The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life

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Simon and Schuster, 2012 - 316 páginas
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Seat belts cause accidents because well-protected drivers take more risks. This widely documented fact comes as a surprise to most people, but not to economists, who have learned, perhaps better than most, to take seriously the proposition that people respond to incentives in complicated ways. In The Armchair Economist, Steven E. Landsburg shows how economic thinking illuminates the entire range of human behavior. But instead of focusing on the workings of financial markets, international trade, and other topics distant from the experience of most readers, Landsburg mines the details of daily life to reveal what the laws of economics tell us about ourselves. As Landsburg shows, some behavior that strikes most people as utterly unremarkable is quite extraordinary when seen through economists' eyes. Why, for example, does popcorn cost so much at the movie theater? The "obvious" answer is that the theater owner has a monopoly. But if that were the whole story then he would charge a monopoly price for use of the restrooms as well. When a sudden frost destroys much of the Florida orange crop and prices skyrocket, journalists often point to "obvious" evidence of monopoly power. Economists see just the opposite: If growers had monopoly power, they wouldn't have to wait for a frost to raise prices. Why do restaurants earn higher profits on liquor than on food? Why are some goods sold at auction and others at pre-announced prices? Why don't concert promoters raise ticket prices even when they sell out months in advance? Why do box seats at the ballpark sell out before bleachers do? Why do corporations confer huge pensions on failed executives? Landsburg wields the tools of the economist's tradeto solve these puzzles, often reaching conclusions that are at odds with our intuition. After revealing economic principles in readily apparent phenomena of everyday life, Landsburg applies these same principles to newspaper and media accounts of public issues. --Publisher description.
 

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LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - wishanem - LibraryThing

I generally enjoy books that cover Economics topics for laymen, but I didn't like this one very much. The basics of the field are presented in a clear way, but the examples were often oversimplified ... Leer comentario completo

LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - Pascale1812 - LibraryThing

"Guided by the right theory of cornflakes - which is that families buy cornflakes in order to eat them and won't buy more than they want to eat - he might have realized that letting the government do ... Leer comentario completo

Páginas seleccionadas

Contenido

or Choose a Movie
25
Learning What Its
53
HOW TO READ THE NEWS
113
from the Media
142
HOW MARKETS WORK
199
THE PITFALLS OF SCIENCE
255
How Economists Go Wrong
268
THE PITFALLS OF RELIGION
277
Notes on Sources
291
Index
303
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Acerca del autor (2012)

Steven E. Landsburg is a professor of economics at the University of Rochester. He is the author of More Sex Is Safer Sex and The Big Questions. He has written for Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate. He lives in Rochester, New York.

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