Get Armchair Economist PDF

By Steven E. Landsburg

ISBN-10: 0029177758

ISBN-13: 9780029177754

Seat belts reason injuries simply because well-protected drivers take extra dangers. This largely documented truth comes as a shock to most folks, yet to not economists, who've realized, maybe higher than such a lot, to take heavily the proposition that folks reply to incentives in advanced methods. within the Armchair Economist, Steven E. Landsburg exhibits how financial considering illuminates the complete diversity of human habit. yet rather than concentrating on the workings of economic markets, overseas exchange, and different subject matters far-off from the event of such a lot readers, Landsburg mines the main points of way of life to bare what the legislation of economics let us know approximately ourselves. As Landsburg exhibits, a few habit that moves most folks as completely unremarkable is kind of outstanding while visible via economists' eyes. Why, for instance, does popcorn rate lots on the movie show? The "obvious" solution is that the theater proprietor has a monopoly. but when that have been the full tale then he could cost a monopoly expense to be used of the restrooms in addition. while a surprising frost destroys a lot of the Florida orange crop and costs skyrocket, reporters usually element to "obvious" facts of monopoly strength. Economists see simply the other: If growers had monopoly strength, they wouldn't need to watch for a frost to elevate costs. Why do eating places earn greater earnings on liquor than on nutrition? Why are a few items offered at public sale and others at pre-announced costs? Why don't live performance promoters increase price tag costs even if they promote out months upfront? Why do field seats on the ballpark promote out earlier than bleachers do? Why do firms confer large pensions on failed executives? Landsburg wields the instruments of the economist's tradeto clear up those puzzles, usually achieving conclusions which are at odds with our instinct. After revealing financial rules in without difficulty obvious phenomena of way of life, Landsburg applies those comparable ideas to newspaper and media money owed of public concerns. Contesting the wid

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5 billion. Anybody who has given reasoned consideration to the underlying issues must have some thoughts that bear on the ideal income distribution in an imaginary world. Policymakers need a dose of abstraction to keep their heads out of the clouds. It is easy to get carried away making long lists of pros and cons, all the while forgetting that sooner or later we must decide how many cons it takes to outweigh a particular pro. We can commission experts to estimate costs and benefits, but when the costs are measured in apples and the benefits in oranges, mere arithmetic can't illuminate the path to righteousness.

And if you are going to argue that a program does more good than harm, you must at least implicitly take a stand on a fundamental philosophical issue. Put most succinctly, the issue is: What does more mean? Suppose it can be demonstrated that the candidate's health care plan would deliver additional health care worth $1 billion to the nation's poorest families. 5 billion. Does this program do more good than harm? It all depends on what you mean by more. What is the right standard for weighing one kind of cost against another kind of benefit?

Rawlsians argue that if we were stripped of all knowledge of individual circumstances, we would all agree on how the world should be. Observations of actual behavior can even help us guess what we would agree to. We know that when people can insure at fair odds against catastrophic diseases, they typically do so. It is reasonable to infer that if we could insure against being born untalented or handicapped or otherwise unlucky, we would do that as well. Behind the veil, such insurance would be available: we could all agree that those born smart and healthy would share their incomes with the rest.

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Armchair Economist by Steven E. Landsburg


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