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The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life unknown Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691019345
ISBN-10: 0691019347
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

An economic anomaly occurs when there is a difference between how standard economic theory predicts people should behave and how people actually behave. Thaler examines a number of these situations that occur in the real world and experimentally. Although everyone will recognize these situations, unfortunately much of his discussion will not be accessible to non-economists. Economists will find this an intriguing work that provides excellent reviews of some of the most recent economic research. Consequently this volume would be appropriate for libraries at universities with graduate programs in economics.
-Richard C. Schiming, Mankato State Univ., Minn.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"By unraveling a series of real-world puzzles with philosophical and practical implications, Thaler illuminates some fairly abstruse ideas in an entertaining way.... The best minds in economics today, as Thaler's provocative book suggests, are trying to supplement [insights into markets and prices] with a broader understanding of what makes people tick."--Christopher Farrell, Business Week

"Richard Thaler ... stylishly recounts empirical findings that skewer hitherto sheltered economic beliefs."--Lola L. Lopes, Contemporary Psychology
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; unknown edition (January 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691019347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691019345
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen M. Bainbridge on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
As with any model claiming predictive power, economics rests on a theory of human behavior-specifically, rational choice theory, which posits decisionmakers who are autonomous individuals who make rational choices that maximize their satisfactions. Critics of economics have long complained that rational choice is, at best, an incomplete account of human behavior. The traditional response to that criticism is that rationality is simply an abstraction developed as a useful model of predicting the behavior of large numbers of people and, as such, does not purport to describe real people embedded in a real social order. A theory is properly judged by its predictive power with respect to the phenomena it purports to explain, not by whether it is a valid description of an objective reality. Indeed, important and significant hypotheses often have assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality. Accordingly, the relevant question to ask about the assumptions of a theory is not whether they are descriptively realistic, for they never are, but whether they are sufficiently good approximations for the purpose in hand. Until quite recently, empirical research tended to confirm that the rational choice model of human behavior is a good first approximation of how large numbers of people are likely to behave in exchange transactions.
Over the last 10-15 years, however, a new school of economic analysis has emerged that challenges the rational choice model precisely on its predictive power. Empirical and laboratory work by cognitive psychologists and experimental economists has identified a growing number of anomalies in which behavior appears to systematically depart from that predicted by rational choice.
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Format: Paperback
Much more fun to read than I expected. I am generally put off by economics books, but this one turned into a fascinating read.
The Winner's Curse lists a series of economic anomalies, the title being one of them. Thaler calls them anomalies since each defies 'classical' economic theory, generally the notion that markets are efficient and participants know what they are doing. Since few would accuse me of knowing what I'm doing when buying stocks, I find myself happily agreeing with Thaler's digs at Ivory tower economists.
The "winner's curse" anomaly is the notion that people who 'bid to win' at an auction, are often sorry that they won. My favorite anomalies included 'loss adversion' (we remember financial disasters, not successes), 'Intertemporal Choice' (our mental 'rate of return' analysis baffles the experts), 'the favorite factor' (yes, bet on the favorite!), and 'calendar effects' (forget about random walks down Wall Street).
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Format: Paperback
How rational are human beings or how close to the economic models do they act? This book is a collection of articles by Professor Thaler which shows that we quite usually don't behave like theory predicts. Thaler's extensive research (the references are 30 pages long) gives The Winner's Curse a great academic foundation, but its maths that can be skipped and easy language makes the book acessible - and enjoyable - for every one that is just interested in Economics. To sum up, if you are studying or working with Economics, you should read this book. It will help you to be skeptical about the theory - just like every scientist should be. If you are reading it just by curiosity, it will enhance your skills when your are talking about the economy at a local pub. Actually, The Winner's Curse teaches you how to make money even in a pub. It worths the money. It's an excellent book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent introduction to consumer behavior, especially behavioral finance. While it reads at times like an anthology, the book covers many discrete aspects of consumer behavior. By consumer behavior, it is meant consumer risk-taking. Many solid examples, especially in the financial arena. If you are a contrarian investor, then this book is for you--identifying why the "herd" often behaves in the manner that it does with respect to financial decisions. This book will pay for itself many times over, if only you apply it to future investment decisions
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We highly recommend this classic of economic literature, one of the first (more or less) accessible presentations of the evidence against economic rationality. Economists have assumed, conventionally, that economic choice rests on a foundation of rationality. For instance, economists tend to think that people will put the same value on two mathematically identical offers. Yet laboratory experiments have proven what everyday experience suggests: people are not quite rational. Author Richard H. Thaler, a founding father of behavioral economics, presents convincing exhibits to make the case that the assumption of economic rationality is an awfully big pill to swallow. Stylistically, his book strikes a neat balance between accessibility and obscurity. A reader will need a certain amount of schooling in economics and a great deal of patience with academic prose to wade through every word of every chapter, although the payoff is substantial. However, it is possible for the impatient reader to get the gist by reading the introduction, the first page or two of each chapter and the epilogue. And even that is eminently worthwhile.
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