Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Three-Inch Conspiracy, Inflation, and Money Illusion

What is the average difference between the true height of a basketball player and the height listed in the programme?

I had friends 40 years ago who used to laugh about being listed at 6'2" when they were really only 5'10" or maybe 5'11" with shoes on. This deception has been going on for decades; everyone knows it and everyone adjusts.

Here is more, buried in the comments section of this posting about Yao Ming. [h/t to Tyler Cowen's piece on Yao Ming for leading me there]. The consensus there seems to be that the average amount of over-statement of basketball players' heights is about 3".

Is the Three-Inch Conspiracy like simple inflation? Not quite, since inflation is usually represented as a rate of increase, not a specific amount of an increase. For the conspiracy to be be like inflation, it would have to be a 5% conspiracy or something like that.

Is the Three-Inch Conspiracy like money illusion? In some ways it is. While "everyone knows" the heights of basketball players are over-stated in the programmes, no one knows for sure how much each player's height is over-stated. And some people rely on official height data, even though the data are inaccurate. That seems a bit like money illusion to me.
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