Book Talk | Upsold
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NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to a book talk for Upsold featuring the author Max Besbris in conversation with Ingrid Gould Ellen and Robert H. Frank.
What do you want for yourself in the next five, ten years? Do your plans involve marriage, kids, a new job? These are the questions a real estate agent might ask in an attempt to unearth information they can employ to complete a sale, which as Upsold shows, often results in upselling. In this book, sociologist Max Besbris shows how agents successfully upsell, inducing buyers to spend more than their initially stated price ceilings. His research reveals how face-to-face interactions influence buyers’ ideas about which neighborhoods are desirable and which are less-worthy investments and how these preferences ultimately contribute to neighborhood inequality.
Max Besbris is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. His new book Upsold investigates how people choose where to live and how much to spend in the housing market. Drawing on more than two years of ethnographic fieldwork Upsold shows how interactions between agents and buyers created buyers’ preferences, including their price preferences, and that agents’ assessment of neighborhoods and buyers matter for the cultural meaning and demographic make up of different places. Upsold offers a new perspective on markets, revealing how intermediaries like real estate agents set the terms for our most important economic decisions.
Ingrid Gould Ellen, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, is a Faculty Director at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. She presently teaches courses in microeconomics, urban economics, and urban policy research. Professor Ellen’s research interests center on housing and urban policy. She is author of Sharing America’s Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration (Harvard University Press, 2000) and more recently editor of The Dream Revisited: Contemporary Debates About Housing, Segregation and Opportunity (Columbia University Press, 2019). She has written numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters related to housing policy, community development, and school and neighborhood segregation.
Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. For more than a decade, his “Economic View” column appeared monthly in The New York Times. His papers have appeared in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, and other leading professional journals. His books have been translated into 23 languages, including Choosing the Right Pond, Passions Within Reason, Microeconomics and Behavior, Principles of Economics (with Ben Bernanke), Luxury Fever, What Price the Moral High Ground?, Falling Behind, The Economic Naturalist, The Darwin Economy, and Success and Luck.