Monday, January 4, 2010

is it chicken or egg for becoming an economist?

Are low-discount rate people attracted to economics, because of its emphasis on subtle and long-run costs-- or do economists become increasingly focused on subtle and long-run costs, including in their personal finances?

From Justin LaHart in the WSJ...

Academic economists gather in Atlanta this weekend for their annual meetings, always held the first weekend after New Year's Day. That's not only because it coincides with holidays at most universities. A post-holiday lull in business travel also puts hotel rates near the lowest point of the year.

Economists are often cheapskates.

The economists make cities bid against each other to hold their convention, and don't care so much about beaches, golf courses or other frills....

Some economists may be cheap, at least by the standards of other people, because of their training or a fascination with money and choices that drives them to the field....

In recent research, University of Washington economists Yoram Bauman and Elaina Rose found that economics majors were less likely to donate money to charity than students who majored in other fields. After majors in other fields took an introductory economics course, their propensity to give also fell....

University of Wisconsin sociologists Gerald Marwell and Ruth Ames, in a 1981 paper, found that in experiments, economics students showed a much higher propensity to free ride than other students....

Some dispute the notion that economists tend to be skinflints. "They aren't cheap," but they are concerned with a loss of economic efficiency, says Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "That means that they often fail to do the nice little social gifts that seem wasteful to economists."

And the principles that can make economists seem cheap sometimes lead them to hire help, because they are taught to value their own time....

Given their understanding of the odds of gambling, economists seldom frequent casinos, which is one reason the meeting isn't held in Las Vegas....

3 Comments:

At January 7, 2010 at 6:27 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

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At January 7, 2010 at 6:28 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

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At January 8, 2010 at 9:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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