I wrote a few weeks ago about why it might not be the best idea to play board games involving play money with an economist. My explanation was inflation-related, but apparently there are other reasons. Reader Kit points me to NPR’s Planet Money:
If you think a regular Monopoly game takes forever, try playing with two economics professors. Just picking out the game tokens prompts a lesson in choice theory. According to one of them, it “illustrates a tremendous diversity of preferences in people, even about something as mundane as this.”
Yup, sounds about right. (On a side note, why is the scottie dog not more popular?) The whole article is pretty funny, especially the part where the economists start making up rules. Also, if you ever doubted that economists were always looking for, oh what are they called, “teachable moments,” I present the following:
But looking at Monopoly in post-recession 2010, the rules seem like a sure way to crash an economy: The bank can never run out of money, mortgages are easy to get, and when you build houses the rent always goes up.
“You might learn, if you are good at Monopoly, to think that real estate is a really good investment — a strategic insight that would have served you very badly, at least recently,” Roberts says.
Sigh. Dear Profs. Hammermesh and Roberts: If you’re going to go making up rules and such, might I suggest you incorporate a drinking game component. It seems to me like both of you could stand to relax a little.