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u/tenudgenet · 4 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

When i first read your rant, I was a bit annoyed, but working through it, it became clear that you are pointing to some of the weak spots that a lot of other practitioners have also noticed. fx a lack of coherent definitions, people practising "nudging" without any idea of what it is, a systematic lack of knowledge of the psychology behind the interventions.

So please read everything below here with the kindest voice you can make in you mind. :) Text is a horrible medium for some things.

Realization #1
>He did a great job explaining that "Nudges" are subtle changes to the environment that do not require effort from the Nudger or the Nudgee. Indeed, they work implicitly by acknowledging underlying (system 1) psychological processes. Examples he gave were classics: painting a fly on a urinal, traffic stripes to slow drivers, defaults in organ donation.

I thoroughly agree that many people don't understand what nudges are. It's understandable that lay people don't know, as they have very little reason to care at all about it. However, I also see many practitioners and even academics that somehow comes to very different ideas about what nudging is, but seems to have no interest in forming or accepting a proper definition.

To this point I have to add that I have never seen anywhere, that a critical part of a nudge is that it is (1) subtle, (2) confined to being changes in the environment or (3) effortless for everyone involved.

At (1); there is several examples of nudges that work particularly because they are not subtle. Think of trucks backing up making beeps. A clear attention-grabbing nudge, using an audio version of the fly in the urinal. Not at all subtle though.

At (2); Changes in psychology, that does not stem from direct environmental change can also be regarded as nudges. People get a lot less critical of different ideas when they are horny. :)

At (3); There is a classic prompt for increased sales, where you are offered a complimentary good at checkout. "Do you want a lighter with those cigarettes?". everyone involved knows that lighters available, but still the sales increase when the prompt is in place. It does require continual effort from the sales person however. Better examples might come to mind later.

> Folks who worked in the NHS wanted to come up with structural challenges like figuring out ways to rearrange doctor's (GP's) check-up routine

This is a dream scenario for any choice architect to work with. If you ever read The Checklist Manifesto you will see that there is tremendous opportunity in structuring rutine tasks more.

Realization #2

To repackage and replicate preexisting nudges, is one of the most promising ways of figuring our what parts of the nudges actually works and in what way. As artifacts of the ways people process information and not the information itself, nudges are usually not sector specific, meaning, that the same ideas that works really well in tax collecting, might be worth a shot in healthcare as well.

Most people will learn some very valuable lessons about what kind of nudges that makes the most sense, when they have to test them. Having the experiment as an integral part of implementation of any behavioural intervention is whats going to change the world, by showing that you can do more than raise awareness or make laws, and that it will actually have an effect. The bad ideas will fade, and the good ideas will stand strong. :) (Hopefully)

Don't worry As a lot of people might be considering nudging a fad, it has been gaining considerable ground in the last 10 years, and behaviourally informed interventions is now fast becoming a part of the "standard" public policy toolkit. Because it has proven merits, it will remain in one way or another. However the name might change. :)

u/davidislost · 2 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

Have you considered Social Network Analysis? You could develop something to predict how information spreads across a network. Be it memes, a hashtag, news article. Who's the most influential node in the network? Can you measure the effect of social norms on retweets?


I've used two programs to create SNA graphs

u/infiniteloop314 · 2 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

Here is a solid list from PeopleScience. It is a pretty good site. Also, is a good place to find information.


For marketing, I would recommend Neuromarketing by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin.


Any book by Jonah Berger is a good read, but I am bit bias based on school affiliation. Contagious and Invisible Influence are my personal favorites by him.


Let me know if you have any questions.


Best of luck with the study!


u/HasinParadox · 2 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

I think any intermediate or advanced Microeconomics textbook will provide you with the understanding you're looking for. The flaws in the models are self-evident when analyzing the construction from assumption. The best way to go through this is to start with the very basics work through the 5(ish?) assumptions of consumer theory (axioms of choice I think?) and then start thinking of how the model exists when relaxing said assumptions. During this I would maintain the fundamentals of producer theory (profit maximization) to not overly complicate things initially. Then if you really want to you can start moving on from there (market structure, information etc.). This will give you a better understanding of microeconomics than 99% of undergraduate economic students/grads.

If you can do math this book is ideal and comprehensive:

If you want to not be bored to death:
Price Theory and Applications - Steven Landsburg

u/TheMaskBeckons · 3 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

If you're just starting to dive into it, I think it'd be best to read a book that walks you through the main themes and concepts, or listen to podcasts such as EconTalk (you'd have to look for the interviews of behavioral economists). I think it's always good to have an introduction before going into the weeds. I agree with SbShula, Thinking Fast & Slow and Misbehaving are great for starting off.

In any case, here are some of the key papers. I used's "Introduction to Behavioral Economics" as an outline, and found links to the main papers (and books) that are freely available so you can download them. Of course, I recommend reading the website before starting to read the hundreds (thousands?) of pages in papers.

Prospect Theory

Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk - Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky

Bounded Rationality

A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice - Herbert A. Simon (On the bounds of rationality)

Maps of Bounded Rationality - Daniel Kahneman

Mental Accounting Matters - Richard H. Thaler

Nudge - Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (Technically not a paper, but papers tend to focus on specific examples intead of the general idea that people's decisions are affected by "nudges")

Dual System Theory

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman (Again, not a paper, but sums up a body of research in the same vein)

Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases - Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman

The affect heuristic in judgments of risks and benefits - Finucane, Alhakami, Slovic, and Johnson

The Psychology of Preference - Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman

Status Quo Bias in Decision Making - William Samuelson and Richard Zeckhauser

Temporal Dimensions

Diversification bias: Explaining the discrepancy in variety seeking between combined and separated choices - Daniel Read and George Loewenstein

Hot-cold empathy gaps and medical decision-making - George Loewenstein

Exploring the causes of comparative optimism - James A. Shepperd, Patrick Carroll, Jodi Grace and Meredith Terry

Social Dimensions

Dishonesty in Everyday Life and Its Policy Implications - Nina Mazar and Dan Ariely

A Theory of Fairness, Competition and Cooperation - Ernst Fehr And Klaus Schmidt

Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity - Ernst Fehr and Simon Gächter

MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy - Dolan, Hallsworth, Halpern, King, and Vlaev

Bounded rationality, ambiguity, and the engineering of choice. - James March

Thanks for the opportunity to look into all this. I just added a bunch of these to my bucket list.

u/thatkirkguy · 3 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

Not particularly scholarly but for something topical and entertaining (probably best suited for introductory purposes) Predictably Irrational may be worth including. Not sure of the level of familiarity your audience has with the subject.

u/plaintxt · 2 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

It is also important to define what kind of learning you are trying to catalyze or inhibit. You can find a lot of good information on the different kinds and models of learning behavior written by David Lieberman here (he won a nobel prize for work on the topic)

Also consider exploring the psychological concepts of commitment & consistency (Robert Cialdini) and reactance.

u/drfoqui · 3 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

Check out The Invisible Gorilla. It's more of a psychology book but it is about ways in which overconfidence affects behavior so it is very much applicable to economics and I found it very interesting and fun to read.

u/lagged_variable · 4 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

I think that there's a lot to disagree with in what you wrote above, but also much that isn't too far off for anyone who has thought about the necessary limits of the model of the perfect competition.

As far as your examples of Band Aids and Vodka, it sounds to me like you're talking about Veblen Goods, or status goods. The standard citation here is the Theory of the Leisure Class.

u/seawolf06 · 1 pointr/BehavioralEconomics

Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics

Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition

u/doctorace · 2 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

While the results of their work was hard to quantify, I'm not sure it would qualify as ordinal preference. I'm thinking of things like:

  • Availability Bias
  • Framing effect
  • Anchoring effect

    I will admit to being a psychologist, so I don't know how the mathematical modelling for behavioral economics works.

    Dan Ariely, who is an economist, has a popular book called Predictably Irrational. Perhaps "predictability" isn't what economists aren't getting from the research but quantifiability, which is a different quality.
u/iamelben · 2 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

There's also a chapter on this in The Bible.

u/TheStupidBurns · 2 pointsr/BehavioralEconomics

Paranoia is a classic tabletop RPG, but the way to win is to be the most deceitful, conniving, cheating person there. Even better, there is a Game Master keeping everyone dishonest.

It's a beautiful thing.