« Freakonomics Radio

308. How Can I Do the Most Social Good With $100? And Other FREAK-quently Asked Questions

2017-11-08 | 🔗
Dubner and his Freakonomics co-author Steve Levitt answer your questions about crime, traffic, real-estate agents, the Ph.D. glut, and how to not get eaten by a bear.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This podcast dynamically inserts audio advertisements of varying lengths for each download. As a result, the transcription time indexes may be inaccurate.
If you'd like to listen to free economic radio without ads the place to do that is sticker premium five dollars a month and you can get a free month trial by going to stick your premium dot com and use a promo code freak. You also get access to all our bonus. Episodes and you'll be supporting our show to that sticker premium. Dot, com, promo code, freak thanks, you're, ready a great warrior rely. Will of radio Antilla, but you I do especially when its taped. So it's been a while, since we ve taken listener questions on a scale of one to ten, how much should be Mister Tebrick, two and half three? That's my free economics friend and Co. Author, Steve Levitt, he's an economist at the University of Chicago. I guess it doesn't love radio quite as much as I thought, but still we wound up having a great time on today's episode. Answering your questions
questions about crime and punishment, as you take the knife and think about what you're going to stab the person with it, you're not thinking about. What's going to happen. Fifteen years later, when I for a job, and I have to check the box questions about how to do the most social good. So that is one of the weirdest definitions have so good, then. If I ever heard in my entire life and questions about the price of tigers life- and he looked at me like- I was crazy needed, We can shoot the gun in the air, but we absolutely could never showed a tiger. That's coming up right after this I from W and Y see studios. This is free economics, radio, podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your house, Stephen Abner,
so Levitt there's been some news at your university Eurasia though, since we last spoke some Nobel NEWS, yeah, my fur. My colleague Richard Taylor won the Nobel Prize in Economics, which has been another Joyce occasion on the universe of Chicago Campus and especially nice for mucus there, and I have been close friends for a long long time play golf together. Quite a bit and I even even had some will spill over for me because golf digest, which I've always dreamed of somehow being written up and golf digest. They decided they'd right, failure because he won the Nobel Prize and cause he's an avid golfer. So I was able to tag along and be the third wheel, and so maybe I'll get a brief mention in a compound of a scrap and golf digest. So I can cross set off my bucket list. So the moral of the story is you wasted
thousands of ours on instructional golf, and you just need to get your Nobel and then you'll get your spread engulfed. I just exactly, Harry, let it so. Our first question today is from J Jones in Tennessee. Do think people who use one initial are more typically male or female. I would term now, but it's hard to talk please, when listen. I J Jones from Tennessee rates to say one of local local lane divided highways been under construction for years. Typically, one the two northbound leans is closed. Theirs, full mile of signs and lights to warn drivers and cones slowly start to close off the one lane. I think we know where this is going rate. I dont know if it's hospitality or worse, but drivers will start merging into the old lane for a mile or more before the other lean closes, its not uncommon, defined
in the open lane, backed up for several miles and the other lane standing empty long before it actually closes, and then J J rights. I know the most efficient way is to use the zipper merge. Were drivers Phil both lanes right up to the merge point and then take turns merging into the single lane, because I know this is the best way I typically drive in the unused lane flying past dozens of cars who look at me as if I'm cheating limit. I believe this behaviour is called side zooming J. Jones concludes. I am a very friendly and safe driver and I believe my behavior is helping reduce traffic. If I am correct, why dont more people, know about the zipper, merge so Leavitt to me. I don't know if it's so much a question of why don't more people know, but a question of even if people do know, would they still not do it? What do you think? So? Let me just a birthday. This question little bit before we talk about the
place of White J Jones has a say, which is. We were just time over to Taylor and his Nobel Prize, and this is actually, I think, a classic exam, of where you needed no towards actually the problem here it is, is assigned to so terrible. So this is a case where, where people who are trying to do the right thing, I doing the wrong thing because their being told to do something to just tell them to do something. Different which is stay in your lame. Just there are all the same. They stay in your lane, merge will have in and half a mile, and you get the exact same zipper. It would be more efficient. You an avenue, open lanes and nobody would bad about themselves, this is actually a perfect example of where public policy and a very simple public policy which assist moving around if you signed, could actually resolve the problem and create treatment, amounts of efficiency and and also utility. I think, because I it's it's not just inefficient, its incredibly frustrating when people are doing sides him
And, what's your personal stance on the morality of side zooming, I tend not to think the world in very more terms, I tend to think of the world in terms of efficiency terms and in terms of prices, and why not- but I have to say the one place where I exercise a morality is when I'm DR the car and at some point in my life I just decided that I wasn't gonna. Be aside Zimmer Hand, it's funny, it's a very tenuous morality, because, if I'm in a taxicab and he side. Zooming, I'm happy I'm, for I am glad that the onus of the mist if not I mean like get their faster, but I just found it easier for myself rather than every time. I got nothing, duration. To try to make a judgment was, I should sides whom are not to simply say
it's not who I am. I not aside Zimmer, I'm I'm just going to do the right thing, but let it let me ask you this: according to the Federal Highway Administration, the zipper merger, what's called leat, merges in the traffic literature that they do. Work that they cut down a law on overall congestion? Sir really in gear urged to be immoral person in this case in the side, zoom in case you are actually part of the problem. Not the solution does not make reconsider. It doesn't even take a traffic authority or a physicist to know that you are leaving half a mile of one lane empty? Then your slowing down everything s? Absolutely so The thing you want to do is, I think, from a public policy perspective is not put both identity in the morality in conflict with efficiency. So getting back to J Joneses actual question? If I am correct, he or she wrote why dont more people know about the zipper merged whom we would change and say why not more people
no use that side zooming use at second, and do it what's your overall answer to J Jones and for why people dont do it, I think he's setting it socially costly to be assuming pass people when you don't wanna, be that kind of person, socially caustic as people oh maybe shoot you will look or hunk their horn at you. You know you taken advantage of other people you're putting yourself above other people by every car. You passes is waiting a few extra seconds because you pass them and I have to There was a time in my life where I wanted to be the kind of person who did that it was fun I little but a joy out of the wood by on the right lines, but then at some point I I changed so of J Jones is the kind of person who said
look. I know that I'm doing the right thing for everyone and its even more right for me, and here she is willing to absorb that social cost. You have no problem with. It is just that. That's not who you are absolute, I've, I've, no real problem with the individual. I understand when people pursue their own incentives. What I have a problem with is win the structures of society break down and it allows people who are exploiting other people to be able to do that without any punishment. Gate Levitt next question is from a listener name Bruno Keepers in Pittsburgh. Here we go, steel is here we go and Bruno wants to hear about what he calls quote the dysfunctions of the academic job market. So he writes the academic job markets quite odd. It does not seem to adjust to supply and demand forces as other markets do.
Some even compared to upon these scheme. Despite the very limited job openings every year, Phd programmes accept many graduate students who are paid very modestly to operate labs and do research for faculty members. As is well known, grad students, job prospects are poor. In some areas the prospects are worse and others there's also. He writes the likely impact of tenure in this market, working as an incentive to pursue a career in academia, but also discouraging factly retirement and the opening of new faculty posts. So in spite of that, he writes universities keep admitting many new gravestones every year. Moreover, many people keep applying for grad school, despite
and promising job prospects. There seems to be no change in sight. The status quo seems well entrenched. Therefore, hearers questions. What is going on? Why is this market structured? This way? How does economics explain? It? Is the academic job market really upon the scheme should Phd programmes exit? Ok Bruno has a lot of questions should Phd programmes except fewer grad student to adjust to limited job availability or not what could or should be done to reform this markets eleven? I can think of few people more qualified to answer those eighteen hundred questions than you. I think there are two possible explanations for what's goin on. The first is that in general, people are incredibly over optimistic about their own ability and talent. So,
This is true not just and Phd programmes, but it's true on the basketball courts across Amerika AWE and a set of people whom, about LOS Angeles thinking there going to be star actors and actresses, there's just a lot of optimism among some people about how tell it to the hour and the belief that they can overcome the odds and, of course, by the time they get the credit go. I think you'll find out that that there are thirty other people who are exactly coming from the same position: they're coming from hand and the odd successor quite low. But I think that only a small part of the conundrum, the puzzle, I think the real fact is that for the set of people who are going to get Phd subject like history or latin. just in enormous consumption value associated with the pursuit of that Phd, that the relative
Lee meagre wages but enough to survive. While you study this thing that you love with a great amount of free time and autonomy with the hopes and dreams, You will be a great academic in time. All of that is a very fun exciting thing to do, if people love doing it, then you know you can't criticise the universities offering them the spot. So year, part of the Phd Industrial complex. You get students who want to get their phd in economy at Chicago. Do you feel a little bit guilty about being part of that machine, especially when you're the tenured one sitting back there with essentially no risk.
No I've. Never I have not felt once guilty was I thinking of asking Stiegler felt guilty that anything. That's not your way. I apologize. It is true that I try to talk almost everybody out of a Phd programme except where a very rare set of people and those that are people either. Have such an amazing talent, hawk site men or passion for doing research or their so socially inapt that they really couldn't function outside of academics. So going back to Bruno's question other then try to dissuade everyone comes in your office from actually getting the peach d. What should be done to reform this market? So I think information cannot hurt so if it were required that entire discipline,
their, perhaps individual schools within disciplines would report. Ah there how many people, entry, Cheer humbly event a graduate how long it takes them and what jobs they end up doing his in at least people would be making informed choices. I really don't think that if informed people are saying they want to do something that a university at say? No, I think it's immoral to let in but who really are going to enjoy this programme, even if they dont think it will be the most valuable career enhancing experience along the way, in other words, if you're smart enough to pursue a phd or smart enough to know better. I love that that's perfect. Eight so living next is a question from me
more from current New York, which is in Saratoga County. I believe it's known as the snowshoe capital of the world. The subject line of make more is email is doing social good with spending and he rates. If I have a hundred dollars and disposable income per month, what can I do with it? That will do that? whose social good, if social good is defined. As maximum number of people in the United States who will see US dollars in their paychecks before their dollars leave the country for the first time. Maybe that part again for emphasis, he writes if social good is defined as a maximum number of people in the United States, who will see those dollars in their paychecks before the dollar's leave the country. For the first time, and he goes on a little bit. Elixir! Stop there, though ok, so that is one of the weirdest definition of social good that I've ever heard in my entire life- and I mean why would you define social good say? Stopping at the border I mean what it implies that UK
only about Americans and in some sense from the question equally about all Americans, but not at all, but anyone who isn't in American and and indeed that I think we actually a little bit that behaviour. I think we do draw lines of us versus them, but I think that is a technically difficult social welfare function to to think is the right one if you're talkin about doing social good. So how would you encourage MIKE two? differently about his question. Or do you just want to answer his question straight up his idea I dont know the answer to his question. It's it's macro and some sensitive really complicated idea about money multiply, airs- and you know it interacts with the banking system and the Federal Reserve, and it has to do with the speed at which money circulated. I think it actually reflects a belief that the economy is
very much driven by what we call the demand side that if people do spend Vince been three kings in view of the world, and I just don't think it's Zachary the way economist? Think about the world? That I'd be somebody who knows more about it than me, who would say it makes sense, but to me it it's one of those things that doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but a lot Tamaqua doesn't make a lot of sense me instead, the question: what kind of answer is, if you just want to help the world as much as possible through investment of one hundred dollars? How would you allocate that hundred dollars, and it seems to me that a logical place to start, as you want to help the Super poor Adam, that the really who are the ones who will get the most benefit from an additional dollars worth of of good things happening to them?
and you're not gonna find really any of those people who had stayed you're gonna have to go far away to define those people and then once you find them, it turns out it's just not that easy to figure out what to do next. That is really helpful right, but let me ask it: york I need a sort of implying that make more is a little bit, if not xenophobia, at least narrow thinking that the idea of social, more valuable if it touches the Was it you see or your or are kind of like you, On the other hand, you know, given the history of humankind, the way that we care about some people more than others- is there anything so Only wrong with his constricting his definition. social good as people who like he lived. America cannot only it's wrong. I think it's odd to strikes me as odd, but I mean economists believe that people can have whatever preference they want, and we don't really make judgments by private is surely understand how you might.
America first or your own town or a really easier, doesn't even your own family would be a certain justifiable thing and clearly we know that a lot of people think like that, because most of when when people die, they leave most of their money to their family very little to the people in Bangladesh, and they are not too much money to the poor in America. So I think actually what he is about is not unusual all the unusual when you couch in terms of wanting to do what socially good you. You got a little more in! U turn
coming up after the break questions about the efficacy of respectively, bear spray, realtors and the death penalty. So he I think the death penalty is purely at this point, a political beast and not a crime reduction tool. That's next rate after this so levels our question for you before we get back to our listener questions the booths school at the universe is Chicago, runs this survey, were they ask economist from many universities there take on policy issues of the day you? U dont, participate in that Serbia, nada, but you know about it. This is from the Washington Post recently empty
so you, thoughts, isn't from back in May. Actually, before the Trump Administration announced that the outline of a tax reform plan present trumps administration says his text will pay for itself. It turns out tat really hard to find an economist who agrees the universe. You Chicago's booth, school of business, regularly, poles. Economists, as I said in a survey the school pub on Trump's tax plan is only two out of the thirty seven economist. It responded said that the cuts would stimulate the economy enough to cancel out the effect on total tax revenue. Okay, so grand it's a fairly narrow question about being new neutral those two economists now both say they made a mistake and that they understood, I screwed up on that one said one of the two economies. Kenneth Judd. I meant to say that this is a horrible idea, a bad idea, no chance in Hell, but I guess he checked throng box than the other.
was that banked, hamstrung of MIT, who confirmed in an email to wash imposed the he also had miss, read the question. So if you have essentially thirty seven out of thirty seven economists who are fairly heterodox in there, we know conservative, liberal, damn Republican lean from it. I can t, should that indicate to us on that measure at least a revenue neutral tax plan that we should be wary after. the other is a lot of discussion about how economies are always fighting with each other and disagreeing. I actually think the the overall agreement among economists are not abroad. Have questions is very large, and I think that that the boost glue survey actually show set this particular question does now whether the Congress are right or not, is another question, but I think there's a lot of experience with. Incredibly optimistic forecasts
sting done by political hacks who are trying to get their particular policy advanced you know. If I were one of the economist doing this particular survey, I would have been the thirty eight that a third aim to say that in two things I could pay for itself. the thirtieth of thirty eight meaning you would have understood the question now at least why Who knows? I met a hither unbuttoned by that, but if I have contacted by the Washington Post, I would have said exactly what banks that are. So, let's see if you hit the rate button on this list in your question, This is coming from Ryan, whose from Sandy Utah Ryan rates to say my question is: how has the internet not killed the market
real trees. Yet as a middle man, realtors connect sellers with buyers because they have access to huge database. Emma lesser multiple listing service, but one thing the internet is best at making information accessible, has created efficiencies at have decimated other middlemen, industry, such travel agents. So why is it still? The norm pay tens of thousands of dollars per home and commissions to real terms. I've tried to find answers rates Ryan, but its extremely hard to find unbiased info princess everyone as a relative who the real estate agent, so leave it before you answer the question: why hasn't the disintermediation of the internet and the digital revolution generally worked on the real estate business? Maybe you could just thought
by summarizing your research on real estate agents that we wrote about way back in two thousand five and for economics sure a long long time ago, with Chad see reason I did some research on real estate and the somewhat perverse incentives that real estate agents face could lead them to not give the best possible service to their clients, in particular, when a realistic, agent sells a house? They do take a commission, but by the time that commission to split between the buying and selling agent in their respective companies that to the actual pocket of the agent goes only one percent, and so what happened since the agent has to do most of the work and actually responsible for paying any of the fees associated with advertising. What not the agent in principle should be really eager to make a sale, even if the sale is not at the highest possible price
not just a simple fact of the way the incentives are set up. So that explains why the incentives of an individual agent may not be aligned with the incentives of a home seller rate, but it looks like the air commission rate nationwide on homesick transactions. As of two thousand thirteen latest number, I see here it still five point. Three eight point, five point, four percent, so that still an awful lot of money to be paying for what a lot of people argue is a relatively small amount of work, or I guess an easier way to put. It is if you, if you end up paying one hundred and fifty thousand dollars commission on the sale of an expensive home, if you were to divide
to an hourly ray you're real estate agent, for that one sale at least is getting paid an awful lot per hour. So why does this model stilled predominate? I'm not exactly sure. I think that the most likely explanation he's what in a calm, as I recall that the two sided nature of the the real estate market, in the sense that there is an agent who represents the buyer, an agent who represents the seller, and so the question is, if I didn't have an agent, could I have gotten home cheaper. So what I might do as a buyer is I'd say to the sellers agent, hey you, and I both know that if I had my own real estate agent, you would have to give two and a half per cent to that agent to hobble. We work out a d
we're out of your own fee. You give me some money or were you you ve bargain harder? You know with your own client so that you get me a better deal or some way. I can get some part of that two and a half percent, so that sounds totally sensible. It also sounds like it might put the sellers agent in a slightly. the legal position, so I don't know about legality. I do know that the last time I bought a house. I exactly did that they try to London. I go ahead anyway, and you know what Trusting is the the sellers agent actually said he I don't wanna, be caught in some kind of moral bind. So I'm one of my friends service, you're, buyers, age.
Of course I and so do there, isn't any worry about a conflict of interest, because I want someone push representative, but that's also giving their friend a big envelope of gas centrally rank. I wanted them to give the cash to me, but they won T give it to their friend. Instead, I tell you what I'm surprised by his the way of providing services by real terms that come in the form of a percentage of the house price less. To think that to me seems to make less sense in that agency to all sorts of things have tremendous potential value to both buyers. Others they tell you what your home is worth. Hata prepare it. They do advertising, they do open houses, they do negotiating They are in all day they find clients who do all sorts of things. He puts anomalous and all of those things you could emerge gin being child
Almost hardy, our car and ordered by the hour is so here are some be less data for total median pay for real estate agents and brokers in the? U S is in the neighbourhood of forty six and a half thousand dollars a year or twenty two dollars an hour or so. Theoretically, if you can hire an agent directly for twenty five dollars now, which is not very much, certainly would pale and combat and what you pay in overall commission, it be win win because you're gonna end up paying a lot less zoom ugly, I would argue, then you would, if you're going for the whole full Monti Commission structure a thing No that's left out of that argument is that very small share of the time that agents are actually spending being real estate. Agents is actually representing clients, that the overwhelming activity that agents do is trying to find clients, and so the fact that they get paid twenty five thousand.
are, you know, means probably they're getting paid if, if only say, twenty five percent of their time is spent actually working on behalf of clients, they'd have to charge you a hundred dollars an hour now that still might be much cheaper than the commission. You pay, if you do, have a heart EAST property, eleven years a question I think, you're, like actually kind of two related questions. First, one come: from Marvin Young who is a statistical clerk with the? U S, Census Bureau, he rate with policies for tough unclear
I'm a mandatory minimums and application check boxes. I'm curious about the economic impact of how we rehabilitate felons and some misdemeanor offenders lever. You ve thought about this in the past. Yes, I should have thought about I'm user important and hard questions. Almost everyone who get sent to prison is going to come out of prison and it's really tricky to know what to do both from the perspective of public policy, but also from the perspective of individual states.
Pull in an HR department who are in charge of of doing hiring and deciding to hire a convicted Phelan and now, with the with the available data base, very easy to find out who's been convicted of various climbed. And what not- and I think that the evidence suggests that theme, the stigma associated with a conviction at some time in prison for all. But the lower skilled workers is he's pretty high, pretty pretty costly. The punishment you pay, not just while you're in prison, but in the labour market after you emerged from present, given that the punishment is relatively high, do you think it acts as a deterrent on some would be? Criminals are mature. We have so much evidence on its hard question to figure out how to answer.
Bartley. I do have a general belief that when you make punishments worse in ways that people can see, then people respond to it, though I would have every reason to believe that there is a deterrent effect. Could You just as easily think that the kind of person who is most likely to commit that kind of crime is just not the kind of person who's gonna, be thinking, law, term enough about the punishment in the labour market after prison. Why do thing most violent crimes are com under the influence of alcohol or drugs and Do you know you're in a fight angry wears out, you can imagine that you're, not thinking as you take them I can think about where they get a stab the person, whether you not thinking about what's gonna happen Ten years later, when I apply for a job and have to check the box, I mean it's not in the forefront your mind, but the other hand, I suspect that there's an ethos of of general thinking about. I cannot rob somebody
if I get cod for armed robbery, my whole life is messed up and you also. You have argued in the past, I'm curious. If this is still your view or whether there is any data, that's changed it that the death penalty, as practised in the United States, is while the ineffective as a deterrent as a crime deterrent, because it's too distant takes too long in just doesn't happen, often enough for it to actually be enough of an at the moment. Against that kind of crime yeah if you're a reasonable calculator of cost and benefit? You should not be deterred by the death penalty in the centre, There is something like I dunno, twelve thousand homicide in the? U S there's something like I dunno twenty executed to your chances of being accessed if you commit a homicide, are essentially one in a thousand, but they come
without delay, usually of fifteen or twenty years, and so, if you compare it ah disutility of in life in prison. Compare dead fifteen years in prison, followed by being executed in Denmark, by that by one, went out and adjust it. You shouldn't matter at all the likelihood of dying if you're in a drug dealer on the streets is higher than the likelihood of dying if you're on death row, because the streets are dangerous and are to get killed when you're on death row, so it ah, I think, in that regard. I he. I think that the death penalty is purely at this point, a political beast and not a crime reduction tool. Here's a related question from Jimmy daringly, whose a real estate investor spoke handwashing,
and he writes. My question is: if you could do one thing in a city to reduce crime, specifically violent or drug related crimes, but would that be was I'd, say Jimmy's, acting exactly the right question that when you think about crime in a city that crimes that have a lot of costs, are the art crime and and when you say drug related crime. I think he really means drug related violence, and I think those are exactly the kinds of crimes that we might be able to have the biggest effect on. I'm not saying the right answer socially would be to do what I am about to say, but I think in terms of reducing violence, it is by far the single most powerful tool we have, which would be, It is simply legalise drugs, especially cocaine, a lot of the violence around in the big cities at least once it I've been and have been around crack cocaine, cocaine more generally, so I think very effectively and quickly. We could dramatically reduce violent crime through the legal
Asian, not just say of marijuana but of all drugs, I think actually that would be a bad idea in general, but but I think, for solving crime. That debt to me is an obvious and clear path to some success. So you say that would be obvious in clear and pay a drastic great like on the spot of work, but that would be nowhere near as drastic as, for instance, if you change the death penalty, Ryan invoke the death penalty for like an a violent crime, and you execute people pretty much on the spot kind of Philippines. Down that would you want to do. Thing to really reduce crime. If that, if the sky is the limit, when you go more in that direction, I mean we could just kill everybody before we darn. If we want to make sure it is noted that there is that
ok, so Levitt, here's a message from a listener we'll go and played on tape. My name is Rob eaten. I live in Rex, Free, Idaho, I'm a professor of religious education, an administrator! Beware! You Idaho as I was hiking near Grant national Park recently, with my bare spread, I was wondering about the protocol for what you do when you encounter bears and Whether there is any data behind this protocol is certainly can do randomize clinical trials, not even with college students for seeing what works- encounter a grizzly bear. So how do we really know so Leavitt? I love this question about real. You know evidence cause and effect, and I know that you're you're, a real outdoorsman, aren't you. I have. I have to admit that I have once in my life while walking your very short part of the Appalachian trail carried, bear spray and
run a bell from time to time, a hot it until the bears. I was on my way and it worked out. Your name. I wasn't at Eton AM fond of robs question because it is those things better. If you're going in the woods and you're thinking about bears, and when tells you use, bear spray whom I do know whether that makes sense or not. I think that what the economist question would be so, given the choice between bear who standing on the path and wonders just been spread in the face with bears brains really really angry. You right now, which is a better situation, and I I think among people is not completely obvious, is not completely. I've is that you want us pray really mean people in the face, with thumb in with peppers,
Now it may be that pepper spray is so effective that that it really does completely stop them, and my hunch is the bears, probably don't attack people after them straight, but but that would be the kind of question you worried about cuz. You can spray a bear in a cage and see if a bear likes his stuff or not. I'm sure somebody's done that. But it's liar- did like you probably don't stand in the cage with the bear when he sprang to see whether, after using Friday goes in huddled in the corner, he tries to EU wide you are right that someone has tried zoology student yours gunning Gary Miller saved El bear his name was gradually who was slated for death and used him. This was a research project and nineteen. Seventy seven Anna. He used a bunch of different things to see what what greatly did not Lake Anna Dog spray was the first apparently successful one, and then the experiment was can
acted on for other bears, and then another student and carry hunt tested a range of prototypes of bare sprays. Part of her masters thesis at the University of Montana in the nineteen eighties, and apparently it does work pretty well be bears ever heard. Anyone dynasty think we hear about shark, a taxi no you and I have written a lot about how how sharks have never taken one, but but unless you're, a total idiot and you like her food in your tent, do bears actually bother. Anyone well, here is a site based on newspaper counts, collected during nineteen. Eighty five to ninety six are not very new brown. Bear attacks resulted in two point: seven, five, human injuries and point for two deaths per year in Alaska, so Alaska alone, half a death a year, here's yellowstone as an example, since nineteen eighty over a hundred million people visited Yellowstone National Park during
time thirty, eight people were injured by Grizzly bears, which is a sub species of the brown bear. So not nothing pretty close to nothing compared to determine what is a can of bears great cost at air cannabis. Raising a cheap to your point. More people die in the park from drownings burns from hot springs and suicide, not so surprising, suicide being a leading cause of death in United States. See your answer to robs question is: don't worry about it. That's your answer to man, who's, asking whether bears frameworks? Yes, I represent a slightly different question, which was in a world in which we can't do randomize experiments. How do we know what works and what does it? And I think what you're discussion point? How was a pretty sensible thing like shark endure any by experts But if I got a bear in a cage and ice cream in the face, and then I spray for other bears and all four of them are very
happy and lie down on the ground moaning afterwards. It does seem like pretty good evidence that bears aren't going to like this, but, like the economic part of it, which is interesting, is halo than this turns into an industry where you put some stuff in a can that probably cost like zero dollars and twenty five cents to produce, and then beyond sensibly, you charge high prices, because people are terrified of bears and you multiply that out and yet nobody was ever gonna get attacked by a bear. In the first place. This citation, I'm looking at says it bear spray, is better than guns or funding off bears. People had firearms on them during close encounter with the bear had the same injury rate, fifty six percent, regardless of whether they use their firearm or not that surprise you so the implication sound like if you shoot a bear. The bare keeps on running at you, but
His brain with bare sprayed they turn around. While you that are you know you, MR yeah, but it also wouldn't may be surprised me that if you should bear the Duke Browning Cause, I don't exactly know what happened but but when you get sprayed in the face with stuff it heard so much. I can't even think about it to good question. I had an interesting you. This is a little bit unrealistic, though, when I was in India, I went to try to see tigers, one of the national parks, and we got to talk about guns in and tigers as I I asked him, I they did carry guns the tigers, not that HU. The rangers care the gun it. So so I ass a guy if he ever had had to two gun against a tiger, and he looked at me like. I was crazy anything we all we can and we could never. shoot, the gun in the air, but we absolutely could never showed a tiger, and I said well, one of the tiger was like eating me and he said no. I mean that
years are more valuable than people aunt em and it's only after a tiger has even three or four people that we would relocate the tiger to a place where they went so many people around, but it was. It was really interesting to hear it because it was a very different perception. but the relative value of humans and animals size. I said to the guy surely you must value the the tourist life higher than One of the local people's lives down you, but he very clearly that no tours lives were still nothing. near the value of tyres left me did you think about trying to get hold of his gun if you in Canada charging Tiger, you know that, despite the fact that we bounced around for eight hours through this, while the mark not angers the and not a no tigers, we saw one animal the entire time we're there. We saw that the butt of a deer running into the underbrush in eight hours, so this price discrepancy between the? U s
in India, in this case, in the value of human life compared to a tiger how'd, you think about that discrepancy. Is there a quote rate way to price human life in that context, pressing human life, hard and I don't think, there's a right answer. I think I've put it like pressing anything arrived, the the value that I put on any particular good or services or I activity or animal a person is gonna, be very individualistic, very different from from yours and and the society we have. Various tools for retry to aggregate people's preferences in through surveys are not to see what would something's worth if something we, try to do say when there are lawsuits going on or when their trade, being done, you're trying to figure out whether you should save, and indeed you species, but its turn out to be really hard to come up with good estimates of what
as a society, we think the value is of a tight you're all tigers together- and I think, if you say it really clearly look. There's, there's ed tiger and a random person who lives in India and we're about to shoot one of em. We only have one bullet. Who would you like us to shoot? I don't know, I'm not sure what most people would say, but that is a pretty direct way of getting at the question. Excellent. We should sign off they also want to say good to be back on doing the thing he's done. No reasons to them are often limit may start to be well. Ok to nearby thanks for listening to our frequently asked questions in space
thanks to J Jones, Bruno keepers make more Rhine Lily, wait, Marvin Young Jimmy daringly and Rob eaten for sending in their questions on the next episode of economics. Radio, if I asked you to guess the most trusted profession, America mode. You say most trusted fashion. I answered and Riviere called construction worker eyelids librarians nope. None of those the answer was trusted. Profession, I would say, is, I would say, nursing, correct nurses for fifteen years straight soap. In our next episode, we will talk about what nurses contribute to our health care system, so these effects quite large, who here about a national movement, its re, imagining the role of nurses, the avenue seems to be that in
greasing. Accessibility is actually getting better outcomes and will hear how this movement is running into political and regulatory hurdles. Racist, almost insane, it's like putting the method in charge of them. They are police department, its next time on for economic radio.
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Transcript generated on 2021-01-22.