The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life

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9781847946744: The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life

Uri Gneezy and John List are like the anthropologists who spend months in the field studying the people in their native habitats. But in their case they embed themselves in our messy world to try and solve big, difficult problems, such as the gap between rich and poor students and the violence plaguing inner city schools; the real reasons people discriminate; whether women are really less competitive than men; and how to correctly price products and services. Their field experiments show how economic incentives can change outcomes. Their results will change the way we both think about and take action on big and little problems, and force us to rely no longer on assumptions, but upon the evidence of what really works.

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About the Author:

Uri Gneezy is the Arthur Brody Endowed Chair in Behavioral Economics and professor of economics and strategy at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. He has also been on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Israel's Technion, and the University of Haifa.

John List is the Homer J. Livingston Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. He has been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics (NBER) for more than decade and served as senior economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisors for environmental and resource economics.

READER BIO
Eric is an Earphones Award-winner for his narration of ""Detroit: An American Autopsy."" He has narrated over a dozen audiobooks in both fiction and nonfiction. Eric is also the host and producer of the award-winning ""This American Wife,"" a popular podcast and now webseries that features original comedy and stories, as well as interviews with authors such as Robert Greene, and Amy Tan. He also works as a theatrical producer, and is based in Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The sign on the road in the Khasi hills of northeast India had a puzzling message: Equitable distribution of self-acquired property rights.” We asked Minott, our driver, what it meant.

I do not work in the rice fields, like most men of my tribe,” he told us proudly. I work as a translator. And a driver. And I operate a gas station in my sister’s house. And I trade goods at the market. You see! I work very hard!”

We nodded in agreement. He certainly seemed like a natural-born entrepreneur .But Minott’s life was constricted. Many of the things he wanted to do required his sister’s permission, because in the matrilineal Khasi society, women hold the economic power. The sign on the road, Minott explained, was part of a nascent men’s movement, as the men in Khasi society began to articulate their resentment over being treated as breeding bulls and babysitters.” Here was a parallel universe one we believed might help us solve one of the most vexing economic questions in Western society, inequality between men and women.

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Gneezy, Uri, List, John
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