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Are Economists Cheap?

According to an amusing article in today’s Wall Street Journal, some are:

Children of economists recall how tightfisted their parents were. Lauren Weber, author of a recent book titled, “In Cheap We Trust,” says her economist father kept the thermostat so low that her mother threatened at one point to take the family to a motel. “My father gave in because it would have been more expensive,” she says.

and some aren’t:

[T]he principles that can make economists seem cheap sometimes lead them to hire help, because they are taught to value their own time.

Ms. Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, also of the Wharton School, gave a friend $150 to hire movers instead of helping him themselves. Harvard University economist David Laibson pays to have a driver pick up his sister from the airport rather than driving himself.

So are economists just cheap, or does their fixation on tradeoffs make them act in ways that only make them appear cheap? You be the judge.

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