Thursday, September 07, 2006

 

Substitutability

This is interesting article from Slate. It was going around the JLF email and I don't think anybody else has blogged on it yet (if so apologies).

Perhaps not appropriate at work? -- you be the judge.

Comments:
I thought this was a cool article.
 
Indeed. Tim Hartford is always solid.

Slate has a tradition of having publishing articles by good economists.

Herb Stein, Paul Krugman, Steven Landsburg, Tyler Cowen, and a couple of others.

----

But I wonder why Hartford seems to casually brush aside the argument that a change in sexual preferences could have something to do with the bj trend.

Gary Becker, I think, first established this approach. If I remember correctly, his argument went something like “a change in preferences could be used to explain anything and therefore can explain nothing.”

I think that could be true, but isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration? Obviously, preferences do change for individuals (introspection tells us that) and such changes can move in the same direction as entire groups of people (observation tells us that). So why ignore the role of preferences all together? Sure, changes in preferences could be incredibly hard to measure, but is that really new?
 
About halfway through this article started reminding me of "Freakonomics." Still, interesting, and more than plausible.
 
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