amazon : (order now!) Why Trust Matters: An economist's guide to the ties that bind us.
new yorker : (book review) review at the New Yorker!!!

main : my academic website and CV
media : other popular writing/media mentions
research : my google scholar profile
linkedin : my linkedin profile
tweets : my twitter feed (@ho_ben)
publisher : Columbia University Press
art : my random art project

other media
freakonomics : (interview) about our apology experiment with Uber
planetmoney : (interview) on how cheap solar can save the world
planetmoney : (book review) at NPR's planet money newsletter

- about me -
Ben Ho is an associate professor of behavioral economics at Vassar College and author of the book Why Trust Matters: An Economist's Guide to the Ties that Bind Us. Ho applies economic tools like game theory and experimental design on topics like apologies, identity, inequality and climate change. Before Vassar, he taught MBA students at Cornell, served as lead energy economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, and worked/consulted for Morgan Stanley and several tech startups. Professor Ho also teaches at Columbia University where he is a faculty affiliate for the Center for Global Energy Policy. His work has been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Ho holds seven degrees from Stanford and MIT in economics, education, political science, math, computer science and electrical engineering.

- about the book -
Have economists neglected trust? The economy is fundamentally a network of relationships built on mutual expectations. More than that, trust is the glue that holds civilization together. Every time we interact with another person—to make a purchase, work on a project, or share a living space—we rely on trust. Institutions and relationships function because people place confidence in them. Retailers seek to become trusted brands; employers put their trust in their employees; and democracy only works when we trust our government.

Benjamin Ho reveals the surprising importance of trust to how we understand our day-to-day economic lives. Starting with the earliest societies and proceeding through the evolution of the modern economy, he explores its role across an astonishing range of institutions and practices. From contracts and banking to blockchain and the sharing economy to health care and climate change, Ho shows how trust shapes the workings of the world. He provides an accessible account of how economists have applied the mathematical tools of game theory and the experimental methods of behavioral economics to bring rigor to understanding trust. Bringing together insights from decades of research in an approachable format, Why Trust Matters shows how a concept that we rarely associate with the discipline of economics is central to the social systems that govern our lives.


- reviews -
Illustrating how a seemingly noneconomic concept is, in fact, at the heart of many fundamental economic concepts, Why Trust Matters looks back in history to develop the idea that trust undergirds most human interactions. Ho has written a timely, interesting, and fun work for specialists and nonspecialists alike.
-- Charles J. Wheelan, author of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Benjamin Ho writes about one of the most important and underexplored factors in how well society functions: trust. Why Trust Matters is clear, engaging, and persuasive: trust me!
-- Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

This blurb is an act of trust between you, the potential buyer, and me, the esteemed writer who risked his literary reputation to endorse this book. I do so with no fear. Mostly because Benjamin Ho has written a great, necessary, fun, hopeful book that makes you rethink the very basics of society and partly because my rep isn't all that great.
-- Joel Stein, author of In Defense of Elitism: Why I'm Better Than You and You're Better Than Someone Who Didn't Buy This Book

Why Trust Matters validates my long-standing membership in the Ben Ho fan club. His deep knowledge of the historical record, his careful application of economic reasoning, and his charm shine through on every page of this highly readable account of the role of trust in economic and social life.
-- Robert H. Frank, author of Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work

Trust is critical to civilization and its economy. Benjamin Ho provides a concise, sweeping, accessible, and fascinating summary of the different aspects of trust and their effect on a broad set of social institutions. Whether you are a seasoned economist seeking to broaden your knowledge of the field, a student beginning your journey, or a casual reader looking to deepen your understanding of the world, trust me, you will find this book invaluable.
-- Ed Conard, author of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong


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Ben Ho. email: benjaminho@gmail.com.
since December 2000