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THE ECONOMIC NATURALIST PDF

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he submitted in response to the “economic naturalist” writing assignment in my introductory economics course. The specific assignment was “to use a principle. myavr.info - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. The Economic Naturalist and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas Paperback – April 8, For decades, Robert Frank has been asking his economics students to pose and answer questions.


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Key words: critical thinking, economic naturalist, introductory economics out really having learned even the most important basic economic principles. For. Acknowledgements be. Introduction. 1. Rectangular Milk Cartons and Cylindrical Soft-. Drinks Cans: The Economics of Product Design. Free Peanuts and. Read Download The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas |PDF books PDF Free Download Here.

Why do women endure the discomfort of high heels? All these phenomena obey what Frank calls "economic logic", the fundamental law of which is the cost-benefit principle. This says that an action ought to be taken only when the extra benefit that accrues from taking it outweighs the extra cost. So when a woman decides to squeeze her feet into a pair of stilettos, for example, she has weighed the benefit of being "more likely to attract favourable notice", as Frank somewhat coyly puts it, against the costs of discomfort.

Now one could be forgiven for thinking that this is just a dubious bit of folk-wisdom dressed up as economic theorising; and the same could be said of many of Harford's "insights". Yet for all the demotic breeziness of their style, both writers have a serious purpose.

In Harford's case, it is to defend a version of rational choice theory, which tries to explain human behaviour in terms of the maximisation of individual preferences or "utility".

On this model, which Harford thinks applies more or less universally, human beings respond to trade-offs or incentives: "When the costs and benefits of something change, people change their behaviour. Proponents of rational choice theory say that to act in accordance with the cost-benefit principle is to behave "rationally" - in a distinctive and drastically circumscribed sense of the word.

And Harford's contention is that we're much more rational than we're inclined to think. There's a "rational explanation", it seems, for more or less everything: for the shortage of eligible men in New York City, for instance, or for the evolved biological preferences of men and women.

One problem with this approach is that it seems to apply better to an ideal creature called Homo economicus, whose preferences are perfectly consistent, than it does to flesh-and-blood human beings. Harford, however, dismisses Homo economicus as a "crude caricature". Demand side factors complete the story: 1. Location economies: some consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience.

Supermarkets understand this, which is one of the reasons why high value-added products are located close to the checkout. This question is a great illustration of how a seemingly paradoxical, irrational decision can have surprisingly rational origins.

Author's personal copy 56 W. The Z score is obtained using the test for equality of proportions. Table 2 Residency. The four tables in this section provide basic statistical data on: gender, residency, degree type and mean of the essay result Tables 1—4. From the table above, it is clear that the impact of gender in choosing between alternative essay types is neutral. A higher percentage of both males and females chose a Frank-style option for their second essay. It is clear from the data that domestic students felt safer framing their own question.

Table 3 Degree type.

The author has no data on which courses they were studying in their home institution, but it is safe to assume they would have been Business-related. The Z score is obtained using the test for equality of means.

As such, the student body is heterogeneous. Two things stand out in the table above: i students undertaking double degrees almost exclusively chose to frame their own question, which is not surprising given that they have a higher enter score5 usually in the mid to high 80s versus low 70s for a single degree , and are generally more capable of self-directed learning; ii students undertaking the Bachelor of International Business were more comfortable initially using an assigned question.

This degree has an enter score of 70, is nearly exclusively comprised of international students, and is one of the business degrees furthest removed from economics. In a positive sign, the number who framed their own question for the second essay nearly doubled.

Second, the lecturer needs to provide a structured learning environment, either through the submission of an essay proposal, greater use of peer review, or both, to identify problems early and remedy them. Third, international students from a non-English speaking background need additional support in framing a suitable question. As students progress from lower order learning to higher order learning, the degree of structure can be reduced to accommodate a greater capacity for self-directed learning.

The highest possible score was Author's personal copy 58 W. Acknowledgements This paper arose from a case study developed during a period of stay at the Economics Network from April—June Thanks also to Laura Moate for her excellent proofreading skills.

References Becker, W. Economics for a higher education.

The Economic Naturalist

International Review of Economics Education 3 1 52— Bloom, B. McKay Co, New York. Bray, M. Carter, K.

The place of story in the study of teaching and teacher education. Educational Researcher 22 1 5— Personal narrative and life history in learning to teach. In: Sikula, J. Macmillan, New York, pp. Cho, K. Journal of Educational Psychology 98 4 — Computers and Education 48 3 — Cowen, T.

Plume, New York. Doyle, W. Heard any really good stories lately? A critique of the critics of narrative in educational research.

Teaching and Teacher Education 13 1 93— Dubner, S. Allen Lane, London. Dynan, L. The impact of writing assignments on student learning: should writing assignments be structured or unstructured? International Review of Economics Education 8 1 64— Journal of Education for Business 84 2 96— Frank, R.

Princeton University Press, New Jersey. The economic naturalist writing assignment.

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Journal of Economic Education Winter, 58— Basic Books, New York. Greenlaw, S. Using writing to enhance student learning in undergraduate economics. International Review of Economics Education 1 1 61— Hansen, W.

Promoting economic literacy in the introductory economics course — use it or lose it: teaching literacy in the economics principles course. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 92 2 — Harford, T. The Undercover Economist.

Little Brown, London. Rebeck, K. Assessing the economic knowledge and economic opinions of adults. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance 42, — The test of understanding of college economics.

American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 98 2 — Book Details Author: Robert H. Frank Pages: Paperback Brand: Frank, Robert H. Description Why do the keypads on drive-up cash machines have Braille dots? For decades, Robert Frank has been asking his economics students to pose and answer questions like these as a way of learning how economic principles operate in the real world-which they do everywhere, all the time.

Once you learn to think like an economist, all kinds of puzzling observations start to make sense. Drive-up ATM keypads have Braille dots because it's cheaper to make the same machine for both drive-up and walk-up locations.

Travelers from Kansas City to Orlando pay less because they are usually price-sensitive tourists with many choices of destination, whereas travelers originating from Orlando typically choose Kansas City for specific family or business reasons.

This is as delightful and painless a way to learn fundamental economics as there is. If you want to download this book, click link in the next page 5. Download or read The Economic Naturalist: Thank You For Visiting. You just clipped your first slide!But laundry services do not fall in this category. Now one could be forgiven for thinking that this is just a dubious bit of folk-wisdom dressed up as economic theorising; and the same could be said of many of Harford's "insights". Third, international students from a non-English speaking background need additional support in framing a suitable question.

This time. It was a pleasure to work with Mick Stevens.

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