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Scott Duke Kominers

When Finance Is a Character in a Novel

A new book on economic ideas in literature reminds us that they've always been some of humanity's best ones.
Literature meets finance.

Literature meets finance.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe - Pool/Getty Images

Economic forces and incentives shape not only our lives, but also our fiction – and economists rarely miss a chance to point this out. “Economics spotting” isn’t just a parlor game, however. It can help us remember why we care about economics in the first place.

In an era when finance can look like alchemy or worse, its appearance in fiction can remind us that its most fundamental ideas are elegant and essential. There’s a bonus, too: approaching finance this way has the potential to enrich finance itself.