The Traveling Economist
Using Economics to Think about What Makes Us All So Different and the Same
by Todd A. Knoop, PhD
March 2017, 332pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5236-7
$53, £40, 46€, A72
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5237-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Tourism now accounts for 10 percent of global GDP. But how can we maximize these life experiences and extend the benefits of our travel dollars?

This fascinating book introduces travelers—of the body or the mind—to a few simple economic concepts that will help them to think differently and more deeply about the differences between the people and the places they visit during their journeys.

The principles and mechanics of economics are firmly rooted in everything around us, in our home country as well as in every nation and culture around the world. Having a basic grasp of economics can help all travelers to think more carefully about why things work differently in different places. Armed with this knowledge, readers will be equipped to better appreciate—and learn from—the beauty and complexity of the world around us.

The Traveling Economist: Using Economics to Think about What Makes Us All So Different and the Same illustrates important economic concepts that every traveler and world citizen should understand. Employing clear, jargon-free explanations and illustrated with real-life examples, Knoop uniquely focuses on the interplay between travel and economics. He uses our shared travel experiences to illustrate exactly how economic thinking supplies such a powerful framework for understanding the world around us. More than simply explaining economics through travel experiences, this book enables adventurers who desperately want to avoid being tourists—i.e., people who travel to see what they know is there—to become explorers: those who learn each and every day from what they witness.


  • Explains economic concepts in the context of international travel that allow travelers to better understand the differences in living standards between people and places, and why social behaviors or legal standards differ so dramatically between countries
  • Explores the role—and limits—of culture in explaining the differences between people around the world and the interaction between economics and nature
  • Addresses the reasons for why technology does, and does not, spread to different areas of the world; why haggling is so important in poorer countries, and what this tells us about the benefits and cost of trade; and why tourism is a public good and the benefits and challenges this reality creates for societies
  • Offers intriguing information and eye-opening perspectives for general readers with an interest in economics and travel, students of economics, as well as those who enjoy travel writing
Todd A. Knoop, PhD, is the David Joyce Professor of Economics and Business at Cornell College. He has taught economics in many different countries on four continents and is currently seeking an opportunity to teach economics in Antarctica. He is the author of multiple articles as well as the books Business Cycle Economics: Understanding Recessions and Depressions from Boom to Bust, Global Finance in Emerging Market Economies, Recessions and Depressions: Understanding Business Cycles, and Modern Financial Macroeconomics.
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