Economics and Literature

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Apr 5, 2010    •    749 Views

Thinking of how Economics is Everywhere, I am reading The Literary Book of Economics in which economist Michael Watts displays the connection between literature and major economic ideas.  

Discussing 78 examples, from fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, he includes the connection between Dickens’s Hard Times and negative externalities, Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and the efficient market hypothesis, and Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and price elasticity of demand. Similarly, while David Sedaris surely was not thinking about labor markets when he debated whether he needed a job after finding $50, he was indeed thinking economically.

The Economic Lesson

Concerning so much more than money, when we slice away all of its complexities, economics is fundamentally about making choices among scarce resources.


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