On Economics

What I know about economics is pretty conventional, and what I have to say is pretty uninformative. My general take is that it’s a fascinating and wide-ranging discipline, capable of analyzing and explaining nearly everything, but that the interest of any particular scholarly article is invariably ruined by the appearance of math. (If you are asking why I would be looking at scholarly economics articles in the first place, rather than sticking with Freakonomics or occasionally perusing Slate: it’s because I work on a scholarly economics journal. I have to look at these things.)

I am only just catching on to the preponderance of economics-for-laymen resources that are out there. In that vein, I’d like to share an economics blog I’ve found super interesting: Dan Ariely’s. He’s a behavioral economist at Duke. Behavioral economics (again, to the extent that I understand anything) is much more focused on the applicability of economics to life, and to that end uses the observed behavior of human beings much more than classic economics. A pleasure of coming across work in behavioral economics, often, is simply noting the topics that these scholars have gotten interested enough in to pursue (and to pursue so doggedly: we’re talking, often, of long-term, labor-intensive studies looking at reams of data, if not pestering thousands of people for survey responses. It’s the kind of thing that, as a creative writer, kind of boggles my mind.). At Ariely’s blog right now he’s discussing happiness, personal efficiency, and the reasons you might let your vegetables go to waste in your refrigerator drawer. And I looked into him after being pretty impressed by this video, which follows a recent paper Ariely published on online dating.