A Lesson for Climate Change from the Coronavirus Pandemic: Act Now!

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!

The Swedish Exception?

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?

Popular Paternalism: Has a Pandemic turned people towards authoritarianism?

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?

Durian Is Not The Only Fruit: On Reciprocity and Hoarding in the Age of the Coronavirus

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

Learning v. Earning

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

Mind the weather: Sad voters shy away from political reforms

Armando Meier, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business & University of Basel Faculty of Business & Economics Alois Stutzer, University of Basel, Faculty of Business & Economics Lukas Schmid, University of Lucerne, Faculty of Economics & Management   Observers of recent electoral decisions can’t help but notice that politics is emotional. Yet how and … More Mind the weather: Sad voters shy away from political reforms

Degrees of Wrongness: Judging combatants’ actions in war

How do people make moral judgments of soldier actions in war? This blog considers the different approaches in social psychology, moral psychology, philosophy and war. Given that the4 context of war is so different to peace, an interdisciplinary approach drawing on behavioural sciences can contribute to policy on moral judgments in war. … More Degrees of Wrongness: Judging combatants’ actions in war

A Win-Win: Nurturing Reciprocity in Markets

Robert Sugden agrees and disagrees with points from Adam Oliver’s book on Reciprocity: He agrees on the importance of reciprocity in society and on resistance to state paternalism. But he disagrees with Oliver’s belief that reciprocity is undermined by markets. Sugden argues that voluntary co-operation to mutual benefit is ‘the best structure for nurturing social feelings of mankind’, whether in relation to private goods or public services. Sugden, therefore, cautions against the imposition of supply-side controls based on “paternalistic” subjective judgments of “true preferences”. … More A Win-Win: Nurturing Reciprocity in Markets