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.
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.