Postponed paper

12th April, 2008

Dear Economist,
I subscribe to the FT and enjoy it with my morning coffee. Yet whenever there are school holidays, the paper is delivered late in the day, sometimes the next day or not at all. I expend valuable time calling FT circulation, which always promises this will never happen again. This has been going on for years. Should I be pragmatic and do nothing, saving my valuable time, or should I be quixotic, persisting in an effort to force the FT to live up to its timely delivery obligation in the hope that others may also benefit?
Conflicted Subscriber
Paris, France

Dear Conflicted Subscriber,

I am delighted to hear you love the FT and can vouch for the fact that, from newsroom to delivery team, its managers hand-pick elite workers. How, then, are we to explain this manifest underperformance of the organisation as a whole?

Economic investigation of sport offers a clue. Economists such as Mark Walker, John Wooders and Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, have studied professional tennis and football players. When deciding where to serve or place a penalty kick, they behave in rough accordance with economic theory. David Beckham, it seems, is an intuitive economist.

Yet in a team, the story gets worse. Economist V. Bhaskar studied the declarations of cricket teams, David Romer the fourth-down decisions of American football teams. Neither matched optimal strategy, perhaps because of internal team tensions.

This helps to explain your troubles but offers no solution. All I can suggest is that you make a fuss and write indiscriminately to complain. Evidently, you did not need me to tell you that.

Also published at

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This