Thursday, September 13, 2007
Sometimes in economics we assume all people are alike in terms of their tastes and preferences. This is helpful when doing theoretical work or showing basic theorems. I often wonder what the world would be like if everyone had my same preferences. My guess is each downtown would have the following businesses: a micro-brewery, a coffee shop, a deli, another coffee shop, an Indian restaurant, a Thai restaurant, another micro-brewery, yet another coffee shop, a brew supply store, and some big box store with everything else. Unfortunately (perhaps fortunately) tastes are different from person to person so there are hair salons, art supply stores, and antique stores. I thought about all of this when I read a recent blog post on Man Bites Blog, which I found through Marginal Revolution’s comments section. He asks pop economist bloggers: What motivates someone to answer a restaurant survey where there is a possibility to win a cash prize if you participate? The post lays out several factors. I think one more to think about is I might fill out a survey if I thought I could influence a business to cater to my taste. I actually did fill out a radio listening survey to hopefully influence radio stations to play better music. Perhaps if I fill out enough surveys my dream downtown can become a reality.