National | World | Economic History | Pop Eco | Interactive Articles

Cultural Chickens and Economic Eggs

Which comes first? As economists become more and more willing to investigate this relationship, we may be inching closer to an answer. Joel Lee explores the expanding field of cultural economics.


Are you struggling to keep up with lectures and deadlines? Are you easily distracted by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Reddit? It might be because you are exposing yourself to illogical thinking errors. Try out these tips to overcome procrastination based on cognitive-behaviour therapy. Say no to 4 a.m. assignments!

Why an environmentalist should befriend an economist

Environmentalists are well intentioned. In protecting the environment, environmentalists pursue interventions aimed at altering behaviour and market outcomes. To their delight, economists neatly rationalise these efforts through the concept of ‘negative externalities’, the case where two parties to a transaction externalise part of the cost onto a third party—e.g. pollution. This market failure justifies an intervention (e.g. Pigouvian taxes) to internalise the social cost and in turn reduce the market quantity.

Unfortunately, when misguided, interventions tend to fall victim to the phenomenon known as the ‘the law of unintended consequences’ or ‘the cobra effect’, a term popularised by German economist Horst Siebert.

Read more