Not long ago I read the first of currently three economic detective stories by Marshall Jevons an alias for two economiﬆs William Breit and Kenneth G. Elizinga. So during my daily trips to my new office – I have a 20 minute train ride – I read the duo’s second economic detective story. Fatal Equilibrium is set at Harvard where the promotion and tenure committee has to decide whom to ax and whom to promote and give tenure. Using the scientific works of an assistant professor at the economics department several simple economic principles are conveyed in the most unobtrusive manner. En passant some more controversial economic methods and approaches to topics where other social sciences may disagree with the economist’s stance are discussed. The way I see it this book is considerably better suited for introducing first year students or other laymen interested in economics to the science and insights of economics than the first novel. And in my opinion, the writing has improved, too.
Of course, there is a murder. Actually, more than one. And the prime suspect, who is even found guilty by a jury, is not the culprit as the economic detective Professor Spearman accidentally discovers. And of course, his discovery is prompted by a simple economic principle.