Undercover Economist Podcast | OUPblog

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Undercover Economist Podcast

The Undercover Economist appeared on the Radio Economics podcast website on Thursday (click on the post title to listen to the interview). It is an engaging 30 minute dialogue between Tim Harford (‘The Undercover Economist’) and the host of the Radio Economics site, Dr. James Reese. It includes a wonderful discussion of Harford’s growth as a writer, blogs and a discussion of how the problem of the used car market relates to the U.S. health care system.

You can also access the interview via this mirror site:

LINK to interview at

Recent Comments

  1. Fit Findlay

    Always welcome to hear an economist who can speak in English and not psychobabble!

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Undercover Economist on

Undercover_Economist_HarfordThe Financial Times has published a great excerpt of the forthcoming book from Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist. Here is a representative graph from the excerpt and the book that Steven Levitt called “required reading”:

Supermarkets will often produce an own-brand “value” range, displaying crude designs that don’t vary whether the product is lemonade or bread or baked beans. It wouldn’t cost much to hire a good designer and print more attractive logos. But that would defeat the object: the packaging is carefully designed to put off customers who are willing to pay more. Even customers who would be willing to pay five times as much for a bottle of lemonade will buy the bargain product unless the supermarket makes some effort to discourage them. So, like the lack of tables in standard-class railway carriages and the uncomfortable seats in airport lounges, the ugly packaging of “value” products is designed to make sure that snooty customers self-target price increases on themselves.

LINK to excerpt at

Recent Comments

  1. emi

    This comes into the health insurance issue as well. Something I haven’t seen in the “responsible healthcare spending” “nationalised healthcare” discussions is that in the UK and Australia there is a similar effect. You can have the medicare/NHS option which is perfectly good medical care but at an uglier hospital, with less attractive food, and fewer options. Or pay for private insurance and get a private room that looks like it should fit in a decent hotel and the option of a glass of wine with lunch. In much the same way as people pay for premium brands of lemonaide they will pay for premium brands of healthcare taking pressure off the public system.

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