MESSY ROOMS—CONCLUSIONS. Kids, the conclusions I come to about messy living spaces are: first it is a disadvantage in bargaining to want to change the status quo (and the status quo would be that the neat roommate does the cleaning). Second, as Bryan Caplan points out, there is no way to know how clean a room should be; it’s up to the roommates. Third, as Tyler Cowen points out, there are usually a number of other issues between roommates and spouses which involve allocating time and money. The ultimate conclusion on what will happen is: it depends. And, kids, one more thing, if you comment on the subject, please be careful about the examples you use.

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  1. Annalisa says:

    The conclusions are all wise, but I think the most powerful is the first. The person who wants to change the status quo is at a definite disadvantage, and it even goes further than that: When trying to change one’s own habits for the better, the part that prefers the status quo has such strength and implacability. Seems to me that it’s a deep part of human nature, to either resist change or maintain the status quo, however how prefer to look at it. Amazing what insights to human nature economics can teach us!

  2. Philip says:

    Annalisa, I think you are extending economic analysis to negotiations between different parts of the self. George Ainslie and Robert Strotz pioneered this kind of analysis, and I think it is a growing branch of economics.

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