Do You Want a Healthcare Nudge?

Primarily for fiscal reasons, in Japan, most 40-74 year olds get their waist size checked each year. A part of the required annual physical exams from local government or employers, waist size is monitored because an obese population can be expensive.…

Can We Use Happiness to Evaluate Tobacco Legislation?

Mandated by Ronald Reagan and approved by subsequent presidents, cost-benefit analysis of federal regulation could be inaccurate for new tobacco regulation.

Using Beer as an Incentive

Reading about how a group in Amsterdam solved a public disturbance problem, I immediately thought about choice architecture. In Nudge, a Harvard Law Professor, Cass Sunstein, and a University of Chicago economist, Richard Thaler, suggest that choice architecture shapes how…

What You Can Learn From the Marshmallow Test

Forty years ago, psychologist Walter Mischel began studying delayed gratification by giving young children a choice. A child and a single marshmallow were left in a room. The child could have one marshmallow now or two when the adult returned…

Environmental Issues: Making It Easier To Be Green

“Paul owns shares in company A. During the past year he considered switching to stock in company B, but he decided against it. He now learns that he would have been better off by $1,200 if he had switched to…

The Market System: Defaults and Decisions

Coffee: At Starbucks, I order a Grande West Java Black Eye Clover in a Vente cup. My drink requires 4 decisions. Software: Downloading software, don’t you just check the default package rather than selecting from a customized list of alternatives?…

Behavioral Economics: Better than a Psychiatrist

After reading Murder at the Margin, some of my students suggested in essays that we do not need a psychiatrist to explain human behavior. Instead, just ask a behavioral economist. Let’s give it a try… Defaulting: In life, we tend…

Behavioral Economics: When Do We Minimize Risk?

With Election Economics having concluded, for the next 4 weeks, Monday posts will focus on topics that relate to behavioral economics. Let’s start with Hurricane Sandy and my own NJ neighborhood. Really though, we will be looking at how many of…

Seeing the Elderly You

More of us are worried about financing retirement. But it’s not the “gloomy boomers” who said three years ago, at 50 or so, that they feared outliving their money. Now, according to Pew Research, the most worried demographic is adults in…