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Archaeological Economics

I’m thinking of starting a new field of economics, Archaeological Economics. In this field of economics, you take a news article about some public policy issue and use economics to reconstruct what really happened. There’s digging involved and you don’t find everything—you have to use your imagination. Here’s an example—California has banned hand-weeding on farms. You have to use a machine or a hoe. When I tell people this they either laugh or think it’s a humane regulation. But using a little economics, a little digging and a little imagination, you can at least see a skeleton starting to emerge that tells a richer story. Here’s my attempt to get at what’s really going on. Let me know if you like it. At the end of the piece you’ll find a link to another example of archaeological economics. Thanks to Noah Yetter for the pointer to the California story.