A few weeks ago I posted on appearing at the end of a Freakonomics radio show on “The Folly Of Prediction.” I now appear at the end of another Freakonomics radio show, this one on “Hey Baby, Is That a Prius You’re Driving?”, i.e., on signaling:
Managing our appearance is actually a lot of what we humans do. Trying to understand, business, trying to understand jobs, school, even medicine. If you don’t realize that people are trying to manage their image, you miss out on a lot of what’s going on.
I elaborate on how we economists signal:
Economists like to point out there’s almost no chance that your vote is going to determine an election. So one of the things an economists like to do to show off that they’re clever economists is to not vote and to say to everybody, hey I’m smarter than all the rest of you! See, I understand that by voting, it’s not going to make any difference, anyway. And we do a little of that too often. Say, you might not tip at a restaurant because you say, you know I’m never come back to this restaurant again. And so economists often think like that, they think through the strategy and they go out of their way of maybe being rude or a little thoughtless, in usual language, in order to show, hey I understand the strategy of this. I’ve got to admit, I do that sometimes. I tip at restaurants, I’ll tell you that, but still—