The Economics of Spongeworthiness
Avinash Dixit is one of my favorite economists, in part because he has a trait that is extremely rare among economists: a good sense of humor.
In a recent paper, Avinash explores a decision problem drawn from Seinfeld. When the contraceptive sponge that Elaine favors is taken off the market, she scours the city buying up as many sponges as she can; but with finite supply, she faces a difficult decision as to which men are worthy of her precious sponges.
Avinash uses the tools of stochastic dynamic programming to help Elaine?solve her problem.
For this important contribution, I suspect Elaine would conclude that Avinash is himself spongeworthy.