Truly eye-opening . . . There is almost no situation that Harford cannot dissect with his sharp economist's tools . . . economics has never been this cool' NEW STATESMANIf humans are so clever, why do we smoke and gamble, or take drugs, or fall in love? Is this really rational behaviour? And how come your idiot boss is so overpaid? In fact, the behaviour of even the unlikeliest of individuals - prostitutes, drug addicts, racists and revolutionaries - complies with economic logic, taking into account future costs and benefits, even if we don't quite realise it. We are rational beings after all.
Tim Harford writes the 'Dear Economist' column for the FT Saturday magazine. An award winning public speaker, Tim has been an economist for a major oil company and an economics tutor at Oxford University.