The Why Axis - Book Review
If you know someone who says that economists don’t write with passion or if you are tired of listening to the old saw that economics is the dismal science then read this book and pass it on. “The Why Axis” is about the importance of incentives in economic decision-making. But it’s much more than that. It’s about how to get the incentives right. In this book Gneezy and List tackle economics problems like a chemist would – they use their laboratories and conduct experiments. It covers the full gambit from figuring out ways to combat poverty and narrow the gap between rich and poor students to setting the right prices for products and services. If your idea of economics experiments was observing the behavior of rats in a maze and examining their behavior you will be in for a big surprise. There are no rats here. Actual people in real-world settings are observed in very well-crafted experiments. It’s a shame that this area of economics get short-thrift in principles of economics books. Maybe now that people have a chance to see the leverage that experiments can bring to bear on economics problem perhaps this will change.