Flatten the (Logarithmic) Curve

Mass media routinely portray information about COVID-19 deaths on logarithmic graphs. But do their readers understand them? Experimentation suggests that they don’t. What is perhaps more relevant: Respondents looking at a linear scale graph have different attitudes and policy preferences towards the pandemic than those shown the same data on a logarithmic graph. Merely changing the scale the data is presented on can alter public policy preferences and the level of worry, even at a time when people are routinely exposed to a lot of COVID-19 related information. … More Flatten the (Logarithmic) Curve

Has Behavioural Economics made Economics less insular?

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?

Plus ca change?

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?

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