Essential Reads

Three Paradoxical Ways for Coping With Romantic Abundance

Love Is in the Air, But the Air is Too Dense

The Winner's Curse

Some Behavioural Economics of Bidding and Information

Why It's Time to Change How You Divide Your Time

It's not about balance. It's about doing what matters most.

Recent Posts on Behavioral Economics

The Psychology of Money: How Our Emotions Affect What We Buy

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on September 22, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
Advertisements with the intent of eliciting emotional responses from the consumer have become embedded in our culture – from ‘Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ in the Oven’ (Pillsbury) and ‘There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s MasterCard’. But using emotional responses is not as straightforward as just presenting happy and cheery images.

Really? Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way?

The old English proverb asserts itself with complete assurance: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Like many time-worn sayings, this claim that mind always rules over matter rings true only some of the time. Sometimes we don’t have the will; sometimes we lose our way. What should we do then?

Denying Jobs to Smokers is Bad Policy

By Peter A. Ubel on September 16, 2013 in Scientocracy
As much as I like the idea of incentivizing people to kick the habit, denying jobs to qualified people because they smoke is not an appropriate intervention.

Organizational Change is Never Easy - Some Tips to Help

By Victor Lipman on September 13, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
A new study by Towers Watson shows that only 25% of change management initiatives are successful over the long term. Suggestions to help improve those odds.

Getting a Bargain: A Double-Edged Sword for Enjoyment

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on September 13, 2013 in Consumed
Buy now, enjoy later? Not so much when it comes to discounted products.

Why It's Not a Good Idea To Draw a Line in the Sand

By Victor Lipman on September 11, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Make no mistake about it, this "crisis" is now less about Syria and chemical weapons than it is about presidential credibility, reputation and legacy. As a leader, you always want options, you want maneuvering room. When you draw a line in the sand, you immediately reduce maneuvering room.

How Many People Have Money Saved for a Rainy Day?

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on September 07, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
A few years ago I read a story in CNN Money (Most Americans can't afford a $1,000 emergency expense) that reported over 60% of Americans did not have enough money in their savings or checking accounts to pay for a $1,000 emergency. I was shocked. Is it possible that only 36% of US adults have $1,000 in a savings account saved up for a rainy day? Well, maybe not.

The Dying Art of In-Person Communication

By Victor Lipman on September 04, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
How often do you send an email or text to someone to avoid in-person communication? Or call someone after hours so you can leave a message and avoid a conversation? There are clear business benefits to good old-fashioned talking to someone.

Why Do Materialists Worry About Their Finances?

By Ryan T. Howell Ph.D. on September 01, 2013 in Can't Buy Happiness?
A few weeks I wrote about how a lack of money management predicts individuals' compulsive spending, regardless of their personality, gender, age, and income. These results were based on a study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology. In this blog entry I answer a few follow-up questions.

The evolved wisdom behind our seemingly stupid decisions

Amos Tversky, a prominent psychologist and founding father of modern behavioral economics, said: “My colleagues, they study artificial intelligence; me, I study natural stupidity.” But here’s why Tversky and the behavioral economists got it wrong!

6 (Constructive) Things to Say to a Micromanager

By Victor Lipman on August 28, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Ever been frustrated by a micromanager? No need to be at a loss for words. And solid research shows that hands-off management is most effective.

Why Introverts Can Make Excellent Executives

By Victor Lipman on August 22, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Some of the inward-looking qualities that make people introverted also help them make thoughtful and sound decisions - a key element of what being an effective executive is all about. Less tinged with charisma than rationality, their voice was often the most listened to.

What Can Be Done to Help With Compulsive Spending Habits?

We asked about their materialistic values, addictive shopping behavior, and motivations behind their purchases with widely-used questionnaires in order to explore the relationship between these three things. We learned that individuals who value material possessions are more likely to shop compulsively because they don't manage their credit well.

How to Reduce the Maintenance of High-Maintenance Employees

By Victor Lipman on August 16, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
My own managerial variant of the old 80-20 rule ("80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers") is that "80% of your management time is often spent on 20% of your employees." Practical tips to make the challenging high-maintenance population a little less so.

The Billionaire’s Brain: Do You Have One?

I’m convinced that one secret of Warren Buffett’s enduring popularity is his “everyman-ness.” While “The Oracle” is insanely wealthy, he is also grounded and approachable which makes replicating what he has done seem almost doable for regular schlubs like you or I. Buffett famously said of intelligence and investment success, "You don't need to be a rocket scientist."

Unclear Job Objectives Are A Recipe For Confusion

By Victor Lipman on August 14, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
If your employees' job objectives aren't clear, how do they know what to do? The middle of the year is a good time to make sure objectives are still clear and relevant.

As an Antidote to PED Scandals, Words from John Wooden

By Victor Lipman on August 07, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Re-reading John Wooden and his unique brand of leadership ethics seems a refreshing change from the pervasive me-first selfishness of the PED Generation.

Why Do Shopping Addicts Keep Spending Their Money?

So, why do shopping addicts, or compulsive buyers, keep spending their money even in the face of harmful financial, emotional, and social consequences? Compulsive shoppers tend to be people who bury their head in the sand and ignore credit card bills, as we we found that these individuals keep on buying because they are looking for that "buy high."

Are You a Happy Shopper?

People who spent most of their disposable income on experiences scored highly on the “extravert” and “openness to new experience” scales.

Why Employee Engagement is Not Just the Job of Management

By Victor Lipman on July 29, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
I often write quite critically about management, as studies routinely show less than one-third of American workers are fully engaged. But I was recently reminded that employees too, and the mindsets with which they choose to approach each day, are key elements in this equation.

Why Transparency Is Always the Best Leadership Policy

By Victor Lipman on July 25, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
I've seen what happens to individuals and organizations when leaders spin too far into the wilderness without a moral compass. Let's just say it's a very long way home...

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Could boosting trust help millions in the developing world to escape poverty? How a new experiment seeks answers.

What Really Inspires a Woman to Go Shopping?

When women perceive there to be competition for mating opportunities, they sexy up their wardrobe. Something as seemingly unrelated as the state of the economy may lead women to perceive that the pool of available, attractive men is smaller, and thus, the competition for those mates stronger.

The Upside to Workplace Conflict

By Victor Lipman on July 16, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Best not to avoid or try to eliminate - and constructive resolution can even bring tangible benefits.

The Briefcase Rule: Decisions Under Stress

Lack of self-control can make you sacrifice more, not less, for those close to you, according to a new study. This is helpful insight if you’re one of those harried folks who finds themselves always doing too much for others. Try using “The Briefcase Rule” to help avoid decision-making when self-control wanes.

Seven Management Practices That Boost Employee Productivity

By Victor Lipman on July 01, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Studies consistently show that a disturbingly high number of employees are disengaged. These practical steps can help put employees in a more productive mindset.

Under/Overconfidence: It’s All About the Mindset

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on June 25, 2013 in Consumed
A change in mindset can turn underconfident women into realists and overconfident men into the über-confident.

Is the Traditional Resume Dying?

By Victor Lipman on June 22, 2013 in Mind of the Manager
Is an individual's social media footprint more meaningful than "2 pages of crafty wording"?

Trust in Children

In this post we will tell you whether interpersonal trust increases of decreases during childhood.

Is Behavioral Economics the Death of Living Wills?

By Peter A. Ubel on June 21, 2013 in Critical Decisions
What does behavioral economics teach us about the role of living wills in medical care?