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Michael J. Stutzer Professor of Finance, University of Iowa.

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Anyone browsing the shelves at book superstores has seen them: books with provocative titles, whose covers promise to revolutionize our understanding of important phenomena. Often, these books are written by authors who aren't famous academicians. As a result, readers must be especially careful to avoid being swept away by persuasive arguments that won't really stand up to proper scientific scrutiny.


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Butterfly Economics was written by Paul Ormerod, who has been a visiting professor at the universities of London and Manchester, as well as a research head on the staff of the respected British weekly The Economist. Yet the book is better than most in this genre, particularly at inducing the reader to think more deeply about the work of researchers and its practical significance.

The author discusses some social phenomena, including the fluctuations over time in the fractions of people who vote for a specific political party, who are criminals or who are married. But the most detailed analysis in the book is devoted to theories attempting to explain business cycle fluctuations in U. Ormerod first examines the ability of a currently popular academic tool, called real business cycle theory RBC , to explain fluctuations in output.

Like most theories in economics, RBC contains unobservable parameters, whose values must be specified either by some estimation or calibration process before it can be used to make quantitative predictions.

The author justly credits this theory's ability to be parametrized in a way that correctly predicts the variability of U. But the author also cites studies of other researchers claiming that extant RBC models cannot properly account for some other statistical properties of U. See details for description of any imperfections. Skip to main content. About this product. Stock photo.

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Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior

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Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior by Paul Ormerod

USD Overview In this cogently and elegantly argued analysis of why human beings persist in engaging in behavior that defies time-honored economic theory, Ormerod also explains why governments and industries throughout the world must completely reconfigure their traditional methods of economic forecasting if they are to succeed and prosper in an increasingly complicated global marketplace. Show More. Preface I wrote this book in response to a need for a different approach to learning. The process includes developing a heightened awareness of the challenges and opportunities, the tools for dealing with unhappy customers by using the power of customer expectations and by creating loyalty, the ability to lead, expand, and empower the service process, specific skills forprofessional success, and a clear understanding of the future directions of customer service.

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Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior

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