Thursday, 11 March 2010

Two quick, good reads

I've blogged previously about Identity Economics. It's actually rather short - especially given that it has those annoying publishing tricks of having several blank pages between sections, starting the main text halfway down the page at the start of a new section etc. So it's only about 100 pages long and I managed to read it over the weekend. The main point is to try to bring norms into economic analysis. A reviewer on Amazon says (not unreasonably) that it doesn't take us very far, but it does provide quite a lot of ideas for future research, and it's an interesting perspective on things.

Secondly I can't praise highly enough Not Just For The Money by Bruno Frey. It's basically a run-through of the idea of motivation crowding, applied to a variety of policy issues. It's sensible stuff. He does not dispute that extrinsic motivation (not just money, by the way) has a role to play. In addition he argues that regulation can have a similar impact on intrinsic motivation as tying a lump of cash to an outcome. But he provides quite a few scenarios in which extrinsic motivation is likely to have little or negative effect. It's also got lots of references to other research, so a useful resource too. And again, only about 120 pages, so quick work.

Got to say the more I read of this stuff the more I question some of the ideas taken for granted in my corner of the world. I need to read some counter arguments!

No comments: