Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Money Isn't the Only Cost

This shouldn't suprise anyone that knows anything about economics.

[A]ccording to a new study conducted by a Baltimore ER physician. Two years ago, he found that the number of men who check into the ER during a televised sporting event drops 30 percent as opposed to the levels on the same day of the week when there are no sports on. Now, his new study reveals that in the four hours after the event ends, overall ER attendance is 40 percent higher than the average for the same day and time of the week.

Critics often accuse economists of only caring about money, which simply isn't true. Money just happens to be the cost that is the easiest to identify and measure. Time, quality, happiness and all sorts of other intangibles enter into a persons' decision to purchase goods and services.

If someone can delay emergency medical treatment in order to finish the game is it suprising that some people would decide to forgo some treatments if they had to pay full price for it? The assumption that these decisions are wrong or not rational are simply off base because no one, except the person himself, understands what the risks and costs are.

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