You have arrived at the web home of Noah Brier. This is mostly an archive of over a decade of blogging and other writing. You can read more about me or get in touch. If you want more recent writing of mine, most of that is at my BrXnd marketing x AI newsletter and Why Is This Interesting?, a daily email for the intellectually omnivorous.

October, 2009

Three-Cent Piece

A young economist proposes a more efficient coin system, including a three-cent piece.
Ha! I love this. Some young economist named Patrick DeJarnette looked into what combination of coins would be more efficient than our current 1, 5, 10, 25 setup. As he explains, "What's a little surprising is how inefficient our current setup is! It's only the 2,952-nd most efficient combination. There are effectively 152,096 different combinations of penny + three coins. In other words, it's only in the 98th percentile for efficiency." As the Stephen Levitt, the Freakonomics blogger observes, what might be funniest about that is that, "he [Patrick DeJarnette] finds that the current government solution for the coins we use is 98 percent efficient and thinks this is inefficient." Anyway, he also figures out the most efficient combination of coins: 1, 3, 11 and 37 which would officially make the US the most obnoxious place in the world (the combo leads to 4.1 coins per transaction). In the realm of reasonable coin amounts, 1, 5, 15 and 35 wins out at 4.5 coins, which is not too bad (and 1, 5, 10 and 30 is only slightly worse at 4.6). Anyway, here's to the three-cent piece.
October 6, 2009
Noah Brier | Thanks for reading. | Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.