Battlepanda: Get your fats straight


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Get your fats straight

My least-favorite Nobel Prize winner, Gary Becker, strikes again:
With a small taste benefit from the use of trans fats-- the New England Medicine Journal article I cited earlier does admit positive effect of trans fats on "palatability"-- the total cost of the ban would equal or exceed total benefits. For example, suppose 1 million persons on average eat 200 meals per year in NYC restaurants with trans fats. If they value the taste of trans fats in their foods only by 35 cents per meal, the taste cost to consumers of the ban would be $70 million per year. Then the total cost of the ban would equal the benefits from the ban.

And how did he get those numbers? Especially the one that banning transfat from each meal costs consumers 35 cents in forgone taste benefits? Or for that matter the benefits of the ban would amount to less than 70 million a year? Why he pulled them out of his ass. And is it any surprise that Beckers ass-numbers seems to confirm exactly what he thought all along?

Sigh. Is it any wonder that people don't consider economics a science on par with, say physics? It's because physicists don't use ass-numbers.