Category Archives: Behavioral Economics and Public Policy

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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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

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy

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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