The Undercover Economist, Revised and Updated Edition: Exposing Why the Rich Are Rich, the Poor Are Poor - and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car!

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Oxford University Press, Jul 24, 2012 - Business & Economics - 304 pages
With over one million copies sold, The Undercover Economist has been hailed worldwide as a fantastic guide to the fundamental principles of economics. An economist's version of The Way Things Work, this engaging volume is part Economics 101 and part exposé of the economic principles lurking behind daily events, explaining everything from traffic jams to high coffee prices. New to this edition: This revised edition, newly updated to consider the banking crisis and economic turbulence of the last four years, is essential for anyone who has wondered why the gap between rich and poor nations is so great, or why they can't seem to find a decent second-hand car, or how to outwit Starbucks. Senior columnist for the Financial Times Tim Harford brings his experience and insight as he ranges from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States to reveal how supermarkets, airlines, and coffee chains--to name just a few--are vacuuming money from our wallets. Harford punctures the myths surrounding some of today's biggest controversies, including the high cost of health-care; he reveals why certain environmental laws can put a smile on a landlord's face; and he explains why some industries can have high profits for innocent reasons, while in other industries something sinister is going on. Covering an array of economic concepts including scarce resources, market power, efficiency, price gouging, market failure, inside information, and game theory, Harford sheds light on how these forces shape our day-to-day lives, often without our knowing it. Showing us the world through the eyes of an economist, Tim Harford reveals that everyday events are intricate games of negotiations, contests of strength, and battles of wits. Written with a light touch and sly wit, The Undercover Economist turns "the dismal science" into a true delight.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Who Pays for Your Coffee?
7
What Supermarkets Dont Want You to Know
33
Perfect Markets and the World of Truth
63
Crosstown Traffic
83
The Inside Story
115
Rotten Investments and Rotten Eggs
145
The Men Who Knew the Value of Nothing
165
Why Poor Countries Are Poor
191
Beer Fries and Globalization
215
How China Grew Rich
245
Acknowledgments
269
Notes
271
Index
283
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Tim Harford is a senior columnist for the Financial Times and author of several books. He is a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a senior visiting fellow at Cass Business School, and he lives in Oxford with his wife and three children.

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