The economics of love and happiness

It's not called a social science for nothing. 4 ways to recession-proof your personal life

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Tyler Cowen, Money Magazine contributing writer

SUBMIT

(Money Magazine) -- You may think economics is just about GDP and the Fed. But actually, it's the science of weighing costs and benefits - which makes it also very useful for solving problems in everyday life.

How to win an argument with your spouse

A marriage, like a lot of economic arrangements, is a long-term investment. It's smarter to defer an immediate profit (proving to your spouse that you're more intelligent/ deserving/put upon) in order to gain a longer-lasting one (a spouse who thinks you take his or her points seriously).

So in the middle of your next battle, stop and remember, "The chance that I am wrong is at least 50%." And ask yourself whether this particular fifty-fifty proposition is worth the certainty that you'll steam your spouse if you insist on winning. Then give in.

How to find a good restaurant in a strange city

Keep in mind just one simple principle: Competition raises quality and lowers price. Look for large numbers of restaurants of a similar kind - barbecue in rural Texas, Mexican food in Chicago - where competition will work its magic. Avoid going to the restaurant on the main drag; the worst ones are those with a captive (or lazy) audience.

How to really help a charity

What you don't want to do is send a check for $50 with a hint that you own a yacht. Because fund raising is so expensive, the nonprofit will probably end up spending more money on future solicitations than you're worth. Minimize the costs of extracting a donation and processing it: Give one large amount to your favorite cause rather than small sums to many.

How to get someone to fall in love with you

Join a dating service such as eHarmony that uses scientific formulas to tell a potential mate that you are a terrific match. The point is not that the formulas really work (who knows?) but that the users of the service believe they do - and therefore will be receptive to you. A lot about closing a deal, whether in business or romance, is simply being open to it.

- Tyler Cowen is an economist at George Mason University and author of "Discover your inner economist." To top of page

Send feedback to Money Magazine
Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
Coolest innovations around the world From flying cars to floating schools, these innovations are improving the lives of people around the world. More
6 luxury getaways to escape your digital life Step away from your smartphone. No Facebook or Twitter here. These are six places where luxury travel agents send clients looking to unplug and experience the ultimate digital-detox getaway. More
Most reliable cars - Consumer Reports These cars, trucks and SUVs scored best in the magazine's latest survey of vehicle owners. More


Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.