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Dear Economist Added to The Economics Blog Resource Page

Aug. 24, 2005 11:03 AM ET
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The newest addition to The Economics Blog Resource Page:

Dear Economist
is the agony aunt of economics blogs. Tim Harford writes a column in
the Financial Times "answering readers' personal problems with the
tools of Adam Smith"; this is the online repository of that column. And
here's the draw: Mr Hartford's column is thought-provoking,
intelligent, and very funny. An example:

Question: From time to time, I go out with friends
to a restaurant. Frequently, someone suggests: Why don't we order a
number of different dishes and share them?
I do not like this idea...
How can I break this cycle, while retaining my friends?

Answer: ...Fortunately the Coase theorem, developed by the
revered economist Ronald Coase, predicts a happy outcome if property
rights are clearly specified. Rather than refuse outright, you should
insist that each person holds ownership rights over the dish they
order. Mutually agreed trades are of course permissible. This should
ensure that splitting dishes occurs only when socially efficient...

The one drawback of the blog is that most of the answers are truncated,
with a link to the full column in the FT Online ...which requires a
paid subscription. Yup, this is the hybrid free/paid content model at
work. Launched in September 2003 with one post per week (that week's

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