February 16, 2008

Authors@Google: Cornell Economics Professor Robert Frank

Cornell Professor Robert Frank talks here about his book, "The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas."

1 comment:

Kallie said...

Robert Frank brings up many important ideas, concerns and points in his lecture. He first starts off with discussing how economics are not made simple and easy to understand; he proves this by asking 199 PhD and grad students a question cost vs. benefit which 21.6% actually got correct. He goes on to say that economics (as should be everything else) should be taught in a simpler manner. For example, he compares teaching economics to languane learning. It must start simple with much repetition and drills followed by adctive learning in order for the individual to firmly grasp the concept. Robert Frank goes on further to say that he'd rather focus on 5 or 6 ideas of economics a semester instead of all the ideas so that students can firmly grasp the basic concepts; his number one priority in teaching would be cost benefit principle (such as Mr. Red's questions on buying the alarmclock and labtop). Another point he stressed was that students catch on to ideas easier if presented in a narrative and rational form (for rational people).

In Robert Frank's next seciton he brings up many questions; such as why blondes and jocks are viewed as dumb when really they're proven to be smarter and why men want polygamy when male senators vote it no. I do not quite understand why he does this or how it relates to econ, but...

Then he gives a shpeal on what may be attractive to the individual may not be attractive to society as a whole; he brings in Adam Smith and the invisible hand (let individuals loose often has good results (not always has great results as some people presume)). Robert Frank brings up examples of how some hockey players where neck guards, but that it may not always be beneficial to all players because it may hinder them in their playing. In addition, he also brings up the fact that if we let parents choose when to send their kid to kindergarten parents may waith a few extra years which seems like a no big deal being a year or 2 older, but when college comes around, chances are those kids will be smarter and will get into the tougher schools vs. the normal aged kid who is now at an unfair disadvantage. Here, robert Frank argues that there must be a rule set for sensible things such as that because, as people should have individual liberty and freedom, what may be rational for one individual may not be rational for a group. And Robert Frank goes on to debate and argue this until it is time for question and answers.

-Kallie