Category Archives: Behavioral Economics and Public Policy

The Power of Free

The Atlantic recently reproduced a figure showing just how much people like things when they are free. Specifically, they looked at health interventions and show that people are more likely to take up these interventions, or products, when they don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Medical Decision Making | Tagged ,

What Causes Couch Potatoes To Eat So Many Potato Chips?

Do you eat when you’re bored? So do I. Then again, I eat when I’m not bored, too. So the real question is: do we all eat more when we’re bored than, say, when we’re highly entertained? The answer, according … Continue reading

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Has The “Nudge” Meme Gotten Out of Control?

A tweet recently came across my feed that captures a problem with the popularity of the nudge meme. The meme took off with the justifiable popularity of Thaler and Sunstein’s eponymous book, in which they promote the idea of influencing … Continue reading

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Brilliant Nudge to Promote Physical Activity

The stairs to the left of the escalator don’t just look like a piano keyboard, but make musical sounds as people walk on each step. Not convinced this will work? Check out this video, which shows people heading towards the … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Health & Well-being | Tagged ,

A Picture Putting Risks into Perspective

The National Health Service in the United Kingdom has recently disseminated a wonderful graphic, helping people understand how likely they are to die from scary things, like war and airplane accidents, versus less terrifying but deadlier hazards, such as high … Continue reading

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How Healthy Food Could Make You Fat

Have you ever eaten a healthy meal, maybe some brown rice and stir-fried veggies, and found yourself ready for another meal just a short while later? Or, more often couldn’t overcome a hankering for a satisfying dessert to top off … Continue reading

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Is Homo Economicus a Psychopath?

In what academics call neoclassical economics, human beings are largely rational, self-interested decision-makers. This stereotypical human, often referred to as Homo economicus, is a creature of coldly calculated selfishness, dispassionately maximizing its best interests even if that comes at the … Continue reading

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The Ulysses Strategy

As the University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler tells the story, a group of fellow-graduate students in economics were at his house one night in the late nineteen-seventies, socializing before the dinner hour. Thaler saw how much they were snacking, and … Continue reading

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Will A “Red Light” Be An Effective Nudge To Stop People From Drinking Coke?

So many foods beckoning us from the grocery store shelves – but which ones are healthy for us to consume? We could study Nutritional Facts labels, but that feels as challenging as the math portion of the SAT, with so … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Health & Well-being, Health Policy | Tagged ,

Debates About the Use of Behavioral Economics in India

Here is the start of a great essay exploring the promise of using behavioral economics in India to promote social goals. Thought you might want to see it. In his book ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’, Adam Smith wrote: “How … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy