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Dear Undercover Economist, By Tim Harford

Reviewed by Christopher Hirst

Do economists have a sense of humour? In the FT's advice column, Harford tries to prove they do, though this haul suggests that their idea of funny is different from the rest of us.

Mrs Harris of York asks if her children should have a religious upbringing? Noting that belief in God has "no appreciable economic effect but a belief in heaven and hell... boosts growth," Harford suggests finding a moral religion with minimum time commitment. Mr David Pigeon of London is racked because he only fancies his girlfriend after a few drinks. "Since the average couple makes love every three days, you should be able to lubricate yourself without liver damage," advises Harford. "Just don't discuss it in a national newspaper."

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