Freakonomics: Bacon Defies Rational Choice

Justin Wolfers of the Freakonomics blog manages to turn bacon ice cream into a lesson on rational choice:

Bacon: Delicious! Ice cream: My favorite! The combination of bacon and ice cream: a direct threat to my views of economics.

You see, every bite was awful. It wasn’t even really good bacon; it was cheap bacon bits scattered through the ice cream. But somehow, even though each mouthful was terrible, I couldn’t stop eating it.

It’s hard to match these repeatedly bad choices with our usual models of rational choice. You could say that my choices reveal a preference for bacon ice cream, but then that makes the theory of consumer choice a tautology.

My dinner colleague Tom Miles managed just one mouthful to satisfy his curiosity before reverting to his martini to wash away the bad taste. Yes, he’s a true Chicago economist, satisfying the usual axioms.

Bacon: Delicious, miraculous, destroyer of economic principles.

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