The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Free Lunch

  • Robert Hessen
Reference work entry


‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’ dates back to the 19th century, when saloon and tavern owners advertised ‘free’ sandwiches and titbits to attract mid-day patrons. Anyone who ate without buying a beverage soon discovered that ‘free lunch’ wasn’t meant to be taken literally; he would be tossed out unceremoniously.

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Hessen
    • 1
  1. 1.