A Reader’s Dilemma

A reader, who wishes to remain anonymous and whom I shall refer to only as Jedi Knight, writes with a difficult problem:

I love your Marginal Revolution blog enough to read it every day. In fact, I check back several times a day and I’m disappointed when I find no new entries.

However, I have told no one about it. Your blog makes me appear smart and full of interesting takes on the topics of the day. If I shared with people where I get my information, people would not be anywhere near as impressed with me.

So, I have a dilemma. I should hope that your blog stays popular enough to encourage you to keep up your publishing efforts, but I don’t want to be the one who spreads the word. I can only imagine that there are many others out there like me…

Dear Jedi Knight,

First, you imagine correctly. Many readers have come to us with exactly this dilemma. How can one keep a public good private? We at MR have puzzled over this and have several suggestions. Instead of telling your friends about MR try telling strangers. Sidle up to someone on the street and whisper “Pssst, want some good econ blog? Marginal Revolution is phat.” We have found that this works well. Also, as Cowen and Tabarrok (2000) discuss, there are two strategies in the arts. Sell to a lot of people at a low price or sell to a few cognoscenti at a high price. You, Jedi Knight, are among the cognoscenti! Send cash. Or at least shop at Amazon with the MR link /marginalrevol-20.


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