Even though his book is now shipping, Tim Harford and the good folks at the Financial Times know you just can’t get enough of The Undercover Economist. So, yesterday they launched Harford’s new weekly column in the paper, ‘The Undercover Economist.’ Here is the beginning of the inaugural UE column, which addresses the mysteries of all those supermarket coupons:
Woe betide the supermarket shopper trapped in a queue behind coupon-clipping Granny. As the bundle of coupons, held together with a clothes peg, rises from the handbag, and the negotiation with the checkout boy begins, you know it’s going to be a long wait.
But we should blame those coupons for more than just a few delays, and we should also be grateful to Granny for saving us from our own laziness. Granny plays a vital role in the competitive ecosystem.
Of course, Harford continues to write his weekly ‘Dear Economist’ column. This week Harford examines a “classic negative externality” and its potential impact on a fellow economist’s romantic life.
LINK to timharford.com – the one-stop shopping source for all of your ‘Undercover’ or ‘Dear Economist’ needs.