A feisty US-Canada dispute initiated by our very own Joshua Gans now seems to have been resolved. For those who haven’t been following it, here’s the history.
This one is for the clearly I have now seen it all category. From Robert Oxoby at the University of Calgary, a paper entitled â€œOn the Efficiency of AC/DC: Bon Scott versus Brian Johnson.â€ From the introduction: “â€¦ with respect to the rock band AC/DC, who is the better vocalist: Bon Scott or Brian Johnson? â€¦ In this paper, we explore this issue. Since it is difficult to ascertain which vocalist was better given the heterogeneity of musical tastes, our analysis does not focus on the aural or sonic quality of the vocalistsâ€™ performances. Rather, using tools from the field of experimental economics…”
This Is What Happens to People Who Listen to Too Much AC/DCâ€¦ They grow up to write economics papers like this one, which looks at whether participants in lab experiments get closer to efficient outcomes when exposed to one lead singer of the rock band AC/DC versus another. I hope for this guyâ€™s sake he has tenure. (Hat tip to Joshua Gans.)
I was curious why I was getting email about this paper. To ease everyoneâ€™s concerns, yes the paper is a joke. The paper was written using old data from a grad student studying the effects of different genres of music on behavior (following previous research identifying the effect of different genres on heart rate, etc.; her original interest was on the use of music in behavior therapy). She abandoned the project and has since disappeared from her program. The AC/DC spin was due to a mistake in the protocols: different songs were played in two sessions. As far as I know the grad student paid for the experiments. I wrote this piece while delayed in the Vancouver airport. Costs to Canadian taxpayers, zero. Making the Freakonomics blogâ€¦ priceless.
A paper written during an airport delay? Now that’s impressive.