Remarkably, this is the 1000th post on the Lawrence Economics Blog. Wow.
Along the way, we have demonstrated that economists are in surprising agreement about a surprising number of things, though we tend to differ from Lawrence students. We have had some actual economic analysis, such as explaining Giffen Goods to Matthew Yglesias, evaluating the argument that a great wine shortage is upon us, and reviewing Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers.
I’d probably be remiss if I didn’t mention something about innovation, such as our (okay, my) continuing fascination with Joseph Schumpeter, as well as these remarkable spitballing roots of an American icon.
He’s a doctor, he’s a college professor, but he’s also a sort of rough and tumble guy.
Spanning the globe, we have taken on the literal meaning of place names, challenged the conventional wisdom on why people (such as Jonathan) vote the way they do, and normalized the data for Olympic medal counts so that Hungary might fare a little better.
No doubt our most intriguing posts are our continuing series on moral (and other) hazards. Here’s a taste:
L.W. Burdeshaw, an insurance agent in Chipley, told the St. Petersburg Times in 1982 that his list of policyholders included the following: a man who sawed off his left hand at work, a man who shot off his foot while protecting chickens, a man who lost his hand while trying to shoot a hawk, a man who somehow lost two limbs in an accident involving a rifle and a tractor, and a man who bought a policy and then, less than 12 hours later, shot off his foot while aiming at a squirrel.
“There was another man who took out insurance with 28 or 38 companies,” said Murray Armstrong, an insurance official for Liberty National. “He was a farmer and ordinarily drove around the farm in his stick shift pickup. This day – the day of the accident – he drove his wife’s automatic transmission car and he lost his left foot. If he’d been driving his pickup, he’d have had to use that foot for the clutch. He also had a tourniquet in his pocket. We asked why he had it and he said, ‘Snakes. In case of snake bite.’ He’d taken out so much insurance he was paying premiums that cost more than his income. He wasn’t poor, either. Middle class. He collected more than $1-million from all the companies. It was hard to make a jury believe a man would shoot off his foot.”
Who knew people were so
crazy, er, rational? Anyway, Incentives matter!