Monthly Archives: October 2008

Choice, perception & behaviour

The New York Times adds its voice to the emerging acceptance of behavioural elements in economics and markets generally, in an op-ed by David Brooks.  Lots of good lines-

“”My sense is that this financial crisis is going to amount to a coming-out party for behavioral economists and others who are bringing sophisticated psychology to the realm of public policy. At least these folks have plausible explanations for why so many people could have been so gigantically wrong about the risks they were taking.”
 
“So perhaps this will be the moment when we alter our view of decision-making. Perhaps this will be the moment when we shift our focus from step three, rational calculation, to step one, perception.”

 

The writer’s comment that “choice architecture”, as per Richard Thaler’s Nudge theory, will only work in limited cases echoes my own views, but if markets and governments fail to influence the decision making process then what?  back to the individuals non rational decision making again…

And with halloween approaching read how the Vancouver Sun charcaterises current markets as Motivated by Fear, with yet another mainstream introduction to neuroeconomics – also on BBC Radio 4 yesterday –“Money on the Brain”

Somethings happening in this area when the big guys start to pay attention.

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Herd Mentality

Mark Earls blogs on his own site and the Marketing Society site, yet again hitting several topical nails on their heads. Read the full blogpost here, but I can’t help myself in picking a choice quote:

“To be honest, copying is much more important than independent thinking to shaping human behaviour and is much more common: as Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahnemann puts it, humans are to independent thought as cats are to swimming. We can do it if we really want to but will avoid it like the plague if we can…”

With the reference to BrettConsult’s favourite behavioural economist how can he go wrong?

In related news my new model for travel behaviour change is getting some attention (virally, of course) and another article beckons. My paper for European Transport Conference has been published and a copy is available here – aet-paper-081006.  As always some feedback would be welcome.