Have you ever wondered why there is a light in your fridge but not in your freezer? Or why 24-hour shops bother having locks on their doors? Or why soft drink cans are cylindrical, but milk cartons are square? The answer is simple: economics. For years, economist Robert Frank has been encouraging his students to ask questions about the conundrums and strange occurrences they encounter in everyday life and to try to explain them using economics. Now in this bestselling book, he shares the most intriguing - and bizarre - questions and the economic principles that answer them to reveal why many of the most puzzling parts of everyday life actually make perfect (economic) sense.
The Economic Naturalist is back with a whole batch of intriguing new questions and answers, drawn from his New York Times columns, that reveal how we really behave when confronted with economic choices. Do tax cuts for business owners really stimulate employment? Why shouldn't we just leave everything to the market? And why do we all save so little? Discover the answers to these and many more questions. With his trademark plain-speaking wit and insight, Robert Frank shows through dozens of examples how our personal choices about everything from paying for food and housing to large-scale policy decisions about taxation and the regulation of markets all boil down to the same simple economic principles, often resulting in the same wasteful mistakes. He shows that while our desires may be boundless, the resources necessary to satisfy them remain limited and argues that choices are always best made pragmatically - by carefully weighing the costs and benefits of competing options. This is a fascinating, entertaining and revealing collection full of insights that have more bearing than ever on our bank balances and our personal happiness.
Ask a dozen talking heads about the course of action we should take to right the economy and you'll get thirteen different answers. But what if we possessed a handful of basic principles that could guide our decisions—both the personal ones about how to save and spend but also those national ones that have been capturing the headlines? Robert H. Frank has been illustrating these principles longer and more clearly than anyone else. In The Economic Naturalist's Field Guide, he reveals how they play out in Washington, on Wall Street, and in our own lives, covering everything from healthcare to tax policy to everyday decisions about what we do with our money. In today's uncertain economic climate, The Economic Naturalist's Field Guide's insights have more bearing than ever on our pocketbooks, policies, and personal happiness.
The playful guide to how economics explains the simple but profound ideas that govern our world. 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. This book employs basic economic principles to answer scores of intriguing questions, and, along the way, introduces key ideas such as the cost-benefit principle, the "no cash left on the table" principle, and the law of one price. There is no more delightful and painless way of learning these fundamental principles.--From publisher description.
What Charles Darwin can teach us about building a fairer society Who was the greater economist—Adam Smith or Charles Darwin? The question seems absurd. Darwin, after all, was a naturalist, not an economist. But Robert Frank, New York Times economics columnist and best-selling author of The Economic Naturalist, predicts that within the next century Darwin will unseat Smith as the intellectual founder of economics. The reason, Frank argues, is that Darwin's understanding of competition describes economic reality far more accurately than Smith's. And the consequences of this fact are profound. Indeed, the failure to recognize that we live in Darwin's world rather than Smith's is putting us all at risk by preventing us from seeing that competition alone will not solve our problems. Smith's theory of the invisible hand, which says that competition channels self-interest for the common good, is probably the most widely cited argument today in favor of unbridled competition—and against regulation, taxation, and even government itself. But what if Smith's idea was almost an exception to the general rule of competition? That's what Frank argues, resting his case on Darwin's insight that individual and group interests often diverge sharply. Far from creating a perfect world, economic competition often leads to "arms races," encouraging behaviors that not only cause enormous harm to the group but also provide no lasting advantages for individuals, since any gains tend to be relative and mutually offsetting. The good news is that we have the ability to tame the Darwin economy. The best solution is not to prohibit harmful behaviors but to tax them. By doing so, we could make the economic pie larger, eliminate government debt, and provide better public services, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. That's a bold claim, Frank concedes, but it follows directly from logic and evidence that most people already accept. In a new afterword, Frank further explores how the themes of inequality and competition are driving today's public debate on how much government we need.
"From New York Times bestselling author and economics columnist Robert Frank, a revelatory look at the power and potential of social context. As psychologists have long understood, social environments profoundly shape our behavior, sometimes for the better, but often for the worse. Less widely noted is that social influence is a two-way street: Our environments are in large part themselves a product of the choices we make. Society embraces regulations that limit physical harm to others, as when smoking restrictions are defended as protecting bystanders from secondhand smoke. But we have been slower to endorse parallel steps that discourage harmful social environments, as when regulators fail to note that the far greater harm caused when someone becomes a smoker is to make others more likely to smoke. In Under the Influence, Robert Frank attributes this regulatory asymmetry to the laudable belief that individuals should accept responsibility for their own behavior. Yet that belief, he argues, is fully compatible with public policies that encourage supportive social environments. Most parents hope, for example, that their children won't grow up to become smokers, bullies, tax cheats, sexual predators, or problem drinkers. But each of these hopes is less likely to be realized whenever such behaviors become more common. Such injuries are hard to measure, Frank acknowledges, but that's no reason for policymakers to ignore them. The good news is that a variety of simple policy measures could foster more supportive social environments without ushering in the dreaded nanny state or demanding painful sacrifices from anyone"--
Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More Than the Rest of Us
Author: Philip J Cook
Publisher: Random House
Category: Business & Economics
Why does the top one per cent of the population capture such a disproportionate amount of the wealth? Why do top athletes win dozens of sponsorship deals, yet competitors who finish just moments behind struggle to attract a single deal? Why does one product become a runaway success, while others flounder and fail? The answer is the rise of 'winner-take-all' markets, in which small differences in performance lead to huge differences in reward. More relevant today than ever before, this fascinating book shows how in business, as in sport, thousands are competing for only a handful of top prizes. As Robert Frank and Philip J Cook reveal, this relentless emphasis on coming out on top has shaped our society and how we define success in troubling ways, creating growing income inequality and an enormous misallocation of talent, as more and more gifted people seek the big bucks and limelight of lucrative yet non-essential careers while vital professions scramble to attract staff. But there are measures we can take to create a more equitable and more prosperous future, and The Winner-Take-All Society shows the way.
Market feedback tells us that relevance of the material covered, clarity, pacing and even a bit of "show and tell" will draw students into the text and provide the motivation to learn economics. Frank and Bernanke, Principles of Microeconomics, Second Canadian Edition , addresses these needs by focusing on the following: Active learning approach: New concepts are introduced by means of simple examples, usually numerical, which are developed step-by-step in the text. Many examples are followed by exercises that allow students to test their understanding. The worked examples (the show and tell) put the theory into practice. Economics reflects the real world: Through the Economic Naturalist feature (mini-cases), students are encouraged to become economic naturalists who employ basic economic principles to understand and explain what they see around them. These examples show students the relevance of economics to their world. Core Principles: A set of six core principles are integrated throughout the text to ensure that students develop a strong understanding of these core economic ideas. Accessible text with electronic support: The Online Learning Centre provides faculty and students with a comprehensive set of resources to engage students in the study of economics.
Robert Frank' s Microeconomics and Behavior covers the essential topics of microeconomics while exploring the relationship between economics analysis and human behavior. The book' s clear narrative appeals to students, and its numerous examples help students develop economic intuition. This book introduces modern topics not often found in intermediate textbooks. Its focus throughout is to develop a student' s capacity to " think like an economist."
Market feedback tells us that relevance of the material covered, clarity, pacing and even a bit of “show and tell” will draw students into the text and provide the motivation to learn economics. Frank and Bernanke, Macroeconomics, Second Canadian Edition, addresses these needs by focusing on the following:• Active learning approach: New concepts are introduced by means of simple examples, usually numerical, which are developed step-by-step in the text. Many examples are followed by exercises that allow students to test their understanding. The worked examples (the show and tell) put the theory into practice. This system also includes exercises, similar to the worked examples, for students to practice on. Solutions to the Exercises are found at the end of each chapter. • Economics reflect the real world: Through the Economic Naturalist feature (minicases), students are encouraged to become economic naturalists who employ basic economic principles to understand and explain what they see around them. These examples show students the relevance of economics to their world. Core concepts are reinforced in the discussion of each of these minicases. Additional Economic Naturalist examples are found on the Student web page and in the Instructor’s Manual. • Core Principles: A set of six core principles are integrated throughout the text to ensure that students develop a strong understanding of these core economic ideas.• Accessible text with electronic support: The Online Learning Centre provides faculty and students with a comprehensive set of resources to engage student’s in the study of economics.
A new luxury fever has America in its grip--the past two decades have witnessed a spectacular and uninterrupted rise in luxury consumption. Ordinary, functional goods are no longer acceptable. Our cars have gotten larger, heavier, and far more expensive. As the super rich set the pace, everyone else spends furiously in a competitive echo of wastefulness. The costs are enormous: we spend more time at work, leaving less time for family and friends, less time for exercise. Most of us have been forced to save less and spend and borrow much more. Frank offers the first comprehensive and accessible summary of scientific evidence that our spending choices are not making us as happy and as healthy as they could. The good news is that we can do something about it. Luxury Fever boldly offers a way to curb the excess and restore the true value of money.
From New York Times bestselling author and economics columnist Robert Frank, a compelling book that explains why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in their success, why that hurts everyone, and what we can do about it How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success—and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy. Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones—and enormous income differences—over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways. But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year—more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, noncontroversial steps. Compellingly readable, Success and Luck shows how a more accurate understanding of the role of chance in life could lead to better, richer, and fairer economies and societies.
The turn of the twenty-first century witnessed a spectacular rise in gross consumption. With the super-rich setting the pace, everyone spent furiously in a desperate attempt to keep up. As cars and houses grew larger and more expensive, the costs were enormous--not only monetarily but also socially. Consumers spent more time at work and less time with their family and friends; they saved less money and borrowed more. In this book, Robert Frank presents the first comprehensive and accessible account of these financial choices. Frank uses scientific evidence to demonstrate how these spending patterns have not made us happier or healthier. Luxury Fever offers an exit from the rat race, suggesting ways to curb the culture of excess and restore true value to our lives.
Drawing on research Robert Frank has conducted and published since 1990, he challenges the familiar homo economicus stereotype by describing how people create bonds that sustain cooperation in one-shot prisoner's dilemmas.
Best-selling books such as Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist have paved the way for the flourishing economics-made-fun genre. While books like these present economics as a strong and explanatory science, the ongoing economic crisis has exposed the shortcomings of economics to the general public. In the face of this crisis, many people, including well-known economists such as Paul Krugman, have started to express their doubts about whether economics is a success as a science. As well as academic papers, newspaper columns with a large audience have discussed the failure of economic to predict and explain ongoing trends. The emerging picture is somewhat confusing: economics-made-fun books present economics as a method of thinking that can successfully explain everyday and "freaky" phenomena. On the other hand, however, economics seems to fail in addressing and explaining the most pressing matters related to the field of economics itself. This book explores the confusion created by this contradictory picture of economics. Could a science that cannot answer its own core questions really be used to explain the logic of everyday life? This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Economic Methodology.
Financial disasters--and stories of the greedy bankers who precipitated them--seem to underscore the idea that self-interest will always trump concerns for the greater good. Indeed, this idea is supported by the prevailing theories in both economics and evolutionary biology. But is it valid? In What Price the Moral High Ground?, economist and social critic Robert Frank challenges the notion that doing well is accomplished only at the expense of doing good. Frank explores exciting new work in economics, psychology, and biology to argue that honest individuals often succeed, even in highly competitive environments, because their commitment to principle makes them more attractive as trading partners. Drawing on research he has conducted and published over the past decade, Frank challenges the familiar homo economicus stereotype by describing how people create bonds that sustain cooperation in one-shot prisoner's dilemmas. He goes on to describe how people often choose modestly paid positions in the public and nonprofit sectors over comparable, higher-paying jobs in the for-profit sector; how studying economics appears to inhibit cooperation; how social norms often deter opportunistic behavior; how a given charitable organization manages to appeal to donors with seemingly incompatible motives; how concerns about status and fairness affect salaries in organizations; and how socially responsible firms often prosper despite the higher costs associated with their business practices. Frank's arguments have important implications for the conduct of leaders in private as well as public life. Tossing aside the model of the self-interested homo economicus, Frank provides a tool for understanding how to better structure organizations, public policies, and even our own lives.
In recent years, innovative texts in mathematics, science, foreign languages, and other fields have achieved dramatic pedagogical gains by abandoning the traditional encyclopedic approach in favor of attempting to teach a short list of core principles in depth. Two well-respected writers and researchers, Bob Frank and Ben Bernanke, have shown that the less-is-more approach affords similar gains in introductory economics. Although recent editions of a few other texts have paid lip service to this new approach, Frank/Bernanke is by far the best thought out and best executed principles text in this mold. Avoiding excessive reliance on formal mathematical derivations, it presents concepts intuitively through examples drawn from familiar contexts. The authors introduce a well-articulated short list of core principles and reinforcing them by illustrating and applying each in numerous contexts. Students are periodically asked to apply these principles to answer related questions, exercises, and problems. The text also encourages students to become "Economic Naturalists," people who employ basic economic principles to understand and explain what they observe in the world around them. An economic naturalist understands, for example, that infant safety seats are required in cars but not in airplanes because the marginal cost of space to accommodate these seats is typically zero in cars but often hundreds of dollars in airplanes. Such examples engage student interest while teaching them to see each feature of their economic landscape as the reflection of an implicit or explicit cost-benefit calculation. The Second Edition of Frank/Bernanke follows the successful First Edition with several pedagogical improvements. Based on reviewer feedback, this edition offers (1) even more streamlined coverage of the cost-benefit approach in the introductory chapter; (2) exercises that are more closely tied to the examples; (3) expanded narrative explanations of important principles, making them more accessible to average students; and (4) expanded coverage of several key topics [see below]. The result is a revision that is motivating to students, an effective text for teaching, and an exciting first course in Economics.
Excerpt from The Naturalist for 1917 Trans. Yorks. Nat. Union. Part I. Naturalists' Journal. Vol. I. W. Smith's New Geological Atlas of England and Wales. Frizinghall Naturalist. Vol. Part 1 of Vol. II. (lithographed). Illustrated Scientific News. 1902-4. (set). Journal Keighley Naturalists' Society. 4to. Part 1. Cleveland Lit. Phil. Soc. Trans. Science Section or others. Proc. Yorks. Nat. Club (york). Set; 1867-70. Keeping's Handbook to Nat. Hist. Collections. (york Museum). Huddersfield Arch. And Topog. Society. 4 Reports. (1865 First Report, Goole Scientific Society. The Naturalists' Record. Set. The Natural History Teacher (huddersfield). Vols. I.-II. The Economic Naturalist (huddersfield). Vol. I. The Naturalists' Guide (huddersfield). Set. The Naturalists Almanac (huddersfield). 1867. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.