AEIOpeners: Sita Nataraj Slavov's reading list

Economist Sita Nataraj Slavov specializes in public finance issues dealing with retirement and the economics of aging. Her recent work has focused on whether retiree health insurance encourages early retirement, the impact of widowhood on out-of-pocket medical expenses among the elderly and the optimal time to claim Social Security. Before joining AEI, Slavov taught a variety of economics courses at Occidental College: game theory, public finance, behavioral economics and econometrics. She has also served as a senior economist specializing in public finance issues on the White House's Council of Economic Advisers.

"The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life," Steven Landsburg, 2007

This book is a primer on the economic way of thinking and its implications, which often defy conventional wisdom. Landsburg is unrelenting in his application of economic logic to policy and everyday life.  He chooses provocative examples and deliberately tries to be controversial, so the book is never dull, even for those who disagree with his analysis. 

"Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets," Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 2008

Taleb provides a terrific account of the importance of randomness in determining outcomes — and of our tendency to spin narratives about them, fooling ourselves into thinking that they are less random.  This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever been tempted to theorize about why the stock market went up or down on a particular day, why a recession or recovery occurred, or why a particular person is so successful. 

"Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets," John McMillan, 2003

From street bazaars to Internet auctions to initial public offerings, McMillan takes us on a tour of markets.  In the course of this tour, he provides insights into how markets work and why they may fail — and he demonstrates why well-designed markets are such a powerful tool for improving people's lives.

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