Behavioral Economics Essential Reads

Do You Overeat? You Might Want to Blame Childhood Stress

By Peter A. Ubel M.D. on December 08, 2016 in Critical Decisions
Eating only when you are hungry: That’s a real luxury.

A Voice of Moderation in the Time of Trump

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on December 04, 2016 in How To Do Life
An interview with Robert Samuelson, a self-described “messy moderate.”

What is Psychology’s Single Most Brilliant Discovery?

What is the most profoundly important thing we've learned from 150 years of scientific psychology? Here is one nomination.

Cheat to Keep or Cheat to Reap?

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on November 29, 2016 in Consumed
Are people more likely to behave unethically to avoid falling behind or to get ahead? New research has the answer.

Instead of “Job Creation,” How About Less Work?

By Peter Gray Ph.D. on November 26, 2016 in Freedom to Learn
If we could solve the distribution problem, we could create a world in which we all worked much less and played much more. Is that a world to be desired? Yes!!

The Way You Think About Willpower Is Hurting You

By Nir Eyal on November 22, 2016 in Automatic You
Psychological researchers have a name for this phenomenon: it’s called “ego depletion.”

Why You Should Never Prepay for Any Product or Service

Marketers love it when consumers prepay, but it often has unintended consequences that harm consumers.

Applying Game Theory to Recovery From Addiction

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on November 14, 2016 in Science of Choice
We can use the insights from the prisoner dilemma to suggest ways to resist changing motivation.

Why We Like Online Shopping, and Delayed Gratification

Need it, find it, buy it (and then wait for it in the mail) actually makes for an enjoyable experience, and the perfect return shopper, according to delayed gratification.

The Rise (And Demise) of Financial Narcissism

Whether we like it or not, we are at a high point of Financial Narcissism, a psychological mindset in which Self-Worth = Financial-Worth

Your World Is Full of Placebo Buttons

By Nir Eyal on November 08, 2016 in Automatic You
Many buttons and controls you use every day do absolutely nothing but make you feel better. Why is that a good thing?

Is It a Nudge or a Shove? Even Experts Can Blur the Lines

By David Berreby on November 07, 2016 in The Outsourced Mind
When you're convinced the end result is good, it's surprisingly easy to endorse forcing people to do it

Why Don't We Save Enough for Our Retirement?

Uncertainty about “the Number,” competition from other goals, and misunderstanding growth are big obstacles.
By Dr.CVSB (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Mind of a Flip-Flopper

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on November 04, 2016 in Science of Choice
People have self-control problems in the form of a present-biased preference, where one places extra weight on more immediate rewards.

6 Ways to Convince People to Do What You Want

By Susan K Perry Ph.D. on November 01, 2016 in Creating in Flow
If you want to become more influential, take the time to craft a message that's persuasive.

Money Avoidance

By Michael F. Kay on November 01, 2016 in Financial Life Focus
You might be able to avoid dealing with your money life for a little while, but not forever.

Emotions and Rationality in Leadership

By Eyal Winter Ph.D. on October 29, 2016 in Feeling Smart
Does leadership require guts feeling or analysis?

Sex, Power, and Risk

By Joye Swan Ph.D. on October 22, 2016 in Up Close and Personal
When it comes to power in sexual relationships, who really controls what goes on in the bedroom?

Man's Fate

By Allen J Frances M.D. on October 18, 2016 in Saving Normal
Easter Island tells us all we need to know about our greatness and our fallibility- and also about our prognosis as a species.

What Great Parents Do: Are You Doing It?

By Susan Newman Ph.D. on October 14, 2016 in Singletons
75 Bite-size chunks of sensible strategies for raising children. How many do you use?

Can We Trust the Decision Researchers?

By Gary Klein Ph.D. on October 10, 2016 in Seeing What Others Don't
The Heuristics and Biases (HB) movement has had a tremendous influence and has generated the field of Behavioral Economics. However, the HB community has its own set of biases.

The Cobra Effect: Good Intentions, Perverse Outcomes

The law of unintended consequences has not been repealed. Wells Fargo is the latest high-profile victim of the cobra effect.

A Fundamental Source of Error in Human Judgment

By Gary Smith Ph.D. on October 07, 2016 in What the Luck?
We encounter it almost every day, yet almost nobody understands it.

2084: Digital Choice Curation for a Non-Orwellian Economy

By Diogo Gonçalves on October 06, 2016 in There Are Free Lunches
Understanding online decision making can help us overcome society's choice paradoxes, and help us deal with the Age of Big Data.
Health Affairs

A Force More Powerful Than Anti-Vaxxers? Economics!

By Peter A. Ubel M.D. on October 06, 2016 in Scientocracy
Price negotiations need to set a balance between protecting public purses and promoting public health.

Peace Through Ignorance?

By William Poundstone on October 05, 2016 in Head in the Cloud
Americans don't know much geography, and maybe that's a good thing, suggests Presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Big Data and Everyday Life

When it comes to figuring out your musical taste, Pandora is the champ. That's because Pandora is based on Big-Data - and Big-Data is the future in the behavioral sciences.

4 Ways In Which Optimism Helps Entrepreneurs Succeed

Creative, novel ideas, a bias to act, persistence, & bouncing back from failure are all contributors.

The Bonus Effect

By Alfie Kohn on September 27, 2016 in The Homework Myth
If you're told "Do this, and you'll get that," you're likely to become less interested in "this" -- and more interested in "that." Especially if "that" turns out to be money.

Making Better Medical Decisions

By Haider Warraich M.D. on September 26, 2016 in On Modern Medicine
Modern healthcare can come with a dizzying array of options, many of which could mean different destinations.