2017年11月17日 星期五

Why Surge Prices Make Us So Mad諾貝爾經濟學得主:不該強推一套會引起道德義憤的規則

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2017/11/24 第193期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Why Surge Prices Make Us So Mad諾貝爾經濟學得主:不該強推一套會引起道德義憤的規則
The Silent Film Returns - on Social Media能在最公開的地方私下觀賞 無聲影片打進社群媒體
Why Surge Prices Make Us So Mad諾貝爾經濟學得主:不該強推一套會引起道德義憤的規則
文/Neil Irwin

When Bruce Springsteen decided to do a run of shows at a Broadway theater with fewer than a thousand seats, he appeared to reject the laws of economics — or at least what would seem to be in his financial best interest.

He limited ticket prices to $75 to $850 and has been allocating them through a lottery that includes identity verification. His goal was to prevent scalping. Yet not everyone who sought tickets got them at those prices. The tickets that have leaked onto the open market on StubHub ranged in one recent search from $1,200 to $9,999.



It sure looks as if Springsteen left a great deal of money on the table and impeded the laws of the marketplace. After all, some people got tickets for $75 for which others were willing to pay four figures.

But the strategy may be less irrational than the raw numbers suggest. And understanding the hidden logic behind concert pricing — or how the Home Depot responds to a hurricane, or even how your neighborhood restaurant handles the Valentine's Day crunch — can provide a guide to solving some of society's biggest problems while satisfying people's deep need for a sense of fairness.



Understanding this logic can also win you a Nobel. At least, it did recently for the University of Chicago economist Richard H. Thaler, who was honored for work that includes study of what constitutes fairness in markets. He has shown that the simplistic Economics 101 version of how markets work — in which a seller raises prices however much it takes to match demand — can be inefficient, or offend people's moral sensibilities, or both.

Technology is making "variable" or "dynamic" pricing — the same strategies that ensure airplane seats, hotel rooms or Uber cars are almost always available if you're willing to pay the price — more plausible in areas with huge social consequences.



Dynamic pricing of electricity could help bring down pollution, reduce energy costs and make renewable energy more viable. Constantly adjusting prices for access to highways and congested downtowns could make traffic jams, with all the resulting wasted time and excess emissions, a thing of the past. Any sector where supplies tend to be fixed but demand fluctuates — the water supply, health care — would seem like prime candidates for variable pricing.

But technologists, entrepreneurs and regulators who would go down this path first need to learn a few lessons from Thaler — and Springsteen.

"A good rule of thumb is we shouldn't impose a set of rules that will create moral outrage, even if that moral outrage seems stupid to economists," Thaler said.







變動定價也稱動態定價,指的是持續調整價格來配合個別顧客需要,屬定價方式(pricing method)一種,而dynamic反義詞則為static(靜態的),又文中俚語leave money on the table則是玩撲克牌時會使用的術語,意指本可獲取很多利益,但最終卻放棄了一部分。

此外,我們一般購物時常見到的建議售價英文則是 list price、recommended selling price或MSRP(Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price),而價格飆漲的英文會使用surge一字,價格暴跌則會用slump。

The Silent Film Returns - on Social Media能在最公開的地方私下觀賞 無聲影片打進社群媒體
文/Amanda Hess

The summer's hottest destination for video entertainment is a U.K.-based social media brand called LADbible. In July alone, the viral clips that churn out of its Facebook page were viewed more than 3 billion times.

Although the site is nominally branded around young British men, its offerings hold an oddly universal appeal. On a recent afternoon, it served up videos of a guy accidentally hitting himself in the head with a baseball bat; a pizza being made out of french fries; a dog bathing in a Jacuzzi; a woodworker crafting a salad bowl; a tourist riding a slide down the Great Wall of China and a manatee kissing a snorkeler.



The videos are curated from disparate sources, filmed on smartphones and GoPros around the world, but they all have one thing in common: They're best watched silently. If they even have sound, it's completely beside the point.

We are living in the golden age of the silent video. Although we may still pop headphones in to watch a YouTube rant, social media has cultivated its own mute visual culture. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are designed to encourage endless scrolling, and that boosts videos that are made to catch the viewer's eye without offending her ear with grating bursts of noise.



The clips that spread the furthest online are the ones that can be consumed anywhere without disruption: on the subway, the sidewalk or in the doctor's office; next to a partner in bed, behind the counter at work or under the desk in class. They're the ones that allow for private experiences in the most public of places. And in the internet's global marketplace, they're the ones that transcend language barriers, instantly legible to viewers in Peoria or Paris.

Tubular Labs, the online video analytics company that placed LADbible at the top of its rankings, has found that of videos posted to Facebook by media companies, 46 percent of views go to videos that are completely silent or just accompanied by music. And in practice, an even higher proportion of social videos are watched silently. Advertising agency BBDO Worldwide says that more than 85 percent of its clients' Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off.


將LADbible列為自家排行榜首位的網路影片分析公司Tubular Labs發現,各媒體公司張貼於臉書的影片,完全無聲或只伴隨音樂者占了46%的瀏覽量,且實際上,靜音觀賞社群影片的比率則又更高。廣告機構天聯表示,逾85%客戶在觀賞臉書影片時會關掉聲音。

All of that has given rise to a particular kind of video spectacle on social media, one that is able to convey its charms without dialogue, narrative or much additional context. To entertain soundlessly, viral video makers are reanimating some of the same techniques that ruled silent film more than 100 years ago.



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