Economics is often described as insular from other social sciences. Alexandre Truc shares the results of research mapping thee content of more than 5000 articles and their references. The research reveals fascinating trends and differences between the various clusters of behavioural economic research. This includes a shift towards greater diversity of disciplines involved in behavioural economics, and thus a relative decline in the role for psychology. Nevertheless, the research shows that the rise of behavioural economics has served more generally as a bridge for the psychology into economics. … More Has Behavioural Economics made Economics less insular?
Erik Angner and Gustaf Arrhenius explain the context of Sweden’s response to COVID-19, seen as straying well away from the mainstream. They argue that every country faces the same uncertainties in the coronavirus pandemic. Responses are framed by local constitutional and cultural norms, and by other factors including behavioural insights. In this Sweden is no different, but its strategy is set by its experts not by politicians. … More The Swedish Exception?
Uni students whose education choices are driven by intrinsic motivation perform better than those driven by financial return. @L_Bunce shows how marketised education may bring new challenges for policymakers and educators. … More Learning v. Earning
Why do people listen to some messengers and ignore others, even when they are saying exactly the same thing? In this summary of their new book, Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks argue that the trait-judgments we make about others influence how likely we are to be receptive to what a messenger has to say. … More The Messenger is the Message
Reciprocity can be found everywhere and has roots that predate human kind. In this summary of his new book Adam Oliver argues that this important component of motivation has been given insufficient attention in the design of public policy interventions. … More Don’t be an Egoist! On the Importance of Reciprocity in Public Policy
Are there biological differences behind gender differences in risk-aversion? Elaine Liu reports on a study of the impact of childhood socialisation. … More Social Norms and gendered risk attitudes
How does social change happen? Cass Sunstein explores the role of social norms – their power and their fragility … More How change happens
Pierre Chandon, L’Oreal Chaired Professor of Marketing, Innovation and Creativity, INSEAD and Director of the INSEAD-Sorbonne University Behavioural Lab I was about to give a talk at the Harvard School of Public Health when a distinguished nutritionist came to me and told me that he believed that the CEOs of Coca-Cola, Pepsico, General Mills, … More Epicurean Nudging: Pleasure as a path to healthier eating
In a February 2018 LSE lecture on climate change Cass Sunstein highlighted a problem of “solution aversion”; the phenomenon that people deny problems when averse to solutions. Titled, ‘Solution aversion: On the relation between ideology and motivated disbelief,’ and written by then PhD student Troy Campbell and Professor Aaron Kay the paper became Duke University’s most viewed research press release when it was released in 2014. In this blog, Troy Campbell, now a professor at the University of Oregon, explains the problematic phenomena, the nuances, extensions, and the many potential solutions to solution aversion. https://today.duke.edu/2014/11/mediasolutions … More Solution Aversion
Cass Sunstein and Lucia Reisch argue that the design of everyday things can be taken as a guidebook for policymakers; simplicity and intuitiveness of design lead to “sludge reduction” … More Reducing Sludge at Six
Maya-Bar-Hillel and Cass Sunstein explore problems of navigability: Humans do not know how to get to their preferred destination. Much work in behavioral economics (including that by 2017 Nobel Prize winner Richard Thaler) can be seen as an exploration of the challenges that people face in navigating complex situations, and the imperfect strategies they develop to meet those challenges. The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, which plays annual host to the Nobel laureates and many of their guests, lives up to its name, but in illuminating ways, creates problems of navigability for those who stay there. This essay, written by two of Richard Thaler’s guests, explores some of those problems, with general observations about choice architecture, bathroom design, heterogeneity, and navigability. … More Baffling bathrooms: On navigability and choice architecture
By Richard H. Thaler – University of Chicago
When the editors of this journal asked me to write a commentary on a new paper by George Loewenstein and Nick Chater I did not expect that I would have anything useful to say. After all, I have known George for longer than we would care to admit, and we mostly share similar worldviews. Nonetheless, after reading their paper, and after trying and failing to sort things out in person, I found myself left with enough differences of opinion that it seemed worth writing something up. With one exception … More Much Ado About Nudging
Governments are facing two difficult policy challenges: managing the transition from a COVID19 lockdown, and establishing a “new normal”. Individuals and policymakers may now recognise the importance of wellbeing as an outcome from their actions. Behavioural insights have much to offer in tackling these challenges, and incorporating wellbeing into public policies. … More Plus ca change?
In 2020 a pandemic made a policy priority of hygiene. In her prize-winning MSc essay Cristina Parilli reported on an exercise in testing reciprocity-based messaging to promote cleanliness in a fitness centre. Might this be a route to sustaining hygiene habits post-COVID? … More A reciprocal exercise in hygiene habit formation
Kunreuther & Slovic highlight the challenges in understanding the deceptive nature of exponential growth: What initially looks benign takes off in a torrent of harm. COVID-19 gives a vital lesson on exponential growth. This understanding needs to be applied to serious problems caused by climate change. … More A Lesson for Climate Change from the Coronavirus Pandemic: Act Now!
An interesting aspect of the current pandemic is that authoritarian solutions, typified by complete lockdowns of citizens’ movements, seem increasingly popular. Even in England, where self-determination is given high importance and police powers are relatively limited, there seems strong support for “lockdown” policies. In unusual situations should governments put more effort into soliciting public opinion in their decisions, rather than relying upon attitudinal assumptions derived from more normal times.
… More Popular Paternalism: Has a Pandemic turned people towards authoritarianism?
Reciprocity is a fundamental driver of human behaviour. There will probably be few times in our lives when the will to act reciprocally will be more important than it is right now. It could be used in the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic … More Durian Is Not The Only Fruit: On Reciprocity and Hoarding in the Age of the Coronavirus