Why China’s Scientists Got the Wrong Message

In 2016 it appeared that China had become a research powerhouse. In 2017 they discovered a problem. This is the story of how incentives can have unintended consequences. Chinese R&D In 2016, the numbers told a phenomenal story. China was…

Why Flood Insurance Creates Unintended Consequences

Flooding 34 times in 32 years, a $69,000 home in Mississippi received close to $663,000 in payouts. Similarly, for 16 floods in 18 years the owners of a Houston home valued at $115,000 got $800,000. The insurance industry calls them…

The Surprising Consequences of Taxing Bagels and Windows

By changing our homes and our cream cheese purchases, taxes on bagels and windows can have unintended consequences when they distort our behavior.

What Pets Can Teach Us About Healthcare Spending

We cannot avoid unintended consequences from healthcare legislation because healthcare spending has no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

The Revenge of the Smartphone

When technology bites back, it forces us to recognize that all new things can have unintended consequences that offset the benefits of innovation.

How a Chicken Helped a Pickup Truck

When German farmers got a chicken tax to protect them from U.S. poultry imports in the 1960s, the results were unexpected.

How a Cash-Free Economy Affects Your Health

Far beyond the change in our spending, a cash free economy would have an impact on our bacterial immunities and our neurology.

Incentives That Have Unexpected Results

From the Wells Fargo scandal to the British National Health Service and Chilean bus drivers, sometimes incentives can have unintended consequences.

What No One Tells Us About Plastic Bag Fees

Now we can add England to the list of places with single use plastic bag fees.   As in NYC (where the City Council said yes but not New York State), San Francisco and Washington D.C., the rationale is the environment. And, as we…

The Unintended Consequence of a Family Friendly Policy

When one mathematician tried to measure the British coastline, her initial result was 3960 kilometers. But then continuing to increase her scale, she wound up with 4300 kilometers, then 4800 and after that 6182. The reason was the detail. Each closer look…