Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Who Says Economists Don't Have a Sense of Humor?

I found this fun little nugget o' goodness whilst reading Infectious Greed, Paul Kedrosky's blog on Finance & the Money Culture. Now, I don't actually have access to the full paper, and you probably don't either, so I don't know if the "inconvenience cost" includes having to get the dog/cat/kids out of les toilettes 10 times a day. But, as Mr. Kedrosky notes, it's good to know that not all economists are unduly worried about, well, the economy. Or jobs. It's also good to know that they can put that fancy degree to work to win an argument. Next up: The Economic Costs of Sleeping on the Couch.

Up Or Down? A Male Economist's Manifesto on the Toilet Seat
This paper develops an economic analysis of the toilet seat etiquette. I investigate whether there is any efficiency justification for the presumption that men should leave the toilet seat down after use. I find that the “down rule” is inefficient unless there is a large asymmetry in the inconvenience costs of shifting the position of the toilet seat across genders. I show that the “selfish” or the “status quo” rule that leaves the toilet seat in the position used dominates the down rule in a wide range of parameter spaces including the case where the inconvenience costs are the same.

1 comment:

Jessica C said...

You can get the full paper here:

http://www.msu.edu/%7Echoijay/etiquette.pdf

In our house the debate is resolved by putting not just the seat down, but the lid as well, thus making the "inconvenience cost" the same for all users. Gender equity *and* no cats falling into the bowl. :-)