Archives for Daniel hamermesh



Fitness Apartheid: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

A New York City apartment building has a gym that only certain tenants can use. Which tenants? The newer ones who are paying market-rate rents — and not the ones who’ve lived there long enough to qualify for much cheaper, government-subsidized rent. Some tenants call this “fitness apartheid.” What do economists call it?

That’s what this week’s show is about. The episode is called “Fitness Apartheid.” (You can subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. You can also read the transcript, which includes credits for the music you’ll hear in the episode.)

You’ll hear Theda Palmer Saxton and Jean Green Dorsey, both residents of Stonehenge Village, the building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with the controversial gym. Stephen Dubner also talks to Steve Levitt and Daniel Hamermesh, a  professor of economics at Royal Holloway University of London and Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. (Hamermesh was on the show most recently talking about discrimination and looks.) As you’ll hear, Levitt and Hamermesh have pretty different points of view. Read More »



Hamermesh on The Daily Show: Ugly People

Our friend and contributor Dan Hamermesh was featured on The Daily Show last night, in a piece about ugly people. Hamermesh has done extensive research on the economic disadvantages of being unattractive. His most recent book, Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful, shows how all kinds of economic benefits flow toward physical beauty, from higher salaries, to better loan rates, to attractive, educated spouses.

In the bit, Hamermesh and Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones have some fun discussing whether “uglo-Americans” should be given special legal protection. Read More »



How Diversifying Helps a Lawsuit

A related set of lawsuits involving billions of dollars has provided employment opportunities for a number of consulting economists specializing in antitrust issues or labor economics issues. I’ve been involved in three of the cases, and they have been great fun (and a good way of paying dental bills). I was crestfallen to find out […] Read More »



A Paycut By Any Other Name Is Still a Paycut

There are at least four ways of meeting a decline in labor demand: laying off workers, cutting nominal annual salaries, cutting hires, or reducing hours. It is difficult to lay off tenured faculty; but in this recession, universities are using two other methods of cutting payroll. Some schools have imposed faculty hiring freezes. Others are […] Read More »



How Far Should Your Sympathies Go?

Over the past few months, the press has deluged Americans with weepy stories about people who are in danger of losing their houses because their sub-prime mortgages now exceed the value of their houses, which the recession and the popping of housing bubbles have caused to drop. I am sympathetic; and I, and other taxpayers, […] Read More »



The Army's Not Coming Up Short

NPR reported last month that, for the first time in five years, the U.S. Army had more than met its recruiting goals. This happens every time unemployment rises, and it should be absolutely no surprise. People choose military service after high school partly out of a desire to serve the country; but there is strong […] Read More »



The Continuing Saga of the Suits

In facing the “Buy one, get one free” suit deal, my quick-thinking wife said, “Let’s take the second suit anyway.” She called our older son on her cell phone from the store, as we knew he was shopping for a suit, and he said he was interested.

The store has a branch where he lives, so we are taking the suit to him this week when we visit. He will take it in and exchange it at no cost to himself for the suit he wants. While I would have derived perhaps $50 of consumer surplus from the “free” second suit, a suit’s value to him is at least $300; and with the pick of the store, he’ll buy a fancier suit. Read More »



My "Buy One, Get One Free" Burden

My wife made me give my 12-year-old suit to charity, so I had to get a new one. Men’s Wearhouse had some nice outfits, and I was willing to pay a lot for a good suit.

Top-of-the-line models were available for $600, and they were on sale: “Buy one, get one free.” I was going to buy one even without the sale, and $600 was about what I wanted to spend. But I have almost no use for the “free” suit; I derive little consumer surplus even from a “free” second new suit. Read More »