Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why Don't People Buy More CD Box Sets?

Economist Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution has a post talking about CD box sets and why people do not buy many of them (they buy the individual CDs over time instead):
There is a neuroeconomics critique of Big Box Sets. So much of the pleasure of a purchase lies in the anticipation of the buy rather than the having. The anticipatory pleasure of a Big Box Set, no matter how large, is not so much greater than the anticipatory pleasure from a single CD. Yet once you own a large box it sits around. You can't listen to the CDs all at once. They start to feel "stale," and then you go out and want that anticipatory fix again. Bryan Caplan aside, the anticipatory pleasure of "listening to the seventh CD in the box" is somehow not the same.
Are there any other examples of this phenomenon where you buy smaller packages to get more enjoyment out of actually buying them?

There is also the other issue where people buy huge packages of stuff at Costco and Sam’s Club when they most likely won’t use the whole box. Maybe because there is no “anticipatory pleasure” from buying lots of small packages of granola bars and socks (or at least not enough to outweigh the cost savings).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Voting Lotteries

Related to the last post on voter turnout, Arizona is considering a $1 million lottery program to increase voter turnout. Basically, if you vote in Arizona, you have one lottery ticket to a possible grand prize of $1 million dollars.

This program goes right along with our current discussion of incentives and voter turnout. What do you guys think of this program? Is it a good idea? How much of an effect do you think it will have?

I think an even more interesting question is: will this program change the demographics of the people voting in Arizona?

(Source: Volokh Conspiracy)

Which is worse: not voting or not knowing anything about the candidates?

Last week in class, we explained why so many people don't vote or don't know anything about the candidates because of rational ignorance. Basically, the probability that one vote will have any affect on an election means that many people think their time is more valuably spent on other activities.

Law Professor Ilya Somin has an interesting blog post about whether we should be concerned about low voter turnout (which was about 59% in the last Presidential election). He argues voter turnout is not low enough to be really concerned about and that the bigger problem is that most people don't know anything about the candidates they are voting for or against. (Read the post for his specific arguments)

What do you guys think is the bigger problem here? Should we be more concerned with the fact that only 60% of the country votes in the Presidential elections and even less vote in local elections? Or should we be more concerned about getting those people who do vote to be more educated on the candidates or issues they are voting on?

(Source: Cato @ Liberty)