This mostly innocuous entry at the Freakonomics blog is comparing the rejection of offers in the ultimatum game (where I propose a division of some money, you either accept or reject, we get the money if you accept but don’t if you reject, and then we go home) to the rejection of the ‘bailout’ of the financial sector. It raised my ire with this:
Many economists cannot understand why they’d do such a thing. To an economist, an offer of even 1 percent would be worth accepting since it is free money, and because for the second player it is ultimately irrelevant how much money the first player takes home.
But most people do not think like economists. When offered 10 percent or 20 percent or even 30 percent of the total, they are disgusted by the inequity — and willing to pay the price for that disgust by rejecting the offer.
Show me a scrap of evidence that “many economists cannot understand why they’d do such a thing.” Pardon my language, but that’s bullshit. Really, what the hell. In fact, it’s so infuriatingly ridiculous that I’m going to be forced to actually say something as clearly and calmly as I can, but I’m going to have to do it in boldface:
Economists are capable of feeling things.
Phew. No, seriously, the quotation claims that:
- Economists don’t understand that people care about things.
- Economists don’t feel feelings.
- Economists do not conduct life in the same way as people who actually care about things.
Give me a break.