Because the fridge has the light and the freezer no? On the surface, this simple question about two precious tools that have helped to change our lifestyle may seem trivial, especially in an era marked by serious problems that affect practically the whole world. Yet knowing the answer will not only allow many people to quench a normal thirst for curiosity but will give indications on one of the principles of the economy, that of the relationship between costs and benefits, which we often underestimate but which, in reality, affects our daily life.
The question, as the Corriere della Sera, has already been addressed in 2009 by the US Robert H. Frank, Professor of Economics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and author of books sold around the world. His explanation was originally published on the website of the television network Pbs but today, in an era dominated by the internet, it is back in the news on blogs and social networks.
The absence of a light in the freezer, or at least in many of them, is linked not so much to the costs for the manufacturer as to the benefits for the consumers. For those who manufacture the appliance, the cost of inserting a lighting system inside both the fridge and the freezer would be practically identical. “It is what economists call fixed cost, which in this context means that it does not vary with the number of times the door is opened”, explained Frank.
To change, therefore, are the benefits. And this depends on the different use that people make of the two tools. We probably don’t notice it but the fridge, thanks to the products it keeps, is opened more frequently than the freezer. And even for longer. Therefore, the professor explained, the cost-benefit test on the need for light “it is more likely to be overtaken by a fridge than by a freezer.”
But it all always depends on consumer behavior. Many would not like the cost of electricity bill increases for a service they do not deem necessary. Yet there are exceptions linked to the economic availability of individual subjects. “In general the benefit of such functions, measured by how much people are willing to pay for them, tends to increase as income increases. The cost-benefit principle therefore predicts that consumers with extremely high incomes might think that a light in the freezer is worth the extra cost “concluded Frank.
This is a strictly economic explanation. There is, then, another reason given in 2012 by the curiosity site Today I Found Out. In this case the question is of a practical nature. A light inside the freezer would be reduced by the accumulation of ice which would limit its brightness. They were perhaps other times.
It must be said, in fact, that today this problem would be largely overcome thanks to the diffusion of models “No frost“. So why hasn’t the light been inserted in the freezer, apart from the more advanced ones? Question that has not been answered. In this case we allow ourselves to advance a hypothesis: the reason is linked to” tradition “. In practice, this has been done and so is done, but will it be right?