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The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas.

THE ECONOMIC NATURALIST: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas

ROBERT H. FRANK

Many principles of economics, like those of other social sciences, are best understood in terms of familiar scenarios, not equations or formal theories. Frank, a professor of economics at Cornell University, explains how many real-world conundrums, such as why drive-up ATM machines have braille dots, can be explained by economics. (The answer is that it's cheaper to make the same machine for both walk-up and drive-through ATMs). Frank addresses a different category of such quirks of modern life in each chapter. Topics include the economics of product design, such as why milk is sold in rectangular containers while soft drinks come in cylindrical ones. The author enlists the concept of supply and demand to explain why dry cleaners charge more for women's shirts than for men's. Other topics include the divergence between individual and group interests, the costs and benefits of property rights, the psychology of economics, and economic logic in personal relationships. Basic, 2007, 226 p., b&w images, hardcover, $26.00.
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Title Annotation:Books: A selection of new and notable books of scientific interest
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 23, 2007
Words:176
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