Friday, October 22, 2010

The Economic Naturalist by Robert H. Frank

Economics has been called "the dismal science." As our economy continues to flounder, we certainly see the "dismal" part and if economics is still taught as it was when I was an undergraduate, the "science" part applies to the mind numbing mathematics involved. In The Economic Naturalist, Frank attempts to give economics a more understandable and human spin.
Frank asked his students at Cornell University to pose seeming economic paradoxes and research them. Questions such as, "Why are seat belts required in cars but not in school buses?" and "Why do airlines charge more for tickets purchased at the last minute while Broadway theaters follow the opposite practice?" and "Why are brown eggs more expensive than white ones?" are all answered here (you'll have to check the book out yourself to get the answers).
While this makes a very entertaining read, this book will not help students very much with their introductory courses in economics. It does provide some great food for thought about human nature and economic ideas.

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