Slate: Everyday Economics

By Steven Landsburg


The Theory of the Leisure Class
An economic mystery: Why do the poor seem to have more free time than the rich? March 9, 2007

Women Are Chokers
Studies show they cave under pressure. Why? February 9, 2007


How the Web Prevents Rape
All that Internet porn reduces sex crimes. Really. October 30, 2006

How Much Should Hotel Web Access Cost?
Sometimes it's free. Sometimes it's $20 a day. Why? February 1, 2006

Do the Poor Deserve Life Support?
A woman who couldn't pay her bills is unplugged from her ventilator and dies. Is this wrong? January 3, 2006


The Price of Motherhood
Ready to have a baby? You'll earn 10 percent more if you wait a year. Dec 09, 2005

Hurricane Relief? Or a $200,000 Check?
I'd take the check, and so would most of Katrina's victims. Sep 22, 2005

No Relief
Why we shouldn't aid Katrina's victims too much. Sep 07, 2005

Is Housing Too Expensive? Blame the Government
Maybe zoning laws are causing the real-estate bubble. Jul 29, 2005

Vine Is Money
Why those fancy tomatoes cost so much. May 25, 2005

Imagine Terri Were a Toaster …
An economist considers the Schiavo case. Mar 28, 2005

Save and Save and Then Save Some More
Social Security is a red herring. Here's our real long-term problem. Feb. 18, 2005


What I Like About Scrooge
In praise of misers. Dec 09, 2004

Bush's Tax Cuts Are Unfair ...
To the rich. Oct 21, 2004

Don't Vote
It makes more sense to play the lottery. Sep 29, 2004

The $100 Terrorist Insurance Plan
A better way to screen airline passengers. Aug 04, 2004

The Sin of Wages
The real reason to oppose the minimum wage. Jul 09, 2004

Feed the Worms Who Write Worms to the Worms
The economic logic of executing computer hackers. May 26, 2004

The Economics of Faking Orgasm
(No, really. March 19, 2004)


Maybe Parents Don't Like Boys Better
(A follow-up to the recent column about whether daughters cause divorce. Oct. 14, 2003)

Oh, No: It's a Girl!
(Do daughters cause divorce? October 2, 2003)

Why Do Gays Smoke So Much?
August 4, 2003

Why Jews Don't Farm
June 13, 2003

We Find Ourselves … Guilty
(Should we punish juries that get it wrong? May 19, 2003)

The Case for Looting
(Redistribution of wealth, Baghdad-style April 14, 2003)

Great Expectations?
(The war's going worse than expected. So what? Almost everything in life goes worse than expected. April 9, 2003)

Is Your Life Worth $10 Million?
(Nope. But your grandson's will be. March 3, 2003)


Beat on the Brat
(The economics of spanking. December 9, 2002)

Phony Generosity
(Economics Nobelist Vernon Smith's alarming discovery about human nature. October 10, 2002)

One Small Step for Man …
(… and one giant leap for economists: How we figured out why people walk up staircases but not up escalators. August 28, 2002)

The Great Banana Revolution
(Should you peel bananas from the bottom up? June 27, 2002)

Shut City Hall!
(The Supreme Court concludes that most government agencies should be out of business. June 4, 2002)

Short Changed
(Why do tall people make more money? March 25, 2002)

Click, Clack, and Car Talk
(NPR's Tappet brothers are wrong about the societal costs of car phones. January 30, 2002)


$10 a Foot
(Should we stop Paul Morgan from amputating his feet on the Web? November 26, 2001)

Afghanistan After the War
(Don't give them democracy. Give them capitalism. November 6, 2001)

Flying Pork Barrels
(The airline bailout enriches stockholders at the expense of taxpayers. September 28, 2001)

Sell Me a Story
(Two skyscrapers, built at the same time in the same block. One's much taller. Why? September 6, 2001)

Making Your Tax Rebate Pay
(Wanna promote the general welfare? Here's what to do with your tax rebate. July 31, 2001)

Hey, Gorgeous, Here's a Raise!
(As for you fatties, we're cutting your salaries. July 9, 2001)

The Readers Weigh In
(Your theories on why America is getting fatter. May 31, 2001)

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Campaign-Finance Reform
(Would it make politics cleaner? I dunno. May 25, 2001)

Why Are We Getting So Fat?
(A few theories on America's weight problem. May 2, 2001)

Why God Created Junk Food
(The rationality of Big Macs, cashews, and … unlimited sex appetites. April 6, 2001)

Putting All Your Potatoes in One Basket
(The economic lessons of the Great Famine. March 13, 2001)

The First One Now Will Later Be Last
(A foolproof method to shorten queues. February 8, 2001)

Microwave Oven Liberation
(Household appliances, not Gloria Steinem, ushered women into the workplace. January 4, 2001)


Why Men Pay To Stay Married
(And women pay to get divorced. Dec. 1, 2000)

If eBay Ran the Election
(Who would buy the votes and what would they pay? Nov 01, 2000)

Don't Pay Down the National Debt
(It's a great deal. Sept. 14, 2000)

The Crazy Incentives of the Drug War
(You think it's designed to discourage drugs? Think again. Aug 14, 2000)

The NFL's Parity Perplex
(The salary cap is one of the mysteries of the universe June 23, 2000)

The Return of the Giant Shopping Carts!!!
(The readers share their theories on why carts got so big. May 30, 2000)

Attack of the Giant Shopping Carts!!!
(A few theories on why they got sooooo big. April 26, 2000)

The Joy of Hedging
(The case for investing against your heart and with your head. Mar 22, 2000)

I've Got To Admit It's Getting Better
(And here's a way to measure it. Feb 10, 2000)

The Mother-in-Law of Invention
(The patent system sucks because it overrewards and underrewards. Here's a way to make the system work better. Jan. 13, 2000)


Is Everybody Happy?
(The cost-benefit analysis of making folks smile. Nov. 9, 1999)

Planning for Obsolescence
(Not everything should last forever. Oct. 14, 1999)

Too True To Be Good
(The real reason you can't believe everything you read. Sept. 16, 1999)

Grade Expectations
(Why grade inflation is bad for schools--and what to do about it. Aug. 12, 1999)

(The economics of deferred gratification. July 14, 1999)

How Big a Safety Net?
(The philosopher says we have a moral obligation to create a social safety net. The economist asks, how big, and whom should it cover? May 5, 1999)

My Way to the eBay
(An economics professor's strategy for winning online auctions. April 9, 1999)

Sex, Discipline, and Your Refrigerator
(The evolutionary advantages of self-restraint. March 5, 1999)

Win, Place, and No!
(The only truly fair election is the one with one voter. February 6, 1999)

Guilt by Acquisition
(Should today's stockholders pay the price of a corporation's past sins? Jan. 8, 1999)


Efficient Mortality
(The dismal logic of total decline. Dec. 4, 1998)

Party Tricks
(Twenty dollar bills and campaign finance reform. Nov. 6, 1998)

Privatize the Independent Counsel!
(Tired of Kenneth Starr wasting your money? Then give him the right incentives. Sept. 4, 1998)

Justice—Priced to Sell
(Remind me, why is it better to let 10 guilty people go free than to convict one innocent person? Aug. 7, 1998)

Taken to the Cleaners?
(Nobody can explain why laundries charge less for men's shirts than for women's. July 3, 1998)

Monopoly Shopping
(As a consumer, would you be better off if Netscape controlled the browser market, or if Microsoft did? June 5, 1998)

Booked Up
(The difference between buying at Barnes & Noble and May 8, 1998)

Let the Rabbi Split the Pie
(Talmudic wisdom applied to bankruptcy. April 10, 1998)

Uninsured-Motorist Fun
(The laugh's on you if you're paying a high premium for car insurance. Feb. 6, 1998)


Take This Simple Test
(... And find out how rational you are. Dec. 5, 1997)

Buy a House, Lose Your Job?
(The surprising connection between homeownership and unemployment. Nov. 7, 1997)

Wealthier Than Thou
(Is it enough to be rich, or must others be poor? Oct. 10, 1997)

The Marriage Contract
(Divorce is just a breakdown in negotiations. Sept. 12, 1997)

Property Is Theft
(When protecting your own property is stealing from others. Aug. 3, 1997)

My Personal Trade Deficit
(Since the Barnes & Noble opened in neighboring Pittsford, my trade deficit with that town has exploded. June 27, 1997)

Pay Scales in Black and White
(Does discrimination explain the differences in salaries? May 30, 1997)

Who Shall Inherit the Earth?
(Our obligation to the unborn. May 2, 1997)

Be Fruitful and Multiply
(Do the world a favor: Have more children. April 13, 1997)

Tax the Knickers Off Your Grandchildren
(If income redistribution is such a good idea, let's make those rich future generations pay. March 7, 1997)

Judge Not
(It's time to knock the stuffing out of judicial featherbedding. Feb. 1, 1997)

Giving Your All
(The math on the back of the envelope Jan. 11, 1997)


Texaco's Uncompensated Victims
(How corporate discrimination hurts stockholders. Dec. 7, 1996)

Putting on Heirs
(How parents decide about divvying up the loot. Nov. 8, 1996)

The Perfect Tax
(If there must be taxes, at least they should be inefficient. Oct. 11, 1996)

Squeal or Deal?
(Why the Whitewater defendants and the CIA should study economics. Sept. 13, 1996)

(You--personally--can eliminate the national debt. Aug. 3, 1996)

More Sex Is Safer Sex
(The economic case for promiscuity. July 6, 1996)

Compiled by Udayan Roy. Last updated on December 24, 2005