Since all of us have better things to do, we asked our robot intern Watson to find this week’s most interesting news stories and compile them into a short list for your convenience. Here’s what he came up with.
Hayek, Friedman and the Illusion of Conservative Economics, from Robert M. Solow at The New Republic
While it’s actually a book review of “The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression” by Angus Burgin, which you might or might not care about, it offers a great amount of insight and personal anecdotes by one of the great economists of the 20th century, Robert “neoclassical growth model” Solow. When Nobel Laureates speak (or write, in this case), it’s never a bad idea to listen.
Dividing the Chores: Who Should Cook and Who Should Clean?, from Emily Oster at Slate
Amusing yet thoroughly serious thoughts on how household chores should be assigned in order to achieve what we all love: economic efficiency. Hint: think comparative advantage.
Economics: Micro Stars, Macro Effects, from The Economist
Economists have long gone beyond their traditional lines of work to proove to the world that we can do more than fail at forecasting the future. “The desire to use theory to challenge conventional thinking is one reason economists are valuable to firms” is one of the more memorable lines in this article describing the ways economists are changing the way companies do business, from helping Yahoo cope with peaks in internet traffic to finding out how much information you should give away when selling your old car.
Bargain Like a Somali, from The Economist
How is the price on ransom payments between Somali pirates and shipowners decided? By drinking lots of qat, apparently. This article presents the findings of a new paper on the subject.