Thursday, February 04, 2010


In my opinion, consumers today are more powerful than at any other time in history. With the internet allowing anybody to publish his or her experiences with a company, businesses have high incentives to make customers happy. We are able to buy goods more cheaply, and also to allocate our time and money more efficiently because, with just a little trouble, we can figure out what is a good deal and what is a waste.

We also can protect ourselves from being hoodwinked (usually. In some complex areas, such as stock market investments, average consumers can't always easily figure out what is wise and foolish. But most of the time, we can easily avoid getting tricked). Consider the following, which is appropriate since I just returned from a snowboarding trip. A couple of economists
studied snow reports from 2004 to 2008 and compared them to area government weather stations. They found that ski resorts across the U.S. and Canada reported more fresh snow — 23 percent more, on average — on skier-coveted weekends than during the week.
Some might say that this practice (or any false advertising) is a travesty and should be illegal. But the authors noted that an iPhone app that made it easy for folks to post about ski conditions in real time dramatically decreased these exaggerations. As information is more easily disseminated, problems like this will fix themselves.

Don't be fooled by my stance in the picture below; I am not about to break into Irish dance.


Kathy said...

You could be trying to hoodwink your loyal readers with that picture! I am related to you guys and can't even tell who is in the picture!

Chick in the Czech said...

It is David, me, and Tom. I want to go back!