King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

The new economics

Economists these days are trying to explain all sorts of things that used to be the exclusive domain of other social scientists. Sometimes they are even trying to horn in on biologists and other hard sciences as well.

How this works is that economists look for the incentive, particularly the monetary or other economic incentives, that would explain certain behaviors.

For instance, on a podcast I listened to over the weekend, an economist was trying to explain why it made sense in days of yore for a landowner of modest means to own several plots of land separated by distance rather than one large plot. There are gains to be made from consolidating plots (selling one and buying one next door). Less transit time means more time working the farm and more leisure time. But holding the smaller plots insures a smaller farmer against disaster in the form of floods, etc. Not that the farmers would have known why they were doing it. And not that this theory is proven. But it's that sort of thing that economics is trying to do lately.

Another example is in the book, The Armchair Economist. The author tried to explain banning breast implants not as a method of protecting women from bad implants. Instead, his theory is that it could be a method of protecting women with smaller breasts from competition with smaller breasted women who can afford breast implants.

Nearly everything can be explained by economic incentive, goes the theory.

Anyway, I'm wondering what the new economist explanation for men doing most of the proposing is. What economic incentive is there for men and women to use this method?

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