Saturday, 6 April 2013

...and while we're taking offence

Why so much outrage about Steven Landsburg's thought experiment, but so little about Jeff Ely's excellent prelim question? [note, I'm not at all outraged]

Jeff puts up a video from the wife-carrying competition, then asks:
The model:  At date 0 each of N husbands decides how fat his wife should be.  At date 1 they run a wife-carrying race, where the husband’s speed is given by some function f(s,w) where s is the strength of the husband, and w is the weight of his wife.  The function f is increasing in its first argument and decreasing in the second. The winner gets K times his wife’s weight in cash and beer.  Questions
  1. If the husbands are symmetric what is the equilibrium distribution of wife weights?
  2. Under what conditions on f does a stronger husband have a fatter wife?
  3. Derive the comparative statics with respect to K.
The solution to the problem is left as an exercise for the reader. Or for Seamus, who may wish to put it on his exam in Econ 203.

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