List of psychological biases

Aversion to idleness (bias for action) Cognitive dissonance Rationalizing a prior purchase Explaining away unethical behavior Refusal to process new information Outcome bias (evaluating a choice based on realized consequences, rather than the quality of the decision at the time) Extrinsic incentives effect 'Other people do things for money, I…

Phishing for Phools: Akerlof lecture

Event Transcript: Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception. One of the noteworthy passages: So back in 1985, father and son, Rich and Greg Komen of Seattle founded Cinnabon, Inc. and they had a marketing strategy. They would open up outlets that baked the world’s best cinnamon…

Opposition to behavioral economics

In their tribute to Gary Becker, Andrei Shleifer and Edward Glaeser document the sources of early skepticism of non-rational modeling of economic behavior: In his brilliant 1962 essay “Irrational Behavior and Economic Theory,” Becker pointed out that economics could still yield meaningful predictions if humans acted in a random fashion…

Psychological concepts: Learned helplessness

I came across a dissertation in political science that contained a nice description of the concept: The basic idea of the learned helplessness theory is that noncontingency leads to performance deficits. Individuals exposed to uncontrollable events learn that events are independent of their own behaviour, and it has a debilitating…

How the policy world embraced the nudge agenda

For better or worse, policymakers have different incentives than academics. The upside is that a public agency does not need to chase refereed publications, so the non-results (instances of interventions that "didn't work" / didn't change behavior) won't necessarily end up gathering dust in the drawer. But it is…

Ten ASSA2016 papers

A subjective list of ten exciting papers from this year's American Economic Association conference: Hellesetter et al.: Age and Gender Profiling in the Chinese and Mexican Labor Markets: Evidence from Four Job Boards Laura Gee: The More You Know: Information Effects in Job Application Rates by Gender In A Large…

Now Nudging is mainstream

White House: Social and Behavioral Sciences Team Annual Report White House Announces New Steps to Improve Federal Programs by Leveraging Research Insights The behavioral science approach to policy making: A conversation with David Brooks David Brooks: In Praise of Small Miracles How Small Changes Can Yield Big Results For The…