Category Archives: Behavioral Economics and Public Policy

Time To Stop Paying For Pepsi With Food Stamps

The food stamp program helps over 40 million Americans pay for groceries. Unlike other forms of economic assistance, this program, called SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), only pays for food, thereby constraining how recipients make use of the aid. … Continue reading

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My Burrito Has How Many Calories?!?

In collaboration with Peggy Liu and Jim Bettman, I’ve had fun doing some research on just how hard it is for people to guess how many calories they are consuming, at restaurants like Chipotle where everyone puts different ingredients on … Continue reading

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A Park Bench That Tells You You’re Fat?

Clearly we in the United States are not taking the obesity epidemic as seriously as the Russian government. We debate whether it is appropriate for the government to require restaurants to inform their customers about how many calories they are … Continue reading

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Would Americans Be Happier with a Higher Minimum Wage?

There was a very nice piece in the Washington Post recently, exploring the relationship between life satisfaction and the minimum wage. They summarize their findings in the following figure: I suggest you read the piece, to see what they make … Continue reading

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Debating New Ways to Pay

One of my favorite reporters, Dan Gorenstein from NPR’s Marketplace, interviewed me and a few other people recently, to discuss challenges of trying to pay physicians, reward them essentially, for providing high-quality care. It turns out to be a much … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy, Health Policy

More on Relativity and Happiness

Recently, I wrote about relative wealth and happiness. A new NBER paper, by Stevenson and Wolfers, seems to belie this view. It shows a sharp increase in happiness with increasing income: But these data are consistent with the idea that … Continue reading

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Behavioral Economics and the Relativity Theory of Happiness

According to many traditional economic theories of human nature, higher income should make people happier. That’s because with every additional dollar we make, we can purchase goods that increase our “utility.” Or we can save more money, and reduce anxiety … Continue reading

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Why We Cannot Trust Political Pundits, or Ourselves

Take a look at the image below and decide what you are seeing: Some of you might have seen a “B.” Others might have seen the number 13. The image, after all, is ambiguous. For that reason, in fact, it … Continue reading

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Tobacco is Taking Over the World!

We’ve done a lot of things in the United States over the last few decades to curb tobacco consumption. We’ve warned people cigarettes will kill them, created persuasive ad campaigns to scare people away from cigarettes, and added a hefty … Continue reading

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

Designing a Better Restaurant Menu

My friend and colleague Brian Wansink, from Cornell University, worked with some colleagues to design a preliminary restaurant menu, that maximizes the odds the people will order healthy foods. Trick number one: don’t call them “healthy” foods. Here is an … Continue reading

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