Blackboard Economics and Stupidity

Our Dinner Table

I really enjoyed and highly recommend this EconTalk podcast with Ronald Coase.

Coase explains why he wasn’t surprised it took 40 years for the FCC to adopt his recommendations to assign property rights to the airwaves:

No [I wasn’t surprised], not after you’ve studied how things actually operate. It’s a surprise that it took as little time as 40 years. No, it’s not possible to study how things are dealt with without realizing the importance of the stupidity of human behavior.

Economists often say, incentives matter. Coase is saying, stupidity matters. I agree.

Next Coase explains the problem with modern economics and his solution (emphasis mine):

Blackboard economics is economics which you can put on the blackboard, in which you study an imaginary system. It’s not empirically based at all. It’s not concerned with what really happens. It’s what you imagine could happen and what you imagined…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at https://utopiayouarestandinginit.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/why-call-my-blog-utopia-you-are-standing-in-it/

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