In his book “Catastrophe: Risk and Response”, Richard Posner (a prominent U.S. legal scholar and judge and the founder of the law and economics movement) analyses the costs and benefits of building a particle accelerator on Long Island. He estimates the probability of the particle accelerator wiping out the human race to be one in ten million, and assigns a monetary value of $600 trillion to such an event.
Having sexual intercourse with someone who has eaten Brazil nuts can cause an allergic reaction in someone who is allergic to them. It seems that Brazil nut proteins are secreted into semen which can then cause a reaction if it comes into contact with someone who has an allergy. 1
When fines were introduced for parents who arrived late to collect their children from six day-centres in Haifa, Israel, the number of parents who arrived late more than doubled. The suggested explanation for this unexpected result is that the parents considered the payment to be a fee for a service rather than a punishment, and therefore no longer felt guilty about their behaviour. 2
In his seminal 1970 book, The Gift Relationship, Richard Titmuss claimed that paying people to give blood reduced the supply of blood donors. Although the validity of his claims have been questioned, a 2010 study suggested that paying people to give blood had no effect on the number of male donors but reduced the number of female donors by half. 3
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AS Bansal et al. (2007). "Dangerous Liaison: Sexually Transmitted Allergic Reaction to Brazil Nuts." J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol; Vol. 17(3): 189-191.
Gneezy, Uri and Rustichini, Aldo, A Fine is a Price. Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1, January 2000. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=180117
Mellström, C. and Johannesson, M. (2008), Crowding out in blood donation: was Titmess right? Journal of the European Economic Association, 6: 845–863. doi: 10.1162/JEEA.2008.6.4.845
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