Thursday, May 10, 2007

When Economists Go Wrong

From the Federal Reserve Bank of SF Working Papers Series on Basic Economic Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Relative Status and Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Suicide Deaths (pdf) by Mary C. Daly, Daniel J. Wilson, and Norman J. Johnson. From the abstract:

We model suicide as a choice variable, conditional on exogenous risk factors, reflecting an individual's assessment of current and expected future utility.

Of course. Last time I calculated the present value of my expected future utility, I made a rational choice not to end my life. Thank goodness for neoclassical economics.

More likely is a grad student killing themselves because they are sick of solving the Hamiltonian a person would need to compute in order to decide whether to off one's self or not, according to the rational actor model of Mary Daly, et. al.


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