Category Archives: Behavioral Economics and Public Policy

When It Comes to Sex, We Are All Animals

It doesn’t pay for animals to miss out on reproductive opportunities. That’s why when a female baboon is at the peak of her fertility cycle, her buttocks get red and swollen, thereby alerting males to their reproductive opportunity. Cattle, too, … Continue reading

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Red Robin, Red Robin, Please Clog My Arteries!

A while back, one of my favorite journalists – Sarah Kliff, from Vox – published a picture showing which chain restaurants win the award for offering the highest calorie entrées. I figured it was time to recirculate this gallery of … Continue reading

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Is It Irrational For Carmelo Anthony To Take So Many Three Pointers?

A jab to the right, then Carmelo steps back behind the three-point line and launches a shot. It clanks off the back of the rim. How likely is he to be the next person on his team to attempt a … Continue reading

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Emotional Adaptation and Desire

I’ve done a fair amount of research on how people emotionally adapt to life circumstances. My research is mainly in the context of illness and disability, where people bounce back from adversity more than expected. But people can also emotionally … Continue reading

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Side Effect Warnings Can Increase Pharmaceutical Sales

I must not be the only person to wonder how pharmaceutical companies succeed with direct to consumer advertisements when, stuck in the middle of all their TV ads, are those long lists of side effects. You know what I mean. … Continue reading

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How to Make People Interested in What You Have to Say

In his book, To Save Everything, Click Here, Evgeny Morozov tells a story about a PR agent who was trying to create some buzz around a topic. No one seemed interested. And then the agent had an idea: “I dashed … Continue reading

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A Clever Way to Promote Recycling

Behavioral science has taught me that subtle environmental cues can have a surprisingly strong influence on people. I don’t know if the following cue was purposeful or not, but the relative size of these two receptacles – the blue one … Continue reading

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Interesting Government Nudge

Do you think this will work to get people to stop texting and driving? (Click here to view comments)

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More on Burritos and Calories at Chipotle

Sarah Kliff, one of my favorite journalists, had a really nice write up on the burrito study recently published by a wonderful student at Duke, Peggy Liu.  Here is an excerpt from her write up, and a link to the full … Continue reading

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Can Behavioral Economics Lower Healthcare Costs?

Insurers can use behavioral economics, which examines why people make certain decisions and then determines how to influence said decisions, to compel members to improve their health, according to research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “I don’t think there’s … Continue reading

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