HJ Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics, S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
Robert H. Frank is the HJ Louis Professor of Management and a professor of economics at Cornell University Johnson School of Management. His Economic View column has appeared in The New York Times for more than a decade. Frank is the author of many books, including Passions Within Reason, The Economic Naturalist, Success and Luck, and the forthcoming Under the Influence. He was previously a professor of economics, ethics, and public policy at Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, a visiting professor at New York University Stern School of Business, and has taught math and science as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal.
Imagine you’re in a high-tax world and a low-tax world, and in both worlds you’re shopping for a car. Robert Frank, professor of management and economics at Cornell, says a low-tax world resident might have the means to buy a Ferrari but when he takes it for a spin, the road may be rough. In the high-tax world, the car a consumer purchases may not be as fancy but “at least some of that extra money is going to be spent on public investment so the roads will be maintained. So the real question is who’s happier — people in the high or low tax world? The people in the high tax world are happier because their roads aren’t riddled with potholes,” says Frank.