Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mothers and Daughters

According to Tyler Cowen:
There is a mother and a daughter, and the mother wants the daughter to clean her room. Cleaning the room doesn’t take long, but it does involve the daughter getting out of bed at some positive cost.

The mother can come and threaten to beat the daughter with a broomstick. That will induce a rapid-enough cleaning (or a good enough start), but the mother would prefer to achieve the end of a clean room without such drastic measures. That said, the mother will wield the broomstick if that is the only means of getting the room cleaned. The daughter has a slight preference not to be threatened with the broomstick, ceteris paribus.

Time passes and for a while nothing happens. What is the equilibrium?
Read on to see Cowen's take. The first comment on the post is also worth a read.

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