Richard Thaler and Geoff Dyer on things that can’t exist


(chair saving a parking space, Levkas, Greece, 2017)


“During what amounted to a job interview at the University of Chicago for a position at what is now called the Booth School of Business, I had a lunch meeting with several of the finance faculty members. As we left the business school to walk over to the faculty club where we would have lunch, I spotted a twenty-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk, right outside the building. Naturally I picked it up, and then everyone started laughing. We were laughing because we all realized the irony of this situation. There is an old joke that says a Chicago economist would not bother to pick up a twenty-dollar bill on the sidewalk because if it were real, someone would already have snagged it.” – Richard Thaler, Misbehaving (2015)


(In Los Angeles) “We parked. We were always parking, either parking or driving around looking for a parking space or getting our parking ticket validated, never confident about the procedure, worried that we had parked in some place that looked like a parking space but wasn’t. Often the mere fact that a parking space was available suggested that it was not a parking space: if it had been a parking space it would already have been taken and would not have existed.” – Geoff Dyer, The ballad of Jimmy Garrison, in White Sands (2016)



(Italian restaurant, Oxford before the referendum, 2016)

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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