Tag: Behavioral Economics and Public Policy

Blog Posts (45)

April 14, 2015

The Anchoring Heuristic Courtesy of Dilbert

Heuristics is jargon used by decision psychologists and behavioral economists to refer to cognitive shortcuts we humans take to make judgments and decisions. One of the first heuristics identified as such by Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky was the anchoring … Continue reading

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April 9, 2015

Incentive to Stop Smoking?

In the United States, the FDA tried to mandate that cigarette companies put nasty images of the harms of smoking onto cigarette packages, images that would take up at least half of the carton. It looks like that effort has … Continue reading

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March 30, 2015

The Hidden Psychology of Antibiotic Prescribing

Experts in decision psychology and behavioral economics have conclusively shown that humans, those silly creatures, are not always rational decision makers. They let unconscious forces influence their thinking, and not always for the better. But of course, doctors aren’t human. … Continue reading

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March 20, 2015

Here’s Why I’m Guilty Of Experimenting On People

Last summer, Facebook received terrible press for running experiments on its users, adjusting the proportion of happy and unhappy posts at the top of people’s news feeds to see how that effected their moods. Shortly after that controversy surfaced, OK-Cupid … Continue reading

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March 10, 2015

More Encouragement to Walk the Stairs

A while back, I posted an interesting effort to get people to walk upstairs, rather than take the escalator. It involved a staircase designed to look like a piano, with musical sounds generated when people stepped on each stair. I … Continue reading

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March 5, 2015

Are Patients Harmed When Physicians Explain Things Too Simply?

A quick quiz before we start today’s lesson. What do we call a tree that grows from acorns? What do we call a funny story? What sound does a frog make? What is another word for a cape? What do … Continue reading

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February 24, 2015

Podcast on Healthcare.gov 3.0

The Managing Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine interviewed me about the piece I wrote, with David Comerford and Eric Johnson, on redesigning the health insurance exchanges. For those of you with long commutes, here is that podcast: … Continue reading

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February 23, 2015

More on Healthcare.gov 3.0

Here is a nice follow-up story on my recent New England Journal article on improving the design of health insurance exchanges. Comparing health insurance plans – whether signing up through Healthcare.gov or weighing employer-sponsored plans with a spouse – can … Continue reading

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February 20, 2015

Q & A With Richard Thaler On What It Really Means To Be A “Nudge”

Nudge is one of the most important and influential books on behavioral science and public policy I’ve ever read. Co-authored by economist Richard Thaler and lawyer Cass Sunstein, the book lays out the rationale for adopting policies designed to make … Continue reading

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February 19, 2015

Healthcare.gov 3.0–Improving the Design of the Obamacare Exchanges

I joined two other, much smarter, colleagues in calling for the use of behavioral economics and decision psychology to improve the design of the websites people use to purchase health insurance in the U.S. That article came out today in … Continue reading

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