Among the fables critiqued here are the lighthouse, the keyboard, the bees and the orchard, General Motors′ acquisition of Fisher Body, the Liberty Ships and the learning curve, predatory pricing and tulip mania. This provocative book explores the mythical nature of some of economists′ favorite stories and raises fundamental questions about the role of the government in society. It provides an intriguing look at economic thought that is accessible to general readers, students, professionals, and academics.These articles suggest that economic analysis of market efficiency should rely on systematic study of institutions and transaction costs rather than on casual anecdotes.
Introduction: Economic Fables and Public Policy: Daniel F. Spulber.
1. The Lighthouse in Economics: Ronald H. Coase.
2. The Voluntary Provision of Public Goods? The Turnpike Companies of Early America: Daniel B. Klein.
3. The Fable of the Bees: An Economic Investigation: Steven N. S. Cheung.
4. The Fable of the Keys: Stan J. Liebowitz, and Stephen E. Margolis.
5. Beta, Macintosh, and Other Fabulous Tales: Stan J. Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis.
6. Delivering Coal by Road and Rail in Britain: The Efficiency of the "Silly Little Bobtailed Wagons": Va Nee L. Van Vleck.
7. The Acquisition of Fisher Body by General Motors: Ronald H. Coase.
8. The Fable of Fisher Body: Ramon Casadesus–Masanell and Daniel F. Spulber.
9. Sharecropping: Steven N. S. Cheung.
10. Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (N.J.) Case: John S. McGee.
11. Another Look at Alcoa: Raising Rivals′ Costs Does Not Improve the View: John E. Lopatka and Paul E. Godek.
12. How Much Did the Liberty Shipbuilders Learn? New Evidence for an Old Case Study: Peter Thompson.
13. Financial Legends: The Economist.
"Famous Fables of Economics is a welcome addition. Students will learn that fables and myths should not be accepted at face value. More importantly, they will see how economics can be used to challenge these myths. The book will prove useful in an array of courses, especially those that deal with policy issues." Roger D Blair, University of Florida.