast shipping practice, Amazon Prime benefits, and useful product reviews, for instance. But the primary …

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An Appreciation of Popularity

The correlation between popularity and quality is tenuous at best. How often have excellent products died in the marketplace, while competing products of lesser quality have succeeded (I'm thinking Betamax, Kodak, and TiVo, to name a few)? How often, too, have movie stars achieved enormous popular success despite possessing little in the way of acting ability (my apologies to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone)? Popularity isn't …

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Do Americans Seek Out a Velvet Rope of Status in Suburbia?

Why do so many Americans choose to live in the suburbs, despite the increasingly long commute times and lack of community often associated with these places? Benjamin Ross, a Washington D.C.-based transit activist whose grass-roots lobbying efforts led to the planned Purple Line in Maryland, argues that suburbia has a persistent allure because it is …

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