Economists Do It With Models

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Adventures In Crowdsourcing, Economic Life Lessons Edition…

September 16th, 2011 · 9 Comments

The good news: I’ve been approached by a publisher about a book.

More good news: The publisher wants the book to be a series of short economic principles worth knowing in order to not suck at life. Okay, those were my words, not theirs. Their words were something more along the lines of economic principles in order to be able to read The Economist without getting a migraine. (Sidenote: the publisher is awesome- she’s British and asked if we had a magazine called The Economist in the US. She acted as though it was very mainstream or average in the UK, and I told her that if the average person in the UK reads The Economist then I am moving tomorrow.)

The bad news: In order for each of the principles to be short, there need to be 125 of them. I’m at 38 as I write this. (No, wait, 39. But still.)

In order to help ensure that my book is, well, relevant, I would love to get input from you guys- what have you learned about economics that is particularly vital to your ability to read the newspaper, follow politics, or be a wise consumer or investor? I’ve made my notes on the subject public via a Google document here, and I’d love your input, either as comments on the document or comments here.

Tags: Administrative

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dan // Sep 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    How about something on disinflation v deflation?

    I used to work on checkouts in a supermarket and constantly had conversations with customers where they said something along the lines of “they say inflation is going down but my shopping isn’t getting any cheaper”. This usually led to the customer hearing way more about inflation than they ever wanted to know.

  • 2 Tony // Sep 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    How to measure an Economy: GDP, GNP, CPI, WTF?

  • 3 wildpokerman // Sep 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    What about monopolistic competition? It is the most prevalent form of business in the US and you can go into a nice discussion of why restaurants always have empty tables in the afternoon.

  • 4 egblonder // Sep 17, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Organization and order without a central planner is one of the principles that really exemplifies the beauty of econ.

  • 5 Brandon // Sep 17, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I think an explanation of marginal tax rates should be included. I like the way Mankiw explains this…

    Sorry if you already included this on the list…I only skimmed it at this point. It looks like you have a lot to talk about it!

  • 6 Gene Hayward // Sep 17, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I dont think I saw “Rent-Seeking” on the list.

  • 7 Will // Sep 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    How about selection effects? I see them as nearly pervasive.

    I also second rent-seeking

  • 8 Jonathan // Sep 20, 2011 at 5:21 am

    effects of Fixed vs Floating exchange rates ?

  • 9 Punditus Maximus // Sep 21, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Market for Lemons!

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