Peter Leeson is an economics professor at George Mason University and is known for connecting rational choice theory with unusual domains. He looks at human behavior as a series of puzzles that are being solved by those involved. He focuses his studies on everything from bizarre rituals and superstitions to the behavior of Caribbean pirates. Peter’s work has also been quoted as “Freakonomics on steroids.”
How does Peter come up with some of his “crazy” ideas? He likes to have a broad library to read from, particularly history books. As he reads he comes across a lot of practices that may seem outlandish to most, but fascinating to him. From there he digs deeper and finds meaning in certain practices through religion, economics, politics, etc.
Throughout Peter’s work it is clear that the main motivator driving behavior is incentives. What happens when we have government incentives vs. private incentives? Michael and Peter finish the podcast talking government intervention, wealth creation and cultural behavior driving capitalistic efforts.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
- Somalia pirates
- Anarchy vs. government
- Medieval law and order
- Trial by jury
- Logic of incentives
- Street hustlers
Mentions & Resources:
- Peter Leeson
- WTF?!: An Economic Tour of the Weird
- The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates