An economist's version of The Way Things Work, this engaging volume is part field guide to economics and part expose of the economic principles lurking behind daily events, explaining everything from traffic jams to high coffee prices. The ...
Undercover Economist is for anyone who's wondered why the gap between rich and poor nations is so great, or why they can't seem to find a decent second-hand car, or how to outwit Starbucks. This book offers the hidden story behind these and other questions, as economist Tim Harford ranges from Africa, Asia, Europe, and of course the United States to reveal how supermarkets, airlines, and coffee chains--to name just a few--are vacuuming money from our wallets. Harford punctures the myths surrounding some of today's biggest controversies, including the high cost of health-care; he reveals why certain environmental laws can put a smile on a landlord's face; and he explains why some industries can have high profits for innocent reasons, while in other industries something sinister is going on. Covering an array of economic concepts including scarce resources, market power, efficiency, price gouging, market failure, inside information, and game theory, Harford sheds light on how these forces shape our day-to-day lives, often without our knowing it. Showing us the world through the eyes of an economist, Tim Harford reveals that everyday events are intricate games of negotiations, contests of strength, and battles of wits. Written with a light touch and sly wit, The Undercover Economist turns "the dismal science" into a true delight.
I had great expectations from this book. I thought it would be as funny and as interesting as "Freakonomics."Unfortunately, the author cannot set a uniform tone in this essay. At times he can be super-partes and show how ignorance (meaning: lack of
..."ance (meaning: lack of mutual information) can affect the efficiency of exchanges. Other times, instead, he is clearly taking sides. He likes Gordon Brown and he will spend pages and pages explaining how his government has been better than New Zealand's, Australia's, and the USA's in setting up an auction for 3G licenses. You would expect that, since he's a British Labourist and there may be some bias involved, this didn't go on for pages, but it does.
Harford likes London's congestion charge and he spends pages saying it. He asks himself the question: "what about the rich being able to allow the congestion charge as they want?" (which is my main concern about these charges) but he replies quickly "It's not true that the rich do not care what they spend." But they could!
On the other hand, the first pages of "Adapt", which are attached to this book as a "teaser", look much more promising. There, it seems the tone is much clearer and quite an original theory is well explained. Will read!Continua...Nascondi
This book starts brilliantly, and draws your attention to continue reading, with lot of daily examples, such as the "price targetting policies" of organic food, fair trade coffee, packaging (design does not cost much, but poor design can help to
..." deter customers who are willing to pay more), second hand car trade (insider info to distinguish peaches from lemons with subtle accreditation such as beautiful showroom for long term business?)
The chapter on globalization provides food for thought. It introduces the concept of comparative advanatage in global trade. Both parties are better off with nobody worse off. Ban/tariffs on import is in fact a ban/tariffs over its export - who on world wants others currencies if they can't buy anything?
However, my interest is fading fast when the examples become more complicated in the next few chapters. If the write could be more concise I would give a better rating.Continua...Nascondi
Wow, this is a very carefully planned book. Tim Harford managed to start from your morning coffee, traffic congestion, etc to bring up the economic theories and explanation underneath... and he gradually take us to a full theory on how economy
..." should work.
Harford is not shy in front of political correctness or ethical taboo... this is very impressive.