According to Wiki, behavioral economics
stud[ies] the effects of social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions and the consequences for market prices, returns, and the resource allocation. The field [is] primarily concerned with the bounds of rationality of economic agents.
In case you never took a class on the topic and would like to learn the basics, my friend and coauthor David Just’s Introduction to Behavioral Economics was just published by Wiley. You can buy it here for the relatively low price (for a textbook, that is) of $112.50.
A reader asks:
Stiglitz said “The heavy subsidization of corn, for instance, means that many unhealthful foods are relatively cheap. So grocery shopping on a tight budget often means choosing foods that are not nutritious.”
Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve been telling [people] that farm subsidies make food more expensive, not cheaper (sugar is a really good example).
If you ask an economist, you shouldn’t be surprised when the answer is “it depends.” Continue reading
An important trade-off to ponder as most Americans are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday that is largely centered around food:
Despite what you might hear at your local farmers’ market or Whole Foods, not all big farms are bad. Nor are all small organic farms sustainable. They may produce high-quality food, but if they don’t produce a lot of calories per acre, they are doing little to help increase the global food supply. How we increase this supply over the next few decades will determine agriculture’s sustainability. It’s worth exploring why this is so, because sustainable food production is a fundamental human need. Getting it right will require us to carefully assess the consequences of where and how we farm.
Already, the world’s farms take up an area the size of South America. By 2050, a global population of nearly 10 billion people will require roughly 70 percent more food. We have two options: Either we need to get more food out of the land we already farm, or we need to farm more land. Continue reading
In two studies, we demonstrated that liberals underestimate their similarity to other liberals (i.e., display truly false uniqueness), whereas moderates and conservatives overestimate their similarity to other moderates and conservatives (i.e., display truly false consensus; Studies 1 and 2). We further demonstrated that a fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives in the motivation to feel unique explains this ideological distinction in the accuracy of estimating similarity (Study 2). Implications of the accuracy of consensus estimates for mobilizing liberal and conservative political movements are discussed.
That’s the abstract of a new article in Psychological Science titled “The Liberal Illusion of Uniqueness.” The emphasis is mine.
The findings for liberals reminded me of my favorite neighbor when I lived in North Carolina, who often alluded to Freud’s narcissism of small differences when trying to explain how petty little disputes can quickly become all-out wars in academia.
If you’re not familiar with the idea of a (clinical) trial registry, I suggest you read this first, then come back to read the rest of this post.
In case you are not a member of the American Economics Association (AEA), or in case you have let your membership lapse, the association sent the following email to its members last night:
Dear AEA member:
The AEA has launched a new site to register randomized control trials (RCTs). The AEA encourages all investigators to register new and existing RCTs. Registration is entirely voluntary and is not currently linked to or required for submission and publication in the AEA journals. Continue reading