Armchair Economist by Steven Landsburg

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Revised and updated May 2012.

In this revised and updated edition of Steven Landsburg’s hugely popular book, he applies economic theory to today’s most pressing concerns, answering a diverse range of daring questions, such as:

Why are seat belts deadly?
Why do celebrity endorsements sell products?
Why are failed executives paid so much?
Who should bear the cost of oil spills?
Do government deficits matter?
How is workplace safety bad for workers?
What’s wrong with the local foods movement?
Which rich people can’t be taxed?
Why is rising unemployment sometimes good?
Why do women pay more at the dry cleaner?
Why is life full of disappointments?

Whether these are nagging questions you’ve always had, or ones you never even thought to ask, this new edition of The Armchair Economist turns the eternal ideas of economic theory into concrete answers that you can use to navigate the challenges of contemporary life.

About Steven Landsburg

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Steven E. Landsburg is a Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester.  He is the author of The Armchair Economist, Fair Play, More Sex is Safer Sex, The Big Questions, two textbooks in economics, a forthcoming textbook on general relativity and cosmology, and over 30 journal articles in mathematics, economics and philosophy. His current research is in the area of quantum game theory. He blogs daily at For over ten years, he wrote the monthly "Everyday Economics" column in Slate magazine, and has written regularly for Forbes and occasionally for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He appeared as a commentator on the PBS/Turner Broadcasting series "Damn Right", and has made over 200 appearances on radio and television broadcasts over the past few years. 
Published November 1, 2007 by Free Press. 338 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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In the service of what he calls efficient markets, Landsburg argues that wheat farmers, say, ought to be forced to pay damages done to their crops by sparks thrown off from railroad trains, since such damages can be borne more cheaply by farmers than by the railroad companies that are at fault.

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The Independent

(The use of pesticides isn't, in the end, to prevent cancer, but to increase profits.) This book might have offered a more intriguing argument, though, at least to me, but for Landsburg's fondness for the kind of propositions (if three men carry five bags in four hours, how long will it take fi...

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Publishers Weekly

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Associate professor of economics at the University of Rochester in New York, Landsburg applies his counter-intuitive analyses, with mixed results, to everything from taxes, auctions, baseball and the high price of movie theater popcorn to government inefficiency, the death penalty, environmentali...

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