9780465003570

The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780465003570

  • ISBN10:

    0465003575

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 4/7/2008
  • Publisher: PERSEUS BOOKS

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Summary

Why do the keypads on drive-up cash machines have Braille dots? Why are round-trip fares from Orlando to Kansas City higher than those from Kansas City to Orlando? For decades, Robert Frank has been asking his economics students to pose and answer questions like these as a way of learning how economic principles operate in the real world-which they do everywhere, all the time. Once you learn to think like an economist, all kinds of puzzling observations start to make sense. Drive-up ATM keypads have Braille dots because it's cheaper to make the same machine for both drive-up and walk-up locations. Travelers from Kansas City to Orlando pay less because they are usually price-sensitive tourists with many choices of destination, whereas travelers originating from Orlando typically choose Kansas City for specific family or business reasons. The Economic Naturalist employs basic economic principles to answer scores of intriguing questions from everyday life, and, along the way, introduces key ideas such as the cost-benefit principle, the "no cash on the table" principle, and the law of one price. This is as delightful and painless a way to learn fundamental economics as there is.

Author Biography

Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. His “Economic Scene” column appears monthly in the New York Times. His previous books include The Winner-Take-All Society (with Philip Cook), Luxury Fever, and Principles of Economics (with Ben Bernanke). Frank’s many awards include the Apple Distinguished Teaching Award and the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Rectangular Milk Cartons and Cylindrical Soda Cans: The Economics of Product Designp. 13
Free Peanuts and Expensive Batteries: Supply and Demand in Actionp. 29
Why Equally Talented Workers Often Earn Different Salaries and Other Mysteries of the World of Workp. 51
Why Some Buyers Pay More Than Others: The Economics of Discount Pricingp. 71
Arms Races and the Tragedy of the Commonsp. 93
The Myth of Ownershipp. 109
Decoding Marketplace Signalsp. 133
The Economic Naturalist Hits the Roadp. 149
Psychology Meets Economicsp. 163
The Informal Market for Personal Relationshipsp. 183
Two Originalsp. 197
Parting Thoughtsp. 201
Notesp. 205
Indexp. 219
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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