My close friend, colleague, and frequent co-author John List has written a popular (non-academic) book with another economist, Uri Gneezy. John and Uri are pioneers in the area of “field experiments” which bring the power of randomized experiments into real-world settings. In my opinion, field experiments are the future of empirical economics. We’ve written at length in our books and on our blog about the amazing work these two have been doing. I’ve had the chance to read John and Uri’s book, and I loved it.
The thing they can’t figure out, however, is what to call the book! If only my sister Linda – the greatest namer of things the world has ever known — were still around, she would figure out a great title for sure. In her absence, they’ve asked if I could mobilize the collective genius of you, the Freakonomics blog readers.
Okay, so here is the deal. Below, I’ve provided some information on the book and links to some materials that might prove useful to you in coming up with a name. You have two days to generate great titles for the book, which you can submit as comments on this blog post.
The authors will choose their three favorite blog-generated titles. Those three possible titles, along with the current working title (Our Hidden Motives: The Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life) will then be subjected to a popularity contest on the blog. The most popular title will be the winner, unless the publisher hates it.
The creator of the winning title will get $1,000, will be thanked in the book’s acknowledgments, and will have a great cocktail-party story to tell until the end of time. But to win the prize, you have to beat the working title.
Here is some background information to help you out.
Here is the preface I wrote for the book.
Here is an excerpt from the book that looks at gender differences.
And, finally, the publisher’s description of the book:
Uri Gneezy and John List are trailblazers in one of the greatest innovations in economics of the last fifty years: the use of randomized field experiments to determine whether a relationship between two variables is truly causal or merely correlation. If the relationship is causal we learn something important about the way the world really works
In their new book Uri and John provide their breakthrough ideas for taking on big, complicated problems, using colorful stories from their travels and experiments around the world as they examine the sensitive hidden aspects of economics. They lead us on a journey to discover the economics underlying human motivation and how to structure the incentives that can get people to move mountains.
But finding the right incentives can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Like other economists they gather data, and build models but go much, much further, embedding themselves in our messy world – the factories, schools, communities, offices where people live, work and play.
Their goal: to discover solutions to big difficult problems such as how to close the gap between rich and poor students, stop the violence plaguing inner city schools, discover the real reasons people discriminate, see whether women are really less competitive than men and correctly price products and services.
The results of their field experiments will change the way we think about and take action on big and little problems and force us to rely no longer on assumptions , but upon evidence of what really works.
This is economics, not as the dismal science, but the passionate science. Economics as if people matter.