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An economist's version of The Way Things Work, this engaging volume is part field guide to economics and part expose of the economic principles lurking behind daily events, explaining everything from traffic jams to high coffee prices.
The Undercover Economist is for anyone who's wondered why the gap between rich and poor nations is so great, or why they can't seem to find a decent second-hand car, or how to outwit Starbucks. This book offers the hidden story behind these and other questions, as economist Tim Harford ranges from Africa, Asia, Europe, and of course the United States to reveal how supermarkets, airlines, and coffee chains--to name just a few--are vacuuming money from our wallets. Harford punctures the myths surrounding some of today's biggest controversies, including the high cost of health-care; he reveals why certain environmental laws can put a smile on a landlord's face; and he explains why some industries can have high profits for innocent reasons, while in other industries something sinister is going on. Covering an array of economic concepts including scarce resources, market power, efficiency, price gouging, market failure, inside information, and game theory, Harford sheds light on how these forces shape our day-to-day lives, often without our knowing it.
Showing us the world through the eyes of an economist, Tim Harford reveals that everyday events are intricate games of negotiations, contests of strength, and battles of wits. Written with a light touch and sly wit, The Undercover Economist turns "the dismal science" into a true delight.
"This is a book to savor."--Richard Lowenstein, New York Times
"A worthy and often entertaining attempt to render 'the dismal science' considerably less dismal."--Warren Bass, Washington Post Book World
"A playful guide to the economics of everyday life, and as such is something of an elder sibling to Steven Levitt's wild child, the hugely successful Freakonomics.... Harford does not take himself too seriously. He is at his best illuminating the economics of small things.... In general, as befits a covert operative, his tone is quizzical and low-key, rather than bombastic and judgmental. For anyone schooled in blackboard economics, The Undercover Economist succeeds in taking the chalkdust out of the subject."--The Economist
"The Undercover Economist is a rare specimen: a book on economics that will enthrall its readers. Beautifully written and argued, it brings the power of economics to life. This book should be required reading for every elected official, business leader, and university student."--Steven D. Levitt, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, and author of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
"Beautifully written.... An Economics 101 class, taught by the most popular professor on campus. Harford shows readers how to think like an economist, demonstrating how theories like David Ricardo's 1817 treatise on farm rents can be applied to coffee shop locations and the cost of oil.... If the ideas are allowed to penetrate, to sink into the arid topsoil of a mind too long out of school, they can change the way a reader sees the world. Once you understand that a 'green belt' of undeveloped land around a city drives up rents, you start seeing green belts everywhere."--Mary Wisniewski, Chicago Sun-Times
"Harford writes like a dream--and is also one of the leading economic thinkers of his generation. From his book I found out why there's a Starbucks on every corner, what Bob Geldof needs to
|Who Pays for Your Coffee?||p. 5|
|What Supermarkets Don't Want You to Know||p. 31|
|Perfect Markets and the "World of Truth"||p. 61|
|Crosstown Traffic||p. 79|
|The Inside Story||p. 109|
|Rational Insanity||p. 137|
|The Men Who Knew the Value of Nothing||p. 155|
|Why Poor Countries Are Poor||p. 177|
|Beer, Fries, and Globalization||p. 201|
|How China Grew Rich||p. 231|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Published: 1st November 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.2 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.54