Tag Archives: dan-ariely

Behavioural Economics and Financial Policies

The news that Obama had some of the lead­ing beha­vi­our­ists advising his cam­paign comes as no sur­prise to me, how­ever I likely under­es­tim­ated how much they influ­enced both the cam­paign and the voters.

Time takes a look at this “beha­vi­our­al dream team” and dis­cusses how the Obama admin­is­tra­tion is using beha­vi­our­al eco­nom­ics to guide its fin­an­cial policies.

The exist­ence of this beha­vi­or­al dream team — which also included best-selling authors Dan Ari­ely of MIT (Pre­dict­ably Irra­tion­al) and Richard Thaler and Cass Sun­stein of the Uni­ver­sity of Chica­go (Nudge) as well as Nobel laur­eate Daniel Kahne­man of Prin­ceton — has nev­er been pub­licly dis­closed, even though its mem­bers gave Obama white papers on mes­saging, fun­drais­ing and rumor con­trol as well as voter mobil­iz­a­tion. All their pro­pos­als — among them the fam­ous online fun­drais­ing lot­ter­ies that gave small donors a chance to win face time with Obama — came with foot­notes to peer-reviewed aca­dem­ic research. “It was amaz­ing to have these bul­let points telling us what to do and the sci­ence behind it,” Moffo tells TIME. “These guys really know what makes people tick.”

Pres­id­ent Obama is still rely­ing on beha­vi­or­al sci­ence. But now his Admin­is­tra­tion is using it to try to trans­form the coun­try. Because when you know what makes people tick, it’s a lot easi­er to help them change.

While I like this pro­gress­ive move, I—like Mind Hacks’ Vaughan—feel the need to ask, “Where are the scep­tic­al voices?”