Monday, February 02, 2004

Up or Down? Toilet seat etiquette.

I have found another unusual article. In my quest to find articles written by economists applying the tools of the trade unique problems not normally thought of as economic in nature, I found this one, by Jay Choi.

So what is the most efficient rule to follow when leaving the toilet seat? Always up? Always down? The intuition is pretty easy, since lifting the toilet seat is as costly as putting it down, the rule that minimizes the number of times you have to move the seat is optimal. So both the "always up" and "always down" rules fail because they may require one person to move it twice, and there is still a positive probability that the next person would also have to move it twice. So the optimal rule is one that at most requires everyone to move it exactly once. Once up, or once down. So ladies, you are better off training your man to pee sitting down, in which case the always down rule would become the default.

Thanks to the Marginal Revolution for the pointer.

Another wonderful source of articles of this nature is Steven Landsburg's Everyday Economics columns in Slate. Like this one: Should you peel your bananas from the bottom or the top?

Keywords: ECO120

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