Who really makes money from fair trade coffee? Why is it impossible to buy a decent second hand car? How do the Mafia make money from laundries when street gangs pushing drugs don’t? Who really benefits from immigration? Looking at familiar situations in unfamiliar ways, The Undercover Economist is a fresh explanation of the fundamental principles of the modern economy, illuminated by examples from the booming skyscrapers of Shanghai to the sleepy canals of Bruges.
The Undercover Economist has been translated into 30 languages and sold nearly one million copies worldwide.
Most people think economics is boring, difficult and irrelevant. In fact, economics is fascinating, comprehensible and highly relevant. As Tim Harford demonstrates brilliantly in this enjoyable book, the powerful underlying ideas of economics can, in the hands of the right person, illuminate every aspect of the world we inhabit. - Martin Wolf – Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times – author of Why Globalization Works
Harford is smart. Scary smart. So smart he can illuminate, in clear, entertaining English, ideas and forces of mind-boggling complexity. - BusinessWeek
Economists do indeed think differently from the rest of us. This book gives an excellent introduction as to quite why they do. - The Daily Telegraph
Tim Harford (born 1973) is an English economist and journalist, residing in London. He is the author of four economics books and writes his long-running Financial Times column, "The Undercover Economist", which is syndicated in Slate magazine, revealing the economic ideas behind everyday experiences. His new column, "Since you asked", offers a sceptical look at the news of the week.
Harford was educated at Aylesbury Grammar School and then at Brasenose College, Oxford, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and then an Master of Philosophy degree in Economics in 1998.
Harford joined the Financial Times in 2003 on a fellowship in commemoration of the business columnist Peter Martin. He continued to write his column after joining the International Finance Corporation in 2004, and re-joined the Financial Times as economics leader writer in April 2006. He is also a member of the newspaper's editorial board.
In August 2007, he presented a television series on the BBC entitled Trust me, I'm an economist.
In October 2007, Harford replaced Andrew Dilnot on the BBC Radio 4 series More or Less. He is a visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford.
More or Less won the Royal Statistical Society's 2010 award for statistical excellence in broadcast journalism.
More or Less won Mensa's award for promoting intelligence in public life.
Harford was awarded the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism in 2007 (shared with Jamie Whyte). In 2010 he again drew with Whyte, in second place.
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