Friday, January 26, 2007

A Misleading Quiz

(First part is for economists)

1. Who invented the idea of Ricardian rents?

2. Who invented Marshallian quasi-rents?

3. Who originated the core idea of Nash Equilibrium?

(For other people)

4. Where did Irish potatoes originate?

5. Where was the original Brazilwood tree found?

6. Where do Jerusalem artichokes come from? For extra credit, what kind of food plant are they a variety of?

Other suggestions?


Anonymous said...

Here are some ideas:

Anonymous said...

What animal is the Canary Islands named for?

Glen Whitman said...

I remember taking a quiz many years ago titled, "The World's Easiest Quiz." All of the questions (except for the very last one) were like those in your post. I Googled it and found it here:

Anonymous said...

For whatever it is worth, the only questions I think I actually know the answers to are (3) and (4). That is, I'd certainly guess Ricardo and Marshall for (1) and (2), but I suspect those aren't right. :)

David Friedman said...

The Canary Islands are a good one--I didn't know.

Re Tom's response ... .

Ricardian rents were invented by Malthus and someone else whose name I forget. Marshallian quasi-rents appear (without, of course, the name) as a footnote in Ricardo's _Principles_, seventy years or so before Marshall "invented" the idea.

What's your answer to 3?

Alvaro Augusto W. de Almeida said...

Some answers:

4. Irish potatoes originated in South America, probably in Peru.

5. Brazilwood ("pau-brasil") was first discovered in Asia. The name of Brazil, the country, comes from the plant and not vice-versa.

[ ]s

Alvaro Augusto
Curitiba, PR, Brazil

Anonymous said...

Well, Nash's praised contribution was to prove that for any finite game there must exist at least one equilibrium, at least in mixed strategies. AFAIK Jonny von Neumann already showed that before for a special case, i think for two players. Cournot already had quite a good intuition about the concept when he analyzed oligopoly games. He did, however, treat the game as dynamic.

Anonymous said...

Here's one: Who came up with what is now commonly referred to as the Edgeworth box?

Mike Huben said...

Jerusalem artichokes are a sunflower native to the US.

Alvaro Augusto W. de Almeida said...

And what about the L'Hospital rule in mathematics? And the Pythagorean theorem?

[ ]s

Alvaro Augusto

David Friedman said...

But I expect nobody can tell us who invented Stigler's Law. That, so far as I know, is the central unsolved problem in the field.

(For those few not familiar with it, Stigler's Law is that scientific laws are never named after their real inventor.)

Mike Huben said...

Stigler's Law is hardly a law: there is far too much credit where credit is due. Newton's Laws of Motion, for example.

Even worse, it has some serious competition from synonymous eponymous laws which predate and postdate it, such as Boyer’s law, Whitehead's Law, and Arnold's law.

Perhaps we need a new law of eponomy, which is: "Eponymous laws are either misattributed, synonymous, homonymous, or egotistical." We can call that Huben's law, for the last reason. (Friedman's law is an example of the homonymy, as David has pointed out to me in the past.)

Alvaro Augusto W. de Almeida said...

Well, in the case of Newton's law of motion, at least one of them (that of inertia) was discovered by Galileo.

[ ]s

Alvaro Augusto

Mike Huben said...

Well, Galileo was not the first according to the wikipedia article on him: "Ibn al-Haitham had proposed it centuries earlier, as had Jean Buridan, and according to Joseph Needham, Mo Tzu had proposed it centuries before either of them, but this was the first time that it had been mathematically expressed."

We could argue that Newton's "external and unbalanced force" is different enough from Galileo's "disturbance" that the first law is substantively different. After all, Newton framed his laws in terms of forces, which was novel.

As Newtonian ideologues, we may find it different to appreciate the diference in those wordings: we may tend to interpret them as the same.

But in combination (at least), Newton's Laws are original.

Anonymous said...

Stiglers's law is attributed by Stigler to Robert K. Merton.

Anonymous said...

My answer, as someone noted later, is Antoine Cournot. I remember reading about him after trying to hunt down stuff about Nash after seeing A Beautiful Mind. (Who can't like a movie where one of the high points has a protagonist stand up in the middle of a crowded bar and declaim "Adam Smith was wrong!")

Milhouse said...

Glen Whitman: At least one of the questions/answers on the quiz you pointed to is wrong. Chinese gooseberries are indeed native to China, not New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Marshall come up with the idea of a "Giffen good," naming it after Giffen for reasons no one has ever figured out?

Anonymous said...

Halley's Comet - prehistoric discovery;
Gaussian (aka normal) distribution - Abraham de Moivre.

Anonymous said...

Where are Panama hats made?

How long was the Hundred Years War?

What was George VI's Christian name?

What month does Oktoberfest start?

Anonymous said...

The Oktoberfest question is a good one.

I stumpled upon another one. At least according to wikipedia, Walras' law was first expressed by John Stuart Mill.

David Friedman said...

"Didn't Marshall come up with the idea of a "Giffen good," naming it after Giffen for reasons no one has ever figured out?"

As best I can tell from a little googling, Marshall attributed the idea to Giffen but nobody has found it in Giffen's published work. Since Marshall and Giffen were contemporaries, that suggests to me that Marshall got it from Giffen in either correspondence or conversation.

Anonymous said...

What was King George III's first name?

Some months have 31 days, how many have 28?

If you have 3 cookies and you take 2 How many do you have left?

If you have 3 pills and the docter said to take one every 30 minutes, how much time does it take you to consume all 3 pills?

Gunther said...

aha aha ok

red said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
gtbiehle said...

Coincidentally I have spent the last two days trying to find who should win the prize for discovering/inventing the first law of motion. Newton gave the credit to Galileo, for good reason, but Galileo pictured inertial motion only in two dimensions, making great circles around the Earth. Most historians give the prize to Descartes, but I think the prize belongs to Pierre Gassendi, a disciple of Galileo who predated Descartes.