A Puzzle for Freakonomics Fans

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I’ve often wondered how does street musicians outside major metro stations decide on who should be the one to play on a given day. Does it work on a first come basis? I doubt it. How does a Chinese, an African American and a white country singer coordinate to play on alternative days?

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In NY the have the music under NY program, where they audition you and then let you use a certain space. That´s how they assign the best spots in the busiest stations. Then they ticket if you try to panhandle there without their permission.

Also, don´t they have the incentives not to use the same space over an over? If tipping (bursing?) is at all rational, in pleasing the tipper, then we would expect that regulars would tip the best. However, if they have diminishing returns to listening to the same music (from hearing the same repertoire) then it might be optimal to share primere spots, especially if the alternative is customer scaring fights over the spaces. Once a property right system evolves out of the negotiation, the entire team has incentives to reinforce it, because protecting the rights of others encourages respect for their rights.


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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on June 8, 2006 12:30 AM.

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