The beggar and the hot dog guy

Freakonomics, now wrapped in the folds of the Grey Lady, asks several notable people a question:

You are walking down the street in New York City with $10 of disposable income in your pocket. You come to a corner with a hot dog vendor on one side and a beggar on the other. The beggar looks like he’s been drinking; the hot dog vendor looks like an upstanding citizen. How, if at all, do you distribute the $10 in your pocket, and why?

This is how Arthur Brooks, Tyler Cowen, Mark Cuban, Barbara Ehrenreich, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Stephen Dubner, and Roland Fryer responded.

Tyler Cowen is currently popular-economics' big star with the release of his new book Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist. I read half of it on the flight out to DC today and wholeheartedly recommend it. Cowen has a distinct voice, very assured and direct, but his interest in food and art and popular culture give his writing a mass appeal that some of his peers don't tap (a conscious choice on the part of many of them, I'm sure).

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