Arnold Kling  

Tyler Cowen Interview

Robin Hanson Unbound... My Bias About Bias...

The inner economist talks with Russ Roberts. He points out that you are unlikely to say "no" to your dentist in person. You have given up control--deep in a chair (he says "strapped"), mouth open, and so on. But after you leave the dentist, you might not say "yes."

I had an experience like that recently. My dentist thinks I need old fillings re-filled. I said "yes" but I never scheduled the appointment.

In general, I worry that a dentist is like Jiffy Lube. I used to feel that Jiffy Lube always had its employees trained to find things that needed maintenance--that they would never let you walk out with just the oil change that you came in for. I have not been to Jiffy Lube for years, just because it's mentally easier to get an oil change from a mechanic who doesn't always recommend other things that need fixing.

The discussion ranges over many topics. If you haven't read Tyler's book yet, I would suggest reading listening to the podcast first. I think that going straight to the book without first finding out more about Tyler's thought process may be a mistake. By reading about Tyler or listening to him, you will have a better idea what to look for as you are reading the book.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (4 to date)
Ajay writes:

Here are some more brazen doctor examples as detailed by Emanuel Derman, a former head quant on Wall Streeet, on his blog.

danny writes:

Yes - I just had a similar experience at a dentist, who, after a cleaning, wanted to schedule 3 more follow up visits, and several thousand dollars of procedures. I don't have any pain in my mouth / teeth / gums.

I think the unclear incentives of professionals in law and health care are especially dangerous, since we often just put blind trust in the advice they give. Most people never consider that the advice a lawyer gives (to sue!) or doctor gives (to operate!), might not really be the most reasonable way to deal with a situation.

Horatio writes:

I have no problem telling these people no. The aggression of their sale is directly related to the severity of my rejection. If they tell me x is great, I reply that I'm not really looking for anything that does the job of x or that I don't have the money/time to spend on x. If they push really hard, I look them in the eye and tell them that if x were worth what they were selling it for, I would already have one. I often try to sell them an overpriced piece of crap at that point.

spencer writes:

How do you read a podcast? I generally avoid them because listening takes so long compared to reading.

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