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  Subjects -> ANTHROPOLOGY (Total: 398 journals)
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Behavioural Public Policy
Number of Followers: 4  
 
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 2398-063X - ISSN (Online) 2398-0648
Published by Cambridge University Press Homepage  [352 journals]
  • Hayekian behavioral economics

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      Authors: Sunstein; Cass R.
      Pages: 170 - 188
      Abstract: One of Friedrich Hayek's most important arguments pointed to the epistemic advantages of the price system, regarded as an institution. As Hayek showed, the price system incorporates the information held by numerous, dispersed people. Like John Stuart Mill, Hayek also offered an epistemic argument on behalf of freedom of choice. A contemporary challenge to that epistemic argument comes from behavioral economics, which has uncovered an assortment of reasons why choosers err, and also pointed to possible distortions in the price system. But, even if those findings are accepted, what should public institutions do' How should they proceed' A neo-Hayekian approach would seek to reduce the knowledge problem by asking what individual choosers actually do under epistemically favorable conditions. In practice, that question can be disciplined by asking five subsidiary questions: (1) What do consistent choosers, unaffected by self-evidently irrelevant factors, end up choosing' (2) What do informed choosers choose' (3) What do active choosers choose' (4) When people are free of behavioral biases, including (say) present bias or unrealistic optimism, what do they choose' (5) What do people choose when their viewscreen is broad, and they do not suffer from limited attention' These questions are illustrated with reference to the intense controversy over fuel economy standards.
      PubDate: 2021-03-19
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2021.3
       
  • How Hayekian is Sunstein's behavioral economics'

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      Authors: Sugden; Robert
      Pages: 189 - 198
      Abstract: I comment on Sunstein's paper proposing ‘Hayekian behavioural economics’. In essence, Sunstein is merely renaming a familiar approach to normative economics, initiated in Sunstein and Thaler's seminal 2003 paper. I argue that this approach cannot fairly be described as in the spirit of Hayek's work. Sunstein's approach is based on a ‘constructivist’ conception of rationality that Hayek consistently criticized. Although both Hayek and Sunstein address ‘knowledge problems’, the two problems are fundamentally different. I develop what I claim are truly Hayekian critiques of Sunstein's claim that fuel economy mandates can be more Hayekian than carbon taxes.
      PubDate: 2021-05-27
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2021.11
       
  • The unsolved Hayekian knowledge problem in behavioral economics

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      Authors: Rizzo; Mario J., Whitman, Glen
      Pages: 199 - 211
      PubDate: 2021-05-26
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2021.18
       
  • ‘Come on, man!’ On errors, choice, and Hayekian behavioral
           economics

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      Authors: Sunstein; Cass R.
      Pages: 212 - 218
      Abstract: With respect to the views of dead thinkers, answers to many particular questions are often interpretive in Ronald Dworkin's sense. Such answers must attempt (1) to fit the materials to be interpreted and (2) to justify them, that is, to put them in the best constructive light. What looks like (1), or what purports to be (1), is often (2). That is, when a follower of Kant urges that ‘Kant would say x’, or that ‘Kantianism entails y’, the goal is to make the best constructive sense of Kant and Kantianism, not merely to adhere to something that Kant actually said. An approach to behavioral economics cannot claim to be Hayekian if it is rooted in enthusiasm for the abilities of planners to set prices and quantities, or if it sees the price system as a jumble of mistakes and errors. But within a not-so-narrow range, a variety of freedom-preserving approaches, alert to the epistemic limits of planners, can fairly claim to be Hayekian. Hayekian behavioral economics, I suggest, is an approach that (1) recognizes the importance and pervasiveness of individual errors, (2) emphasizes the epistemic limits of planners, (3) builds on individual choices rather than planner preferences, and (4) gives authority to choices made under epistemically favorable conditions, in which informational deficits and behavioral biases are least likely to be at work. The key step, of course, is (4). If it is properly elaborated, the resulting approach deserves respect. It is worthy of serious consideration, even if some of us, including the present author, would not entirely embrace it. In defending that proposition, the present essay responds to some critical remarks on behaviorally informed policy, including the resort to ‘explainawaytions’ (Matthew Rabin's term) for behavioral findings.
      PubDate: 2021-09-15
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2021.19
       
  • The gender-neutral bathroom: a new frame and some nudges

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      Authors: BOVENS; LUC, MARCOCI, ALEXANDRU
      Pages: 1 - 24
      Abstract: Gender-neutral bathrooms are usually framed as an accommodation for trans and other gender-nonconforming individuals. In this paper, we show that the benefits of gender-neutral bathrooms are much broader. First, our simulations show that gender-neutral bathrooms reduce average waiting times: while waiting times for women go down invariably, waiting times for men either go down or slightly increase depending on usage intensity, occupancy-time differentials and the presence of urinals. Second, our result can be turned on its head: firms have an opportunity to reduce the number of facilities and cut costs by making them all gender-neutral without increasing waiting times. These observations can be used to reframe the gender-neutral bathrooms debate so that they appeal to a larger constituency, cutting across the usual dividing lines in the ‘bathroom wars’. Finally, there are improved designs and behavioural strategies that can help overcome resistance. We explore what strategies can be invoked to mitigate the objections that gender-neutral bathrooms (1) are unsafe, (2) elicit discomfort and (3) are unhygienic.
      PubDate: 2020-07-20
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2020.23
       
  • ‘Better off, as judged by themselves’: do people support nudges as a
           method to change their own behavior'

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      Authors: GOLD; NATALIE, LIN, YILING, ASHCROFT, RICHARD, OSMAN, MAGDA
      Pages: 25 - 54
      Abstract: In this study, we investigated how people evaluate behavioral interventions (BIs) that are targeted at themselves, aiming to promote their own health and wellbeing. We compared the impact on people's assessments of the acceptability of using BIs to change their own behavior of: the transparency of the BI (transparent or opaque); the designer of the BI (researchers, government policy-makers, advertisers); and three types of arguments regarding their efficacy (positive, positive + negative, negative). Our target BIs were actual interventions that have been used in a range of policy domains (diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, personal finances). We found that transparent BIs were considered more acceptable than opaque BIs. On average, all BIs were considered acceptable for changing participants’ own behavior, except for the opaque BI in the finance context; there was differential acceptability of BIs across contexts, with finance clearly least acceptable. However, the perceived effectiveness of the BIs was at least as influential a predictor of acceptability ratings as the ease of identification of the behavior change mechanism across the five contexts. Furthermore, effectiveness was partially mediated by desire to change, suggesting that people do think BIs make them better off, ‘as judged by themselves’.
      PubDate: 2020-05-07
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2020.6
       
  • The impact of online platform transparency of information on
           consumers’ choices

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      Authors: VELTRI; GIUSEPPE A., LUPIÁÑEZ-VILLANUEVA, FRANCISCO, FOLKVORD, FRANS, THEBEN, ALEXANDRA, GASKELL, GEORGE
      Pages: 55 - 82
      Abstract: Millions of Europeans use online platforms with almost blind trust that the platforms operate in the interests of the consumer. However, the presentation of search results, transparency about contractual parties and the publication of user reviews that contribute to the value of online platforms in Europe's Single Digital Market also pose significant risks regarding consumer protection and market competition. The current study investigates how enhanced information transparency in online platforms might affect consumers’ trust in online activities and choice behaviour. Following an exploratory qualitative study, three online discrete-choice experiments were conducted with representative samples of 1200 respondents in each of four countries: Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK. The objective of the experiments was to test whether increased transparency in the presentation of online search information, details of contractual entities and the implications for consumer protection and user reviews and ratings would affect consumers’ choices. The results show that increased online transparency increases the probability of product selection. A comparison across the four countries found that the similarities in responses to online transparency were far greater than the differences. The findings are discussed in relation to the biases and heuristics identified in behavioural science. In conclusion, recommendations are made to increase online transparency, which the empirical evidence of this study shows would benefit both users and platform operators.
      PubDate: 2020-06-18
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2020.11
       
  • Strategic ignorance of health risk: its causes and policy consequences

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      Authors: NORDSTRÖM; JONAS, THUNSTRÖM, LINDA, VAN ’T VELD, KLAAS, SHOGREN, JASON F., EHMKE, MARIAH
      Pages: 83 - 114
      Abstract: We examine the causes and policy implications of strategic (willful) ignorance of risk as an excuse to over-engage in risky health behavior. In an experiment on Copenhagen adults, we allow subjects to choose whether to learn the calorie content of a meal before consuming it and then measure their subsequent calorie intake. Consistent with previous studies, we find strong evidence of strategic ignorance: 46% of subjects choose to ignore calorie information, and these subjects subsequently consume more calories on average than they would have had they been informed. While previous studies have focused on self-control as the motivating factor for strategic ignorance of calorie information, we find that ignorance in our study is instead motivated by optimal expectations – subjects choose ignorance so that they can downplay the probability of their preferred meal being high-calorie. We discuss how the motivation matters to policy. Further, we find that the prevalence of strategic ignorance largely negates the effects of calorie information provision: on average, subjects who have the option to ignore calorie information consume the same number of calories as subjects who are provided no information.
      PubDate: 2020-01-27
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2019.52
       
  • Network insiders and observers: who can identify influential people'

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      Authors: GOMILA; ROBIN, SHEPHERD, HANA, PALUCK, ELIZABETH LEVY
      Pages: 115 - 142
      Abstract: Identifying influential people within a community to involve in a program is an important strategy of behavioral interventions. How to efficiently identify the most effective individuals is an outstanding question. This paper compares two common strategies: consulting ‘network insiders’ versus ‘network observers’ who have knowledge of but who do not directly participate in the community. Compared to aggregating information from all insiders, asking relatively fewer observers is more cost-effective, but may come at a cost of accuracy. We use data from a large-scale field experiment demonstrating that central students, identified through the aggregated nominations of students (insiders), reduced peer conflict in 56 middle schools. Teachers (observers) also identified students they saw as influential. We compare the causal effect of the two types of nominated students on peer outcomes and the differences between the two types of students. In contrast to the prosocial effects of central students on peer conflict, teacher nominees have no, or even antisocial, influence on their peers’ behaviors. Teachers (observers) generally nominated students with traits salient to them, suggesting that observer roles may systematically bias their perception. We discuss strategies for improving observers’ ability to identify influential individuals in a network as leverage for behavioral change.
      PubDate: 2020-05-08
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2020.8
       
  • Non-monetary intervention to discourage consumption of single-use plastic
           bags

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      Authors: CHANDRA; GAURI
      Pages: 143 - 156
      Abstract: The over-utilization of plastic bags has pushed governments to implement a mix of policy measures ranging from banning the bags altogether to charging a fee for them. However, these policies are often accompanied by unintended consequences. Paying for plastic bags, in particular, may crowd out the negative emotions tied to their harmful impact on the environment, and may be subject to a ‘rebound effect’. In a randomized controlled experiment, I tested four different treatments aimed at nudging or encouraging consumers to carry their own bag to the stores. Specifically, I tested the effects of changing the framing of the question regarding carrier bags at the checkout till in stores using a yes/no response format, in which the yes option corresponds to the desired behaviour. The treatment with the yes/no framing format was found to have as strong and significant an effect as a charge of 5 pence per bag on discouraging single-use plastic bag consumption.
      PubDate: 2020-07-06
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2020.9
       
  • Cancer screening and accessibility bias: people want screening when
           informed it saves no lives

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      Authors: HODSON; NATHAN
      Pages: 157 - 169
      Abstract: Some cancer screening programs are built on contentious evidence, but the public are generally positive about screening. Many professional organizations have settled on a fudge: allow the people to decide for themselves. Given the potential limitations of individual decision-making, there is increasing support for helping individuals to make better decisions. This paper presents experimental data supporting the claim that individuals are largely unresponsive to data about screening and base their decisions upon factors that professionals would consider inappropriate reasons for screening. The most plausible explanation for this phenomenon comes from accessibility bias. Professionals can no longer sustain the argument that, with respect to cancer screening, individual choice reflects a meaningful expression of autonomy.
      PubDate: 2020-06-23
      DOI: 10.1017/bpp.2020.10
       
 
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