Solution Aversion

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

Baffling bathrooms: On navigability and choice architecture

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

Gender-neutral restrooms require new (choice) architecture

“What’s not to love” about gender-neutral restrooms?” ask Bovens and Marcoci. Their spread could only come about trough a sensitive mix of good design and nudges; working on social norms and behaviours. Some discomforts may, however, prove to be beyond nudging, and an incremental, learning approach is probably required. … More Gender-neutral restrooms require new (choice) architecture

What does the general public want from health care? We require a reality check.

Responding to Voorhoeve’s article in the May 2018 issue of the journal Drummond acknowledges that health systems are struggling with the trade-off between conditions that are rare and serious and those that are more common and less serious ones. In the end experience from the discussion and debate over rationing decisions taken will reveal whether any one of the different approaches being taken is viewed as being more socially legitimate than the others. … More What does the general public want from health care? We require a reality check.

Nudging, fast and loose

Responding the Mongin & Cozic’s journal article James Wilson questions why it matters from a public policy perspective whether an intervention is classed as a nudge, let alone which of the three nudge sub-concepts it falls under. An intervention’s being a nudge is neither necessary nor sufficient for its being justifiable. … More Nudging, fast and loose

Unnecessary Nudges and Necessary Deceptions

Responding to an article by Sinaiko and Zeckhauser in Issue 1 of 2018 Marmor and White argue that it takes behavioural economics beyond its appropriate bounds when discussing health plan terminations. They argue that the paper serves to illustrate “the persistent effort to see the donkey of insurer choice as a beautiful unicorn – if only the right choice architecture could be created”. In practice, the health insurance market is dependant upon people making “wrong” choices and insurers making choice difficult. Perhaps behavioural economists could study the conditions that yield more or less stable equilibria of deceptions on one side and mistakes on the other. … More Unnecessary Nudges and Necessary Deceptions