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Armchair Economist : Economics And Everyday Experience - 95 edition

by Steven Landsburg

Armchair Economist : Economics And Everyday Experience (ISBN10: 0029177766; ISBN13: 9780029177761)
ISBN13: 978-0029177761
ISBN10: 0029177766

This edition has also been released as:
ISBN13: 978-0029177754
ISBN10: 0029177758

Summary: 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 ...show moremarkets, 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 trade to 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. The author aims to demonstrate "the economist's way of thinking about everyday occurrences. . . . {This} compilation of questions {ranges} from why popcorn costs so much at movie theaters and why rock concerts sell out to why laws against polygamy are detrimental to women."(Libr J)Index. Witty economists are about as easy to find as anorexic mezzo-sopranos, natty mujahedeen, and cheerful Philadelphians. But Steven E. Landsburg...is one economist who fits the bill. In a wide-ranging, easily digested, unbelievably contrarian survey of everything from why popcorn at movie houses costs so much to why recycling may actually reduce the number of trees on the planet, the University of Rochester professor valiantly turns the discussion of vexing economic questions into an activity that ordinary people might enjoy.

-- Joe Queenan, The Wall Street Journal
The Armchair Economist is a wonderful little book, written by someone for whom English is a first (and beloved) language, and it contains not a single graph or equation...Landsburg presents fascinating concepts in a form easily accessible to noneconomists.

-- Erik M. Jensen, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
...enormous fun from its opening page...Landsburg has done something extraordinary: He has expounded basic economic principles with wit and verve.

-- Dan Seligman, Fortune Most people associate economics with large-scale wonders like the stock market, big business, and international trade. The Armchair Economist shows how the laws of economics reveal themselves in the details of everyday life. Landsburg explains many key ideas in chapters that read more like detective stories than textbook lessons. ...show less

Edition/Copyright: 95
Cover: Paperback
Publisher: Free Press
Year Published: 1995
International: No

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