Incentives Matter. All Else Is Commentary Or Is It?

Economist Steven Landsburg recently argued that economics can be summarized in two words “incentives matter.”  He further noted that “all else is commentary.”  Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist, argues in today’s Financial Times that he accepts the notion that incentives matter, but “the devil is in the details.”  He chides himself and other economists (as well as bankers and policy makers) for not understanding the painful relevance of such detail.  In short, forewarned should mean forearmed.