Sunday, January 03, 2010

See, I fit right in!

An oft-cited article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on how the data say economists are cheapskates.

Some dispute the notion that economists tend to be skinflints. "They aren't cheap," but they are concerned with a loss of economic efficiency, says Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "That means that they often fail to do the nice little social gifts that seem wasteful to economists."

Apparently many of them don't think much of Christmas. Considering that most of the people cited in the article are ones I really look up to, I'm glad to know they're striving for efficiency in all areas of their lives.

One of the best parts of the article:

Given their understanding of the odds of gambling, economists seldom frequent casinos, which is one reason the (annual AEA) meeting isn't held in Las Vegas. A decade ago, a hotel sales representative showed Mr. Siegfried a chart showing how little economists gambled compared to other people, he says.

The American Economic Association meetings, however, have been held in New Orleans, which has a few casinos.

One year, Yale University economist Robert Shiller, who'd never gambled in his life, found himself at a casino there. He says that was because Wharton economist Jeremy Siegel realized that by using coupons offered to conventioneers, they could take opposing bets at the craps table with a 35 out of 36 chance of winning $12.50 each. Over two nights, Mr. Shiller netted $87.50.

He hasn't gambled since.

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