by Michael Ho
Wed, Oct 7th 2009 11:48pm
With the follow-up to Freakonomics coming out, as part of the plan to promote SuperFreakonomics, the books' authors are auctioning off the very 1st printed copy on eBay for charity. The winner of the auction gets a signed copy of this book, as well as a verification letter and a limited-edition SuperFreak t-shirt. Clearly, the economists behind this offer understand the value of scarce goods, and they've tried to increase that value with a couple extra goodies (as well as a matching donation up to $5,000 from Stephen Dubner). But wouldn't it be more interesting to see additional "reasons to buy" around the content, along with typical "freakonomic" analysis of what works and why? Dubner has already suggested (tongue-in-cheek) that the winner won't suffer from winner's curse, but will there be more practical lessons to be learned from this auction? How would the results of this charity auction be different if it did a Dutch auction (like xkcd did recently)? Auctioning off another copy of the book without the charity aspect would be an interesting test, too. And are there other scarce items that Stephen Dubner or Steven Levitt could offer for their book sales?
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