By Michael Ryan Economists have historically been enamored with Market Theory and Equilibrium. The notion that “The Market” tends towards a stable state has been more panacea than an effective tool for explaining many facets of our economy. The classical focus on markets and some invisible hand ignores human behavior, profits, debt and financial health [...]
By Julian Jamison One of the World Bank’s flagship publications is the World Development Report, which highlights a different policy-relevant topic every year – often paving the way for novel work on that topic. The latest (2015) report, entitled “Mind, Society, and Behavior” and co-directed by Karla Hoff and Varun Gauri, focused on using [...]
Behavioural science has contributed much to the understanding of decision-making in the last few decades. We now understand how heuristics and biases can influence our thinking, perceptions, choices and behaviour. Yet, many of the frequently cited studies from behavioural science have been conducted on students, typically in their early twenties. Consequently, people often ask whether these findings still hold in other generations: Does our decision making process differ as we get older? Do we become more or less ‘rational’? And if minds do differ, how does the 20 year old mind differ to the 70 or 80 year old mind?
On 15th September 2015, President Obama issued an executive order mandating US government agencies employ behavioural insights to enhance their work (read a White House-authored Fact Sheet on the order). On the face of it, this is an unqualified good for behavioural science. Yet Presidential Terms are short, and the current one has only a year to run. Whether such an executive order will have the impact it should will depend on commentary and promises made in the febrile atmosphere of a US election. Political support is valuable, but political polarisation can mean bureaucratic paralysis. This post takes a brief glance at bureaucratic success in the US, EU, UN and UK.
Historically, most of us have been concerned about information privacy on the internet. But when it comes to our actual behavior, many of us liberally share personal information online, a finding termed the ‘privacy paradox’ in the academic literature. Why this apparent gap between attitudes and behavior?
By Timothy Gohmann Image Credit: Chad Kainz (flickr) Volkswagen Group AG has admitted to gaming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency diesel-emission control testing affecting some 2 million vehicles worldwide. As a result, Volkswagen has replaced its CEO, Martin Winterkorn, with former Porsche CEO, Matthias Mueller, continues to run TV ads for its non-diesel vehicles and [...]
Marketers increasingly mold their work around the customer experience. They manufacture rich, immersive interactions, carefully crafted to resonate with consumers. A 1998 Harvard Business Review article on the ‘experience economy’ noted that “experiences are a distinct economic offering.” Quite simply, the argument runs that delightful customer experiences add value and build loyalty. And yet many companies find that objective improvements to products and services, which are central to experience, don’t translate into customers or revenue. The fact is, renovating experience is insufficient, because how we perceive an experience depends deeply on our beliefs and intuitions.
Nudges are great, but they aren’t enough. While they are elegant, nudges are (often) just tweaks augmenting a pre-existing service or policy regardless of its quality, appropriateness or fitness. It is time to go from nudging to behavioral design.
By Benjamin Voyer Out of all the areas of public life that can benefit from the applications of behavioural economics (BE) principles, healthcare is probably the one where it can make the biggest societal contribution. There are two main reasons why the healthcare industry should welcome (more!) BE insights. The first reason is that many [...]
By Tom Wein Behaviour depends on context - and conflict is the most extreme context of all. There have been a series of attempts, of varying value, to understand behaviour in that scenario - by academics, governments and NGOs seeking to predict and reduce conflict, and by combatants seeking an advantage. In recent years, [...]