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Dollars and Sex: How Economics Influences Sex and Love Hardcover – March 19, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Economists may seem soulless, unlikely guides to affairs of the heart. But "Dollars and Sex," a delightful book by Marina Adshade, an economist at the University of British Columbia, may convince you otherwise." - The New York Times


"Adshade has compiled the titillating facts and figures from her course and her blog on BigThink.com into her first book Dollars and Sex. You may have never thought you'd read about fiscal theories for pleasure, but Adshade shows how the very compelling topics of love and sex are better understood through the lens of economics.." - Zoomer Book of the Week



"The pleasure of reading Dollars and Sex, in other words, is that Adshade doesn't have and agenda to push, nor any Gladwellian "Aha!" moments to neatly package. The book is a clever collection of small conversation-ready revelations packaged in an accessible way." - Canadian Business Magazine

"In Dollars and Sex, Adshade uses everything from prostitution to online dating to demonstrate how economics work in practice. The result is a book that is both provocative, and informative." - Winnipeg Free Press

"This is, in effect, the Moneyball of Booty; removing all the romance with math, the author compiles her own research and that of other notable economists to skillfully tackle coupling, casual and otherwise. She applies a number of standard economics 101 rationales, making readers question every tryst and romp they've ever engaged in. The book is also helpfully humorous and charming, neatly organized into three easy to understand "acts," representing a different phase of our development, with stories told via hard data and very human anecdotes." - Stacey May Fowler, The National Post

"A most stimulating and rewarding read."-
-New York Journal of Books

"Sex, love and romance are the obsessions of poets and songwriters. Why not of economists, too?"
-Ben Steverman, Bloomberg

"Economists may seem soulless, unlikely guides to affairs of the heart. But 'Dollars and Sex,' a delightful book by Marina Adshade, an economist at the University of British Columbia, may convince you otherwise."
-New York Times

From the Inside Flap

There's a market for sex and love, and you're in it.

In Dollars and Sex, economist Marina Adshade converts economic theory into a sexy science by
applying the principles of supply and demand and other market forces to matters of love,
courtship, sex, intimacy, and marriage. As she does in her hugely popular blog of the same
name, Adshade unlocks the mysteries behind our actions, thoughts, and preferences using
engaging research, economic analysis, and humor. The end result is a fascinating look at
just how central the interplay of libido, gender, love, power, and economic forces is to the most
important choices we make in our lives. Ultimately she shows that every option, every decision,
and every outcome in matters of sex and love is better understood through economics.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452109222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452109220
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marina Adshade has spent the last ten years teaching economics and engaging in original economic research. In 2008, she launched an undergraduate course titled Economics of Sex and Love, which invited her students to approach questions of sex and love through an economist's lens. The class was an immediate hit with students and, by the time the first term started, had generated international media attention. She has a Ph.D. from Queen's University and currently teaches at the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia.

As a writer, Dr. Adshade hit her groove the moment she launched Dollars and Sex on the online knowledge forum Big Think (named the number one news and information website by Time Magazine in 2011) and almost immediately became one of the best-read series on that site, attracting over three quarters of a million unique visitors. Since October 2012 Dollars and Sex has been posted on Dr. Adshade's personal homepage.

Dr. Adshade writes regularly for the The Globe and Mail newspaper and Canadian Business Magazine and has made numerous TV appearances on CTV and CBC, interviews on CBC Radio and National Public Radio (US), online panel discussions, international and domestic print media (including the Daily Mail, London, and Reuters) and podcasts in Canada and the US.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Why does a marriage's health correlate with the percentage of time each person spends online? Why do divorce rates go down with recessions (unless you are poor)? Why is the percentage of black men who date women of other ethnicities higher than the percentage of black women who date men of other ethnicities?

Economics is often called the dismal science, and one based on a presumption of 'rational actors.' For these reasons, it may seem off-putting to apply microeconomic methods to explain sexual and romantic behavior. But Professor Marina Adshade does a good job of showing us how economic thinking can help explain how and why humans choose as they do when it comes to sex and love. It is not that we ARE all rational calculators who seek to maximize utility (and isn't 'utility' a tough concept to define when it comes to romance?), but that the intuitions on which we make choices are often calibrated AS IF we are rational actors. (For more detail and argument, see Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role of the Emotions.)

This book is based on a course that Dr. Adshade created in 2008 at the University of British Columia, out of concern that many first-year economic students are not 'turned on' by talk of interest rates and consumption functions enough to remain Econ majors for year 2. The classes's success led to a successful blog and now, to a same-titled book. Adshade organizes the book 'chronologically': from discussing how opportunity costs (the available choices we forego in making a choice) help determine how we date and 'hook up.' Next, we get into courtship and marriage (and how the latter produces a 'mutual gain from trade' and a sort of insurance policy).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James R. Holland VINE VOICE on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's easy to see why this author has such a popular blog. What she says rings true to both men and women. Since I'm a male, I suspect her truths may seem much more on the mark for female readers. This may be the first economics, self-help book that is a true page-turner.

The author's 258 pages of economic theory are separated into nine chapters and a brief summary of her final thoughts and her "final, final words" are a blast to read. The chapters have titles like "Love the One You're With, Hooking up in College, Love in Cyberspace, You Complete Me, Marriage is a Fine Institution, Bringing Home the Bacon, The Next Generation Comes of Age, Naughty by Nature" and "Love in the Sunset (Years)."

This author has some really intriguing economic theories about how technology is changing the marriage market to such an extent that the educated are creating high-income couples to the extent that it is widening the poverty gap in every country. It used to be that highly educated and highly paid people were so busy it was difficult for them to find each other. Many marriages happened between one highly paid or rich individual and a much poorer, less educated mate. And in the case of the less educated and motivated classes, two poor people would produce more future poor and often no marriage at all.

While the Internet is making it possible for high income and highly educated individuals to locate superior mates, the changes that contraception has brought to sexual relationships has also effected the economics of marriage and family. The highly educated and motivated don't have to give up sex while they pursue their ideal mate. They have time to keep looking and experimenting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Hyman VINE VOICE on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The premise of this book is that we can look at personal relationships -- marriage, sex, love -- through the eyes of economics. It seems like a reasonable proposition, and given how interesting many behavioral economics and behavioral psychology books are, I came to this book with high hopes. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to my expectations. There are some interesting points in the book, and I found some of the later sections more interesting than the beginning sections. For example, the author looks at whether same-sex couples have different power and economic relationships than heterosexual couples, whether there are differences in earnings between lesbian and straight women, how age and education impact marriage and marriage rates, whether women have more sex at schools that have more men or more women in them, and many other areas. The book is built out of a series of side bars and main text. I tended to find the side bars to be more interesting. Although the material itself is interesting, and the discussions of various studies performed (many by ariely, who's written some excellent books) were quite interesting, i found that the book was unfortunately too wordy. Many of the points could have been made more succinctly or with more anecdotal examples to give them umph. Or perhaps more economic theory could be brought in, besides very simplistic theories. Or, more sex could be added. Or maybe it should have been more like the sound bite nature of the authors blog. Without these ingredients, the book had far less flow than I would have liked.
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