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

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  121 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Richard Thaler challenges the received economic wisdom by revealing many of the paradoxes that abound even in the most painstakingly constructed transactions. He presents literate, challenging, and often funny examples of such anomalies as why the winners at auctions are often the real losers--they pay too much and suffer the "winner's curse"-- why gamblers bet on long sho ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 30th 1994 by Princeton University Press (first published 1991)
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I have to admit that I didn't fully understand every last technical detail, but it was great to think about the general ideas Thaler covered in each chapter. (My favorite was the chapter on preference reversals, where option A is preferred over option B, but option B is priced more than option A.) His overall message was that there are persistent economic anomalies that challenge certain economic theories, and it's because people are more complicated (our perhaps less rational) than economic mod ...more
A bit disappointing. Thaler discusses economic "anomalies," aka patterns discerned that would not have been predicted by rational economic theory--why different industries pay different wages for the same jobs, why people prefer unrealized gains to paper losses, choices over time that disregard interest and inflation, treating money in savings accounts as more valuable than the same amount in checking accounts, etc. etc.

However, instead of trying to get at the root of why these anomalies exist,
Offers a lot of food for thought, although sometimes a bit dry. Thaler is better known now as the co-author of Nudge, but back in 1992 he compiled this book reviewing the current (at the time) economic literature regarding consistently reproducible examples of non-rational human behavior. It's not quite a popular economics book, as there are many passages where he simply details the findings of various economics papers, but it's also much more engagingly written than your standard academic treat ...more
This books collects some of the papers that Richard H. Thaler authored with various colleagues in the "Anomalies" series of the Journal of Economic Perspectives over the period 1987-1990, investigating behaviours which could not be accounted for by the standard economics paradigm. In spite of the time that has gone by, many of the anomalies are still relevant today. Of the academic journals published by the American Economic Association, this is the one more oriented to a general readership, mak ...more
Greg Holdsworth
Wonderful introduction to the large gap between
economic theory and how people actually interact.
Richard Thaler entertains and educates - the only
reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that some people
to whom I recommended it found it a little technical
in parts.
Interesting. Very high level. Went into a lot of detail (especially about experiments) , but neglected repetitious verbiage.
Probably the best single source if you want to explore the hot field of behavioral economics. Not overly technical, so very readable. If you liked [i]Freakonomics[/i], for instance, this would be a good follow-up.
An interesting tome on behavioral economics. Uses anomalies and paradoxes to argue for more nuanced models. Best of all, fairly accessible to the Economically Challenged.
May 18, 2008 aarjav is currently reading it
Found via investigations into Obama

This book made me want to get a PhD in economics.
Feb 07, 2009 Nic added it
people are wierd
myself included
Have to plug your own teacher.
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