Richard Thaler

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pages: 461 words: 128,421

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, card file, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of the americas, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, impulse control, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, libertarian paternalism, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market design, New Journalism, Nikolai Kondratiev, Paul Lévy, pension reform, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pushing on a string, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, Yogi Berra

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 1978, press release, Oct. 16, 1978. 15. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” Econometrica (March 1979): 263–92. 16. Richard H. Thaler, Quasi Rational Economics (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1991), xi–xii. 17. Justin Fox, “Is the Market Rational?” Fortune, Dec. 9, 2002, 120. 18. Richard H. Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 1 (1980): 39–60. Reprinted in Thaler, Quasi Rational Economics. 19. Richard H. Thaler and H. M. Shefrin, “An Economic Theory of Self-Control,” Journal of Political Economy (April 1981): 392–406. 20. The best description of Chamberlin’s experiment, and of the rise of experimental economics in general, is in Ross M.

Cohen, “Separate Neural Systems Value Immediate and Delayed Rewards,” Science (Oct. 15, 2004): 503–7. 13. Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi, “Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings,” Journal of Political Economy (Feb. 2004): pt. 2, S164–S187. 14. Justin Fox, “Why Johnny Can’t Save for Retirement,” Fortune, March 21, 2005. 15. Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). 16. Cass R. Sunstein, ed., Behavioral Law and Economics (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 17. Aditya Chakrabortty, “From Obama to Cameron, why do so many politicians want a piece of Richard Thaler?” Guardian, July 12, 2008, 16. 18. Edward Glaeser, “Paternalism and Psychology,” University of Chicago Law Review (2006): 133–56. 19.

A slightly different version of the story can be found in Joseph Nocera, “The Quantitative, Data-Based, Risk-Massaging Road to Riches,” New York Times Magazine, June 5, 2005. 19. The October 2000 version is available for download at http://ssrn.com/abstract=240371. 20. Williams (1997), 188. 21. Clifford Asness, “Bubble Logic: Or, How to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Bull,” partial draft of an unpublished book, June 1, 2000. 22. Owen A. Lamont and Richard H. Thaler. “Can the Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-Outs,” Journal of Political Economy (April 2003): 227–68. 23. Jeremy Siegel, “Big-Cap Tech Stocks Are a Sucker Bet,” Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2000. 24. Justin Fox, “9% Forever?” Fortune, Dec. 26, 2005. CHAPTER 15: MIKE JENSEN CHANGES HIS MIND ABOUT THE CORPORATION 1. Jack Willoughby, “Burning Up: Warning: Internet companies are running out of cash—fast,” Barron’s, March 20, 2000, 29. 2.


pages: 168 words: 46,194

Why Nudge?: The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism by Cass R. Sunstein

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, energy security, framing effect, invisible hand, late fees, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, nudge unit, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler

., Tanner Lectures on Human Values and the Design of the Fight Against Poverty (May 2, 2012), http://economics.mit.edu/files/7904. ONE Occasions for Paternalism 1. See generally ADVANCES IN BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS (Colin F. Camerer et al. eds., 2003) (offering wide range of findings); ADVANCES IN BEHAVIORAL FINANCE, VOLUME II (Richard H. Thaler ed., 2005); CHOICES, VALUES, AND FRAMES (Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky eds., 2000) (offering a large number of relevant findings); HEURISTICS AND BIASES: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF INTUITIVE Judgment (Thomas Gilovich et al. eds., 2002) (outlining a variety of empirical findings). 2. DANIEL KAHNEMAN, THINKING, FAST AND SLOW (2011); see also RICHARD H. THALER & CASS R. SUNSTEIN, NUDGE: IMPROVING DECISIONS ABOUT HEALTH, WEALTH, AND HAPPINESS 19–22 (2008) (discussing “Humans” and “Econs”). 3. See THALER & SUNSTEIN, supra note 2. 4. Colin Camerer et al., Neuroeconomics: How Neuroscience Can Inform Economics, 43 J.

See Glaeser, supra note 10; Wright & Ginsburg, supra note 5. 34. See Glaeser, supra note 10, which has a rule-consequentialist flavor, but which is qualified through a recognition that (optional) nudging is justified in identifiable cases. 35. Mill, supra note 2. 36. For a valuable discussion, see Edna Ullmann-Margalit, Invisible Hand Explanations, 39 Synthese 263 (1978). 37. For discussion, see Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008). Richard Thaler et al., Choice Architecture, in Behavioral Foundations of Policy 428, 428–31 (Eldar Shafir ed. 2012). I am bracketing here the potential effects of the kinds of choice architecture that are established by the basic rules of contract law, property law, tort law, and criminal law. 38. See Cass R. Sunstein, Simpler: The Future of Government (2013). 39.

To be sure, the individual mandate can be, and has been, powerfully defended on nonpaternalistic grounds; above all, it should be understood as an effort to overcome a free-rider problem that exists when people do not obtain health insurance (but are nonetheless subsidized in the event that they need medical help). 6. MILL, supra note 2. 7. Id. 8. Id. 9. An authoritative discussion is DANIEL KAHNEMAN, THINKING, FAST AND SLOW (2011). On behavioral economics and public policy, see CASS R. SUNSTEIN, SIMPLER: THE FUTURE OF GOVERNMENT (2013); RICHARD H. THALER & CASS R. SUNSTEIN, NUDGE: IMPROVING DECISIONS ABOUT HEALTH, WEALTH, and HAPPINESS (2008). 10. Richard A. Posner, Why Is There No Milton Friedman Today, 10 ECON. J. WATCH 210, 212 (2013), available at http://econjwatch.org/articles/why-is-there-no-milton-friedman-today-RP. 11. See David Laibson, Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting, 112 Q.J. ECON. 443, 445 (1997). 12. For a discussion of some of the foundational issues, see Pedro Bordalo, Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, Salience Theory of Choice Under Risk, 127 Q.J.


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Beyond the Random Walk: A Guide to Stock Market Anomalies and Low Risk Investing by Vijay Singal

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Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, capital asset pricing model, correlation coefficient, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, index arbitrage, index fund, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market friction, market microstructure, mental accounting, merger arbitrage, new economy, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, short selling, transaction costs, Vanguard fund

Froot, Kenneth A., and Richard H. Thaler. 1990. Anomalies: Foreign Exchange. Journal of Economic Perspectives 4(3), 179–92. Goetzmann, William, and Aloke Kumar. 2001. Equity Portfolio Diversification. Working paper, NBER. Haan, Marco. 1997. Where Are the Motives? A Problem with Evidence in the Work of Richard Thaler: A Reply. Journal of Economic Psychology 18(6), 705–9. Hong, Harrison, and Jeremy C. Stein. 1999. A Unified Theory of Underreaction, Momentum Trading, and Overreaction in Asset Markets. Journal of Finance 54(6), 2143–84. Kadlec, Gregory B., and John J. McConnell. 1994. The Effect of Market Segmentation and Illiquidity on Asset Prices: Evidence from Exchange Listings. Journal of Finance 49(2), 611–36. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler. 1991. Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias.

Also see http://www.tickdata.com http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/H10/hist: Historical exchange rates with most of the world’s currencies are available at the Federal Reserve site. http://pacific.commerce.ubc.ca/xr: The Pacific Exchange rate service at the University of British Columbia provides the exchange rates in addition several other useful bits of information. References for Further Reading Baz, Jamil, Francis Breedon, Vasant Naik, and Joel Peress. 2001. Optimal Portfolios of Foreign Currencies. The Journal of Portfolio Management 28(1), 102–11. Engel, Charles. 1996. The Forward Discount Anomaly and the Risk Premium: A Survey of Recent Evidence. Journal of Empirical Finance 3(2), 123–92. Froot, Kenneth A., and Richard H. Thaler. 1990. Anomalies: Foreign Exchange. Journal of Economic Perspectives 4(3), 179–92. Meredith, Guy, and Menzie D. Chinn. 1998. Long Horizon Uncovered Interest Rate Parity. Working paper no. 6797, National Bureau of Economic Research. Razzak, Weshah A. 2000. The Forward Rate Unbiasedness Hypothesis Revisited. Working paper, Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Sercu, Piet, and Raman Uppal. 1995. International Financial Markets and the Firm (Cincinnati: South-Western College Publishing).

Journal of Finance 43, 113–27. Chay, Jong-Boon, and Charles A.Trzcinka. 1999. Managerial Performance and the Cross-Sectional Pricing of Closed-End Funds. Journal of Financial Economics 52, 379–408. Chen, Nai-Fu, Raymond Kan, and Merton Miller. 1993. Are the Discounts on Closed End Funds a Sentiment Index? Journal of Finance 48(2), 795–800. Chopra, Navin, Charles M. C. Lee, Andrei Shleifer, and Richard H. Thaler. 1993. Yes, Discounts on Closed-End Funds are a Sentiment Index. Journal of Finance 48(2), 801–8. Coles, Jeffrey L., Jose Suay, and Denise Woodbury. 2000. Fund Advisor Compensation in Closed-End Funds. Journal of Finance 55, 1385–414. Dimson, Elroy, and Carolina Minio-Kozeski. 1999. Closed-End Funds: A Survey. Financial Markets, Institutions and Instruments 8(2), 1–41. Garay, Urbi, and Philip Russell. 1999.


pages: 654 words: 191,864

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, cognitive bias, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demand response, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, index card, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, nudge unit, pattern recognition, pre–internet, price anchoring, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, union organizing, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

If the utility function for wealth is concave (bent down), the preference implies that the value of $1 has decreased by over 9% over an interval of $21! This is an extraordinarily steep decline and the effect increases steadily as the gambles become more extreme. “Even a lousy lawyer”: Matthew Rabin, “Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem,” Econometrica 68 (2000): 1281–92. Matthew Rabin and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: Risk Aversion,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 15 (2001): 219–32. economists and psychologists: Several theorists have proposed versions of regret theories that are built on the idea that people are able to anticipate how their future experiences will be affected by the options that did not materialize and/or by the choices they did not make: David E. Bell, “Regret in Decision Making Under Uncertainty,” Operations Research 30 (1982): 961–81.

communicate a reference point: Daniel Kahneman, “Reference Points, Anchors, Norms, and Mixed Feelings,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 51 (1992): 296–312. “wins the contest”: John Alcock, Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2009), 278–84, cited by Eyal Zamir, “Law and Psychology: The Crucial Role of Reference Points and Loss Aversion,” working paper, Hebrew University, 2011. merchants, employers, and landlords: Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market,” The American Economic Review 76 (1986): 728–41. fairness concerns are economically significant: Ernst Fehr, Lorenz Goette, and Christian Zehnder, “A Behavioral Account of the Labor Market: The Role of Fairness Concerns,” Annual Review of Economics 1 (2009): 355–84. Eric T. Anderson and Duncan I. Simester, “Price Stickiness and Customer Antagonism,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 125 (2010): 729–65.

Johnson, Simon Gächter, and Andreas Herrmann, “Exploring the Nature of Loss Aversion,” Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, University of Nottingham, Discussion Paper Series, 2006. Edward J. McCaffery, Daniel Kahneman, and Matthew L. Spitzer, “Framing the Jury: Cognitive Perspectives on Pain and Suffering,” Virginia Law Review 81 (1995): 1341–420. classic on consumer behavior: Richard H. Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 39 (1980): 36–90. taboo tradeoff: Philip E. Tetlock et al., “The Psychology of the Unthinkable: Taboo Trade-Offs, Forbidden Base Rates, and Heretical Counterfactuals,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78 (2000): 853–70. where the precautionary principle: Cass R. Sunstein, The Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).


pages: 500 words: 145,005

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, impulse control, index fund, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, late fees, law of one price, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market clearing, Mason jar, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, mortgage debt, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, New Journalism, nudge unit, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, presumed consent, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel

Journal of Financial Economics 9, no. 1: 3–18. Barbaro, Michael. 2007. “Given Fewer Coupons, Shoppers Snub Macy’s.” New York Times, September 29. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/29/business/29coupons.html. Barber, Brad M., and Terrance Odean. 2002. “Online Investors: Do the Slow Die First?” Review of Financial Studies 15, no. 2: 455–88. Barberis, Nicholas C., and Richard H. Thaler. 2003. “A Survey of Behavioral Finance.” In Nicholas Barberis, Richard H. Thaler, George M. Constantinides, M. Harris, and René Stulz, eds., Handbook of the Economics of Finance, vol. 1B, 1053–128. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Barberis, Nicholas, Ming Huang, and Tano Santos. 2001. “Prospect Theory and Asset Prices.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116, no. 1: 1–53. Barner, Martin, Francesco Feri, and Charles R. Plott. 2005. “On the Microstructure of Price Determination and Information Aggregation with Sequential and Asymmetric Information Arrival in an Experimental Asset Market.”

American Economic Review 101, no. 5: 1912–32. Cutler, David M., James M. Poterba, and Lawrence H. Summers. 1989. “What Moves Stock Prices?” Journal of Portfolio Management 15, no. 3: 4–12. Daly, Mary, Bart Hobijn, and Brian Lucking. 2012. “Why Has Wage Growth Stayed Strong?” Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco: Economic Letter 10: 1–5. Dawes, Robyn M., and Richard H. Thaler. 1988. “Anomalies: Cooperation.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 2, no. 3: 187–97. De Bondt, Werner F. M., and Richard H. Thaler. 1985. “Does the Stock Market Overreact?” Journal of Finance 40, no. 3: 793–805. De Long, J. Bradford, Andrei Shleifer, Lawrence H. Summers, and Robert J. Waldmann. 1990. “Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets.” Journal of Political Economy 98, no. 4: 703–38. DellaVigna, Stefano. 2009. “Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field.”

“Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 112, no. 2: 443–78. Lakonishok, Josef, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert W. Vishny. 1994. “Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk.” Journal of Finance 49, no. 5: 1541–78. Lamont, Owen A., and Richard H. Thaler. 2003. “Can the Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-Outs.” Journal of Political Economy 111, no. 2: 227–68. Landsberger, Michael. 1966. “Windfall Income and Consumption: Comment.” American Economic Review 56, no. 3: 534–40. Lee, Charles, Andrei Shleifer, and Richard H. Thaler. 1991. “Investor Sentiment and the Closed-End Fund Puzzle.” Journal of Finance 46, no. 1: 75–109. Lester, Richard A. 1946. “Shortcomings of Marginal Analysis for Wage-Employment Problems.” American Economic Review, 36, no. 1: 63–82. Levitt, Steven, and John List. 2007.


pages: 342 words: 94,762

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy

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algorithmic trading, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nick Leeson, paper trading, Paul Graham, payday loans, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, six sigma, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical model, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, upwardly mobile, Walter Mischel

More specifically, the assumption was that humans discount exponentially in a time-consistent manner, meaning that for a given discount rate (r) over a specified time period (T), the value in today’s terms of a future payment ($) equals $ divided by (1 + r)T. For example, the “present value,” or value in today’s terms, of $110 in one year at a rate of 10 percent is $110/(1 + 0.1)1 = $100. 30. Richard A. Thaler, “Some Empirical Evidence of Dynamic Inconsistency,” Economics Letters 8(3, 1981): 201–207. 31. George Loewenstein and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: Intertemporal Choice,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 3(1989): 181–193. 32. George Ainslie, Picoeconomics (Cambridge University Press, 1992). 33. George A. Akerlof, “Behavioral Microeconomics and Macroeconomic Behavior,” Nobel Prize Lecture, December 8, 2001. 34. James E. Mazur, “Tests of an Equivalence Rule for Fixed and Variable Reinforcer Delays,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Process 10(1984): 426–436; James E.

For a comprehensive discussion of legal issues related to procrastination, see Manuel Utset, “Procrastination and the Law,” in Andreou and White, The Thief of Time, pt. III(15). 53. The psychologist Piers Steel says this kind of planning can be helpful: “Impulsive people find it difficult to plan work ahead of time and even after they start, they are easily distracted. Procrastination inevitably follows.” Steel, The Procrastination Equation, p. 14. 54. Bertrand and Morse, Information Disclosure, Cognitive Biases, and Payday Borrowing. 55. Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008). 56. See Henri C. Schouwenburg, Clarry H. Lay, and Timothy A. Pychyl, Counseling the Procrastinator in Academic Settings (American Psychological Association, 2004); Henri C. Schouwenburg and JanTjeerd Groenewoud, “Study Motivation Under Social Temptation: Effects of Trait Procrastination,” Personality and Individual Differences 30(2, 2001): 299–340.

For example, Shafir was recently part of a group that analyzed a direct-mail field experiment in South Africa to understand how different advertising approaches (including a photo of an attractive woman or describing how the loan proceeds might be used) affected people’s demand for loans. Marianne Bertrand, Dean Karlan, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir, and Jonathan Zinman, “What’s Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Experiment,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 125(1, 2010): 263–306. Shafir also has studied, with economist Richard Thaler, some of the puzzles of how and why we delay gratification. Eldar Shafir and Richard Thaler, “Invest Now, Drink Later, Spend Never: On the Mental Accounting of Delayed Consumption,” Journal of Economic Psychology 27(5, 2006): 694–712. 3. Nassim Taleb in particular has demonstrated that human beings make all sorts of cognitive mistakes in assessing risk. See Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and Markets (Random House, 2008), and Taleb, The Black Swan. 4.

Stocks for the Long Run, 4th Edition: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long Term Investment Strategies by Jeremy J. Siegel

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asset allocation, backtesting, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, German hyperinflation, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, new economy, oil shock, passive investing, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

I thought that buying more stock would increase my chances of recouping my losses. IC: You and millions of other investors. In 1982, Leroy Gross wrote a manual for stockbrokers in which he called this phenomenon the “geteven-itis disease.”21 He claimed get-even-itis has probably caused more destruction to portfolios than any other mistake. 18 Richard Thaler, “Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,” Marketing Science, vol. 4, no. 3 (Summer 1985), pp. 199–214. 19 Richard H Thaler, “Mental Accounting Matters,” Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, vol. 12 (1999), pp. 183–206. 20 Hersh Shefrin and Meir Statman, “The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence,” Journal of Finance, vol. 40, no. 3 (1985), pp. 777–792. 21 Leroy Gross, The Art of Selling Intangibles, New York: New York Institute of Finance, 1982. 330 PART 4 Stock Fluctuations in the Short Run It is hard for us to admit we’ve made a bad investment, and it is even harder for us to admit that mistake to others.

CHAPTER 19 Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing TABLE 335 19–1 Investor Confidence and Subsequent Dow Price Returns: Sentiment = Bull/(Bull + Bear) Bull and Bear from Investors Intelligence, New Rochelle, New York 1970 - 2006 Sentiment 0.2 - 0.3 0.3 - 0.4 0.4 - 0.5 0.5 - 0.6 0.6 - 0.7 0.7 - 0.8 0.8 - 0.9 0.9 - 1.0 Overall Frequency 1.14% 8.34% 15.28% 27.29% 27.60% 15.95% 3.83% 0.57% 100.00% 1990 - 2006 Sentiment .30 - .35 .35 - .40 .40 - .45 .45 - .50 .50 - .55 .55 - .60 .60 - .65 .65 - .70 .70 - .75 .75 - .80 Overall Frequency 1.28% 3.27% 4.78% 7.12% 15.17% 17.97% 24.85% 14.35% 8.63% 2.57% 100.00% Annualized Returns Subsequent to Sentiment Readings (January 2, 1970 - June 2, 2006) Three Month 18.52% 12.24% 20.30% 15.98% 8.61% 10.45% -0.39% 0.35% 12.72% Six Month 15.40% 13.79% 15.02% 13.61% 6.75% 7.17% 0.23% -3.87% 10.35% Nine Month 22.79% 16.52% 13.06% 11.10% 6.66% 7.03% -3.32% -9.17% 9.45% Twelve Month 20.74% 15.82% 13.43% 10.21% 6.03% 6.74% -1.79% -10.18% 9.02% Annualized Returns Subsequent to Sentiment Readings Three Month 20.43% 16.69% 30.10% 33.39% 21.80% 12.92% 4.65% 5.37% 10.64% 3.03% 13.19% Six Month 15.83% 18.19% 22.52% 18.61% 17.98% 11.61% 5.67% 5.34% 7.04% 6.86% 11.04% Nine Month 15.51% 18.63% 20.99% 15.25% 15.74% 11.36% 6.91% 4.38% 6.63% 4.51% 10.38% Twelve Month 20.66% 20.85% 21.24% 15.24% 14.81% 11.05% 6.25% 5.35% 6.43% 5.02% 10.33% Out-of-Favor Stocks and the Dow 10 Strategy Dave: Can you use contrarian strategy to pick individual stocks? IC: Yes. Contrarians believe that the swings of optimism and pessimism infect individual stocks as well as the overall markets. Therefore, buying out-of-favor stocks can be a winning strategy. Werner De Bondt and Richard Thaler examined portfolios of both past stock winners and losers to see if investors became overly optimistic or pessimistic about future returns from studying the returns of the recent past.31 Portfolios of winning and losing stocks were analyzed 31 Werner F. M. De Bondt and Richard H. Thaler, “Does the Stock Market Overreact?” Journal of Finance, vol. 49, no. 3 (1985), pp. 793–805. 336 PART 4 Stock Fluctuations in the Short Run FIGURE 19–1 Investors Intelligence Sentiment Indicator, 1986 to 2007 0.90 0.80 0.70 0.60 0.50 October 0.40 Market Crash 0.30 0.20 0.10 Asian Crisis Iraqi Invasion of Bond Kuwait Market Crash LTCM/ Russia Terrorist Attacks Bear Market Bottom Fears of Crash Induced by Decline 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 over five-year intervals.

Since over longer periods, the probability of stocks showing a loss is much smaller, investors influenced by loss aversion would be more likely to hold stocks if they monitored their performance less frequently. Dave: That’s so true. When I look at stocks in the very short run, they seem so risky that I wonder why anyone holds them. But over the long run, the superior performance of equities is so overwhelming, I wonder why anyone doesn’t hold stocks! IC: Exactly. Shlomo Bernartzi and Richard Thaler claim that myopic loss aversion is the key to solving the equity premium puzzle.27 For years, econ26 Shlomo Bernartzi and Richard Thaler, “Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1995, pp. 73–91. 27 See Chapter 8 for a further description of the equity premium puzzle. CHAPTER 19 Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing 333 omists have been trying to figure out why stocks have returned so much more than fixed-income investments.


pages: 519 words: 104,396

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone

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availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, payday loans, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor

“Representativeness Revisited: Attribute Substitution in Intuitive Judgment.” In T. Gilovich, D. Griffin, and D. Kahneman (eds.), Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment. New York: Cambridge University Press. ———, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard Thaler. (1986a). “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market.” The American Economic Review 76, 728–41. ———, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard Thaler. (1986b). “Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics.” The Journal of Business 59, S285–S300. ———, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard Thaler (1991). “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and the Status Quo Bias.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 5, 193–206. ———, Ilana Ritov, and David A. Schkade (1999). “Economic Preferences or Attitude Expressions? An Analysis of Dollar Responses to Public Issues.”

“Springsteen Ticketmaster Troubles.” WABC News. Available at abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section–ews/7_on_your_side&id=6641540&rss=rss wabc-article-6641540. Plautus, trans. by E. F. Watling (1964). The Rope and Other Plays. London: Penguin. Plous, Scott (1993). The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Post, Thierry, Martijn J. van den Assem, Guido Baltussen, and Richard H. Thaler (2008). “Deal or No Deal? Decision Making Under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show.” The American Economic Review 98, 38–71. Purcell, Frank (1969). “Roulette Bet May Decide Man’s Fate.” Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 2, 1969. Quattrone, G. A., C. P. Lawrence, S. E. Finkel, and D. C. Andrus (1984). “Explorations in Anchoring: The Effects of Prior Range, Anchor Extremity, and Suggestive Hints.”

Marketers and salespeople knew too well that what a customer was willing to pay was changeable and that there was money to be made from that fact. Economist Donald Cox has gone so far as to say that much of behavioral economics is “old hat to marketing experts, who have long since booted homo economicus out of their focus groups.” Today there is a symbiosis between psychologists studying prices and the marketing and price consultant communities. Many leading theorists, including Tversky, Kahneman, Richard Thaler, and Dan Ariely, have published important work in marketing journals. Price consultant Simon-Kucher & Partners has an academic advisory board with scholars from three continents. Today’s marketers talk up anchoring and coherent arbitrariness—and their somewhat unnerving power. “Many people like myself who teach marketing start the course by saying, ‘We’re not about manipulating consumers, we’re about discovering needs and meeting them,’ ” said Eric Johnson of Columbia University.


pages: 415 words: 125,089

Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, buttonwood tree, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, endowment effect, experimental economics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fermat's Last Theorem, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, linear programming, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mental accounting, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, spectrum auction, statistical model, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund

David, Florence Nightingale, 1962. Games, Gods, and Gambling. New York: Hafner Publishing Company.* Davidson, Paul, 1991. "Is Probability Theory Relevant for Uncertainty? A Post Keynesian Perspective." Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Winter), pp. 129-143. Davidson, Paul, 1996. "Reality and Economic Theory." Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Summer. Forthcoming. DeBondt, Werner, and Richard H. Thaler, 1986. "Does the Stock Market Overreact?" Journal of Finance, Vol. XL, No. 3, pp. 793-807. Dewey, Donald, 1987. "The Uncertain Place of Frank Knight in Chicago Economics." A paper prepared for the American Economic Association, Chicago, December 30, 1987. Dewey, Donald, 1990. "Frank Knight before Cornell: Some Light on the Dark Years." In Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 8, pp. 1-38.

The Handbook of Experimental Economics. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk." Econometrica, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 263-291.` Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky, 1984. "Choices, Values, and Frames." American Psychologist, Vol. 39, No. 4 (April), pp. 342-347. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem." Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 98, No. 6, pp. 1325-1348. Kaplan, Gilbert Edmund, and Chris Welles, eds. 1969. The Money Managers. New York: Random House. Kelves, Daniel J., 1985. In the Name of Eugenics. New York: Knopf. Kemp, Martin, 1981. Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

The following people also made significant contributions to my work and warrant my deepest appreciation: Kenneth Arrow, Gilbert Bassett, William Baumol, Zalmon Bernstein, Doris Bullard, Paul Davidson, Donald Dewey, David Durand, Barbara Fotinatos, James Fraser, Greg Hayt, Roger Hertog, Victor Howe, Bertrand Jacquillat, Daniel Kahneman, Mary Kentouris, Mario Laserna, Dean LeBaron, Michelle Lee, Harry Markowitz, Morton Meyers, James Norris, Todd Petzel, Paul Samuelson, Robert Shiller, Charles Smithson, Robert Solow, Meir Statman, Marta Steele, Richard Thaler, James Tinsley, Frank Trainer, Amos Tversky,* and Marina von N. Whitman. Eight people generously undertook to read the manuscript in its entirety and to give me the benefit of their expert criticisms and suggestions. Each of them, in his own way, deserves major credit for the quality of the content and style of the book, without bearing any responsibility for the shortcomings it contains. Here they are: Theodore Aronson, Peter Brodsky, Jay Eliasberg, Robert Heilbroner, Peter Kinder, Charles Kindleberger, Mark Kritzman, and Stephen Stigler.


pages: 304 words: 22,886

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

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Al Roth, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, availability heuristic, call centre, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, continuous integration, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, diversification, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, equity premium, feminist movement, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, index fund, invisible hand, late fees, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, Mason jar, medical malpractice, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, pension reform, presumed consent, profit maximization, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Saturday Night Live, school choice, school vouchers, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Zipcar

NUDGE This page intentionally left blank NUDGE Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness Richard H. Thaler Cass R. Sunstein Yale University Press New Haven & London A Caravan book. For more information, visit www.caravanbooks.org. Copyright © 2008 by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. Set in Galliard and Copperplate 33 types by The Composing Room of Michigan, Inc. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Thaler, Richard H., 1945– Nudge : improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness / Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. p. cm.

Benartzi, Shlomo. “Excessive Extrapolation and the Allocation of 401(k) Accounts to Company Stock.” Journal of Finance 56 (2001): 1747–64. Benartzi, Shlomo, and Richard H. Thaler. “Risk Aversion or Myopia? Choices in Repeated Gambles and Retirement Investments.” Management Science 45 (1999): 364–81. ———. “Naive Diversification Strategies in Defined Contribution Savings Plans.” American Economic Review 91, no. 1 (2001): 79–98. ———. “How Much Is Investor Autonomy Worth?” Journal of Finance 57 (2002): 1593–1616. ———. “Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21, no. 3 (2007): 81–104. Benartzi, Shlomo, Richard H. Thaler, Stephen P. Utkus, and Cass R. Sunstein. “The Law and Economics of Company Stock in 401(k) Plans.” Journal of Law and Economics 50 (2007): 45–79. BIBLIOGRAPHY Benjamin, Daniel, and Jesse Shapiro.

In Gilovich, Griffin, and Kahneman (2002), 49–81. BIBLIOGRAPHY Kahneman, Daniel, Barbara L. Fredrickson, Charles A. Schreiber, and Donald A. Redelmeier. “When More Pain Is Preferred to Less: Adding a Better End.” Psychological Science 4 (1993): 401–5. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler. “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem.” Journal of Political Economy 98 (1990): 1325–48. ———. “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5, no. 1 (1991): 193–206. Kahneman, Daniel, and Richard H. Thaler. “Anomalies: Utility Maximization and Experienced Utility.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20, no. 1 (2006): 221–34. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky, eds. Choices, Values, and Frames. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Kahneman, Daniel, Peter.


pages: 397 words: 109,631

Mindware: Tools for Smart Thinking by Richard E. Nisbett

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, big-box store, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, endowment effect, experimental subject, feminist movement, fundamental attribution error, glass ceiling, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, quantitative easing, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, William of Occam, Zipcar

Basseches, Michael. “Dialectical Schemata: A Framework for the Empirical Study of the Development of Dialectical Thinking.” Human Development 23 (1980): 400–21. ______. Dialectical Thinking and Adult Development. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1984. Beccuti, Guglielmo, and Silvana Pannain. “Sleep and Obesity.” Current Open Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 14 (2011): 402–12. Benartzi, Shlomo, and Richard H. Thaler. “Heuristics and Biases in Retirement Savings Behavior.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21 (2007): 81–104. Berger, Jonah, and Gráinne M. Fitzsimons. “Dogs on the Street, Pumas on Your Feet.” Journal of Marketing Research 45 (2008): 1–14. Berger, Jonah, M. Meredith, and S. C. Wheeler. “Contextual Priming: Where People Vote Affects How They Vote.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 105 (2008): 8846–49.

“Female Hurricanes Are Deadlier Than Male Hurricanes.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (2014). Published electronically June 2, 2014. Kahn, Robert. “Our Long-Term Unemployment Challenge (in Charts).” 2013. http://blogs.cfr.org/kahn/2013/04/17/our-long-term-unemployment-challenge-in-charts/. Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetch, and Richard H. Thaler. “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem.” In Tastes for Endowment, Identity, and the Emotions, vol. 3 of The New Behavioral Economics, edited by E. L. Khalil, 119–42. International Library of Critical Writings in Economics. Cheltenham, U.K.: Elgar, 2009. Kalev, Alexandra, Frank Dobbin, and Erin Kelley. “Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies.”

Giving teachers the same amount of money at the beginning of the term and telling them they would have to pay back that amount if their students failed to meet a specified target resulted in a significant positive effect on student performance.4 It’s not possible to justify the endowment effect in cost-benefit terms. I should be willing to sell a commodity at the same or slightly higher price than I paid for it. Even economists are susceptible to a range of biases, including the endowment effect bias, which prevent them from being fully rational in cost-benefit terms. The endowment effect concept, in fact, first occurred to the economist Richard Thaler when he thought about the behavior of an economist colleague who was a wine enthusiast. The man never paid more than thirty-five dollars for a bottle of wine but was sometimes unwilling to sell a bottle bought at that price even for amounts as large as one hundred dollars.5 Having such a large spread between buying price and selling price can’t be defended in terms of the normative rules of cost-benefit theory.


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Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller

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affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, working-age population, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Economic Journal 41(162):173–98. Kahn, Shulamit. 1997. “Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata.” American Economic Review 87(5):993–1008. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. 1979. “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk.” Econometrica 47(2):263–92. ———. 2000. Choices, Values and Frames. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler. 1986a. “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit-Seeking: Entitlements in the Market.” American Economic Review 76(4):728–41. ———. 1986b. “Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics.” Journal of Business 59(4, part 2):S285–300. “Kaiser Argentine Car Plant Hit by Faulty Parts, Strikes, Delays.” 1958. New York Times, April 28, p. 33. Kashyap, Anil K., Raghuram G. Rajan, and Jeremy C. Stein. 2008.

Stiglitz. 1984. “Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device.” American Economic Review 74(3):433–44. Shea, John. 1995a. “Union Contracts and the Life-Cycle/Permanent-Income Hypothesis.” American Economic Review 85(1):186–200. ———. 1995b. “Myopia, Liquidity Constraints, and Aggregate Consumption: A Simple Test.” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 27(3):798–805. Shefrin, Hersh, and Richard H. Thaler. 1988. “The Behavioral Life-Cycle Hypothesis.” Economic Inquiry 24:609–43. Shiller, Robert J. 1981. “Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to Be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?” American Economic Review 7(3):421–36. ———. 1982. “Consumption, Asset Markets and Macroeconomic Fluctuations.” Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 17:203–38. ———. 1984. “Stock Prices and Social Dynamics.”

It would violate the etiquette of textbooks to mention that some other factor, outside the formal discipline of economics, is the fundamental cause of certain major economic phenomena. It would be like burping loudly at a fancy dinner. It is just not done. Questionnaires But studies of fairness do indicate the strong possibility that such concerns will override the effects of rational economic motivation. One of our favorite studies comes from a team consisting of a psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, and two economists, Jack Knetsch and Richard Thaler.4 The study asked respondents about their reactions to a number of vignettes. Was the action taken acceptable or unfair? The first question, dealing with the price of snow shovels after a snowstorm, illustrates the method and the answers. According to the vignette, there has been a snowstorm, and the local hardware store has increased the price of snow shovels. Is that acceptable or unfair?


pages: 606 words: 157,120

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism by Evgeny Morozov

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Automated Insights, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, citizen journalism, cloud computing, cognitive bias, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dava Sobel, disintermediation, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, future of journalism, game design, Gary Taubes, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, income inequality, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Narrative Science, Nicholas Carr, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Graham, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, pets.com, placebo effect, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, smart meter, social graph, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

You’re on Casino Camera,” Associated Press, February 11, 2009, http://www.cbsnews.com/2100–205_162–274604.html. 198 Canadian casinos have recently solved: Ashlee Vance, “A Privacy-Friendly Way to Ban Gambling Addicts from Casinos,” Bloomberg Businessweek, August 29, 2012, http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012–08–29/a-privacy-friendly-way-to-ban-gambling-addicts-from-casinos. 198 what Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler call “nudges”: Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, updated ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 2009). 199 as some recent studies speculate: F. Godlee, “Obesity and Climate Change,” British Medical Journal 345 (2012), http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6516. 200 “Moral communities need to keep debating”: Brownsword, “Lost in Translation,” 1356. 200 John Dewey expressed almost a century earlier: the best short introduction to Dewey’s thought on technology and paternalism (from which most of the Dewey quotes in the book are taken) is Tan Sor Hoon, “Paternalism—a Deweyan Perspective,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy 13, no. 1 (January 1, 1999): 56–70.

., “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer,” Pew Internet, March 1, 2010, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Online-News.aspx. 301 “The route to enhancing meaningful civic life”: Elizabeth Theiss-Morse and John R. Hibbing, “Citizenship and Civic Engagement,” Annual Review of Political Science 8, no. 1 (2005): 227–249. 301 “if governments want to encourage good citizenship”: Richard H. Thaler, “Making Good Citizenship Fun,” New York Times, February 13, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/opinion/making-good-citizenship-fun.html?_r=0. 302 “anything can be fun”: quoted in Chorney, “Taking the Game out of Gamification,” 8. 302 “governments typically use two tools”: Thaler, “Making Good Citizenship Fun.” 302 “relating to the duties or activities”: “Civic,” Oxford Dictionaries, http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/civic. 302 into two categories: for some reviews of the motivation literature in psychology and economics, see Roland Bénabou and Jean Tirole, “Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation,” Review of Economic Studies 70, no. 3 (July 1, 2003): 489–520, and Richard M.

Perhaps shifting the registers will result in greater efficiency or utility or less crime—in which case we are back to SCP and Kerr’s digital locks. Or perhaps the regulators believe that you are subject to the same cognitive biases and limitations as the rest of us humans; as such, you might be tempted to do the wrong thing even if you really don’t want to. This last set of assumptions accounts for the proliferation of what Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler call “nudges”: clever manipulations of default settings—what the authors call “choice architecture”—to get you to eat healthy foods or save money for retirement. Nudging is to manipulation what public relations is to advertising: it gets things done while making all the background tinkering implicit and invisible. The most effective nudges give agents a semblance of agency without giving them much choice.


pages: 375 words: 105,067

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen

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asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Cass Sunstein, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, game design, greed is good, high net worth, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, wage slave, women in the workforce, working poor, éminence grise

David Saylor: author interview. the largest seller of indexed annuities in the United States: Zeke Faux and Margaret Collins, “Indexed Annuities Can Yield Surprises,” Business Week, February 24, 2011, http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_10/b4218045699286.htm. Shlomo Benartzi: Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/x5515.xml. But Allianz scored a public relations coup: Richard H. Thaler, “The Annuity Puzzle,” New York Times, June 4, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/business/economy/05view.html; Paul J. Isaac, letter to the New York Times, June 11, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/business/12backpage-THEANNUITYQU_LETTERS.html. Cathy Smith: author interview. There are, according to Money magazine: Lisa Gibbs, “Index Annuities Are a Safety Trap,” Money, January 7, 2011, http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/17/pf/index_annuities_safety_trap.moneymag/index.htm.

id=D000022305&year=2012; Fidelity PAC, OpenSecrets.org, 2012 PAC Summary, http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00215046. “Fee transparency could create”: Robert Powell, “401(k) Changes Give Savers a Brighter Future,” MarketWatch, December 16, 2010, http://articles.marketwatch.com/2010-12-16/finance/30737091_1_fee-disclosure-plan-sponsors-fees-and-expenses. As a remedy: “Should Policies Nudge People to Save?” Wall Street Journal Econblog (Richard Thaler comments), May 25, 2007, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117977357721809835.html; Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008); African Americans: Diversity and Defined Contribution Plans, The Role of Automatic Plan Features, Vanguard study, September 12, 2011, https://institutional.vanguard.com/VGApp/iip/site/institutional/researchcommentary/article/RetResDiversity; take-up increased: Regina Lewis, “The Pros and Cons of Automatic 401(k) Enrollment,” DailyFinance, July 11, 2011, http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/07/11/401k-automatic-enrollment-pros-cons/.

Many of those offering testimony tried to remain optimistic. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich suggested Americans could be coached to manage their professional lives in order to “make their own way in the economy, learn new skills throughout your career, be ready to apply them in new ways and in new settings,” and thus raise their salaries, beat income inequality, and avoid both unplanned retirement and inadequate savings. Behavioral economics star Richard Thaler, then a professor at Cornell University’s business school, testified that he believed, over time, both 401(k) and individual retirement accounts would push up the nation’s savings rate, since they penalized people who took the money out early, though he did not address how this would happen given that both plans had existed for more than a decade during which savings rates had fallen, not risen.

Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge by Cass R. Sunstein

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affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, Build a better mousetrap, c2.com, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, market bubble, market design, minimum wage unemployment, prediction markets, profit motive, rent control, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, slashdot, stem cell, The Wisdom of Crowds, winner-take-all economy

Hovland, Social Judgment: Assimilation and Contrast Effects in Communication and Attitude Change (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961), 188 (discussing manner in which individuals filter information to conform to their preexisting positions). 69. Forsythe et al., Wishes, 94. 70. Berg et al., “Accuracy and Forecast Standard Error of Prediction Markets,” 42. 71. Forsythe et al., Wishes, 99–100. The term “quasi-rational” comes from Richard H. Thaler, Quasi-Rational Economics (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1991), xxi. 72. See Richard H. Thaler and William T. Ziemba, “Anomalies: Parimutuel Betting Markets: Racetracks and Lotteries,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 2 (1988): 163 (exploring favorite–long shot bias); see also Charles F. Manski, “Interpreting the Predictions of Prediction Markets” (unpublished manuscript, Feb. 2004) (summarizing horse race data findings), available at http://faculty.econ.nwu.edu/faculty/manski/ prediction_markets.pdf. 73.

Leighton Vaughan Williams (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 374. 60. See, e.g., ibid.; Hersh Shefrin, Beyond Greed and Fear: Understanding Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) (exploring markets’ susceptibility to cognitive errors); Shiller, Irrational Exuberance, 245 (discussing cognitive errors and their effects on market prices); Richard H. Thaler, ed., Advances in Behavioral Finance (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1993) (investigating effects of how investors actually behave). 61. For good discussions, see Hanson, “Designing Real Terrorism Futures,” 11–14; Abramowicz, “Prediction Markets, Administrative Decisionmaking, and Predictive Cost-Benefit Analysis,” 972–76. 62. Klarreich, “Best Guess,” 251, 253. 63. For an overview of optimistic bias, see Christine Jolls, “Behavioral Economics Analysis of Redistributive Legal Rules,” Vanderbilt Law Review 51 (1998): 1658–63. 64.

Friedrich Hayek, “The Origins and Effects of Our Morals: A Problem for Science,” in The Essence of Hayek, 318, 330. 45. See Robert MacCoun et al., Drug War Heresies: Learning from Other Vices, Times, and Places (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001). 46. The Federalist No. 14 (James Madison). 47. For a good overview, see Andrei Shleifer, Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 48. See Richard Thaler, ed., Advances in Behavioral Finance, vol. 2 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005). 49. In fact, some rigorous tests have raised doubts about it. See ibid. 50. Robert Shiller, Irrational Exuberance, 2d ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 2, 5. 51. Ibid., 11. 52. See Erica Klarreich, “Best Guess,” Science News, Oct. 18, 2003, 252, available at http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20031018/ bob9.asp.


pages: 580 words: 168,476

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, declining real wages, deskilling, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, London Interbank Offered Rate, lone genius, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, offshore financial centre, paper trading, patent troll, payday loans, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, very high income, We are the 99%, women in the workforce

For a discussion of these outcomes (and the sums people will accept or veto in ultimatum games), see Colin Camerer and Richard Thaler, “Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 9, no. 2 (1995): 209–19. 16. For a sample of the large literature, see, e.g., Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics,” Journal of Business 59, no. 4 (1986): S285–S300; Gary E. Bolton and Axel Ockenfels, “ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition,” American Economic Review 90, no. 1 (March 2000): 166–93; Armin Falk, Ernst Fehr, and Urs Fischbacher, “On the Nature of Fair Behavior,” Economic Inquiry 41, no. 1 (January 2003): 20–26; Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market,” American Economic Review 76, no. 4 (1986): 728–41; Amartya Sen, “Moral Codes and Economic Success,” in Market Capitalism and Moral Values, ed.

The “Swift boat” attack on Senator Kerry is a legendary example of “marketing” with no basis in fact, which nonetheless was extraordinarily effective. For a discussion of this case and a list of resources from the New York Times, see the New York Times “Times Topic” on “Swift Veterans for Truth,” available at http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/organizations/s/swift_boat_veterans_for_truth/index.html (accessed March 4, 2012). 31. See Richard H. Thaler, “When Business Can’t Foresee Outrage,” New York Times, November 19, 2011, p. BU4. See Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics,” Journal of Business 59, no 4 (1986): S285–300. Amelie Goosens and Pierre-Guillaume Meon, “The Impact of Studying Economics, and Other Disciplines, on the Belief That Voluntary Exchange Makes Everyone Better Off,” University of Brussels working paper, 2010, show that there are both selection and learning effects.

This turns out to raise theoretical issues that are closely akin to the measurement of risk, and my early work, four decades ago, was done jointly with Michael Rothschild. Subsequently, I began work with a former student, Ravi Kanbur, on the measurement of socioeconomic mobility. The influence of behavioral economics on my thinking should be evident in this work. I was first introduced to these ideas some forty years ago by the late Amos Tversky, a pioneer in this field, and subsequently Richard Thaler and Danny Kahneman have greatly influenced my thinking. (When I founded the Journal of Economic Perspectives in the mid-1980s, I asked Richard to do a regular column on the subject.) I benefited enormously from the discussions with Edward Stiglitz of some of the legal issues treated in chapter 7, and with Robert Perkinson on the issues related to America’s high incarceration rate. I have always benefited a great deal from discussing ideas as I formulate them with my students, and I want to single out Miguel Morin, a current student, and Anton Korinek, a recent one.


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Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure by Tim Harford

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Andrew Wiles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, car-free, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, Deep Water Horizon, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fermat's Last Theorem, Firefox, food miles, Gerolamo Cardano, global supply chain, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge worker, loose coupling, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Netflix Prize, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, PageRank, Piper Alpha, profit motive, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, rolodex, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, web application, X Prize

Available at: http://timharford.com/2006/05/the-poker-machine/; and Tim Harford, The Logic of Life (New York: Random House, 2008). 32 The brain refuses to register: Gary Smith, Michael Levere and Robert Kurtzman, ‘Poker Player Behavior after Big Wins and Big Losses’, Management Science, Vol. 55, No. 9 (September 2009), pp. 1547–55. 32 The great economic psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, ‘Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk’, Econometrica, Vol. 47, No. 2 (1979), p. 287. 33 Found the perfect setting to analyse the way we respond to losses: Thierry Post, Martijn J. Van den Assem, Guido Baltussen and Richard H. Thaler, ‘Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show’, American Economic Review, Vol. 98, No. 1 (March 2008). Available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=636508. Having written about Thaler’s research before, and even presented a radio documentary on the show, I am indebted to Jonah Lehrer and his book How We Decide (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) for emphasising how striking this result really is. 35 Unfortunately, selling winners and holding on to losers: Terrance Odean, ‘Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?’

I asked my wife whether she would accept such an offer. Of course not. She was feeling far too sick to go to Paris. She forced a faint smile as she realised what I was telling her, and we went home. (As if to confirm that we had made the right decision, the nice people at Eurostar refunded our tickets anyway. And a few months later, my wife somewhat more pregnant, we got to Paris in the end.) The behavioural economist Richard Thaler, with a team of co-authors, has found the perfect setting to analyse the way we respond to losses. He studied the TV game show Deal or No Deal, which is a great source of data because the basic game is repeated incessantly, with similar rules, for high stakes, in over fifty countries. Deal or No Deal offers contestants a choice of between twenty and twenty-six numbered boxes, each containing some prize money, ranging from pennies to hundreds of thousands of dollars, pounds or euros.

The root cause of the loophole problem is something we also met with the Merton Rule: the crucial difference between the letter and the spirit of the law. This point was hammered home to me over a world-saving coffee (I had an espresso; he had a soya cappuccino) with the environmental economist Prashant Vaze, author of The Economic Environmentalist. Vaze was waxing lyrical about the concept of the ‘nudge’, proposed by the behavioural economist Richard Thaler and polymath legal scholar Cass Sunstein. The idea is that subtle influences could be used to direct thoughtless behaviour, while preserving individual rights consciously to choose. For example, incandescent light bulbs – which are a very wasteful way to produce light, but preferred by people with partial sight and certain light-sensitive skin conditions – could be removed from open shelves, but available from storage on request.


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Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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airport security, Broken windows theory, crack epidemic, desegregation, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, George Akerlof, Joseph Schumpeter, mental accounting, moral hazard, More Guns, Less Crime, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, pets.com, profit maximization, Richard Thaler, school choice, sensible shoes, Steven Pinker, Ted Kaczynski, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, Thorstein Veblen, War on Poverty

Levitt, “What the Bagel Man Saw,” The New York Times Magazine, June 6, 2004. Levitt has also written an academic paper about Feldman’s bagel operation: “An Economist Sells Bagels: A Case Study in Profit Maximization,” National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, 2006. / 43 The “Beer on the Beach” study is discussed in Richard H. Thaler, “Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,” Marketing Science 4 (Summer 1985), pp. 119–214; also worth reading is Richard H. Thaler, The Winner’s Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life (New York: Free Press, 1992). 2. HOW IS THE KU KLUX KLAN LIKE A GROUP OF REAL-ESTATE AGENTS? SPILLING THE KLAN’S SECRETS: This section has been substantially revised since the original version of Freakonomics was published, owing to the authors’ discovery that Stetson Kennedy—in both his memoir, The Klan Unmasked, and in interviews with the authors—had misrepresented his role in personally infiltrating and attacking the Klan.

But just as crime tends to be low on a street where a police car is parked, the 95 percent rate was artificially high: Feldman’s presence had deterred theft. Not only that, but those bagel eaters knew the provider and had feelings (presumably good ones) about him. A broad swath of psychological and economic research has shown that people will pay different amounts for the same item depending on who is providing it. The economist Richard Thaler, in his 1985 “Beer on the Beach” study, showed that a thirsty sunbather would pay $2.65 for a beer delivered from a resort hotel but only $1.50 for the same beer if it came from a shabby grocery store. In the real world, Feldman learned to settle for less than 95 percent. He came to consider a company “honest” if its payment rate was above 90 percent. He considered a rate between 80 and 90 percent “annoying but tolerable.”

Trilby and I then ate, fairly happily, though the taste of the rancid chicken remained with me; in fact, it remains with me still. Trilby had had a glass of wine before we ordered, and took another glass with her meal, sauvignon blanc. I drank water. When the waitress cleared our plates, she asked again if we wanted free dessert. Just coffee, we said. As Trilby and I talked, I mentioned that not long ago I had interviewed Richard Thaler, the godfather of behavioral economics, a fairly new field of study that tries to explain why the psychology of money is so complicated. I mentioned the behavioralists’ concept of “anchoring”—a concept that used-car salesmen in particular know so well: establish a price that may be 100 percent more than what you need in order to ensure that you’ll still walk away with, say, a 50 percent profit.


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The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, business process, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial independence, Flynn Effect, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, impulse control, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, loss aversion, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monroe Doctrine, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Walter Mischel, young professional

Hallinan, Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average (New York: Broadway Books, 2009), 92–93. 4 In department stores Paco Underhill, Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping by the Author of Why We Buy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 49–50. 5 pairs of panty hose Timothy D. Wilson, Strangers to Ourselves (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2002), 103. 6 At restaurants, people eat more Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Ann Arbor, MI: Caravan Books, 2008), 64. 7 Marketing people also realize Hallinan, 99. 8 Capital Pacific Homes David Brooks, “Castle in a Box,” The New Yorker, March 26, 2001, http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2001/03/26/010326fa_fact_brooks. 9 For all of human history Steven E. Landsburg, “The Theory of the Leisure Class,” Slate, March 9, 2007, http://www.slate.com/id/2161309. 10 the owls John Medina, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (Seattle, WA: Pear Press, 2008), 163. 11 As Angela Duckworth Jonah Lehrer, “The Truth about Grit,” Boston Globe, August 2, 2009, http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/08/02/the_truth_about_grit/. 12 M.

Stephen Copley and Andrew Edgar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 182. 2 Long-term unemployment Don Peck, “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America,” The Atlantic, March 2010, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/03/how-a-new-jobless-era-will-transform-america/7919/. 3 Ninety percent of drivers Robert H. Frank, The Economic Naturalist: In Search of Explanations for Everyday Enigmas (New York: Basic Books, 2007), 129. 4 Ninety-four percent of college professors Andrew Newburg and Mark Robert Waldman, Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth (New York: Free Press, 2006), 73. 5 Ninety percent of entrepreneurs Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Ann Arbor, MI: Caravan Books, 2008), 32. 6 Ninety-eight percent of students Keith E. Stanovich, What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009), 109. 7 College students vastly overestimate Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness (New York: Vintage, 2007), 18. 8 Golfers on the PGA tour Joseph T.

Augustine’s Press, 2000), 39. 2 “Reason is and ought only” David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, bk. 2, sect. 3 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009), 286. 3 “We are generally” Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 87. 4 “senses and imagination captivate” Gertrude Himmelfarb, The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments (New York: Vintage, 2005), 76. 5 Level 2 is like Mr. Spock Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Ann Arbor, MI: Caravan Books, 2008), 22. 6 The recall process James Le Fanu, Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves (New York: Vintage, 2010), 213. 7 Half had significant errors Robert A. Burton, On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008), 10. 8 201 prisoners in the United States Joseph T.


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Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management

Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1080202. 82 had their money returned: Christopher Shea, “eBay-nomics: Modern Economists Have Assumed That People in Auctions Behave Rationally. Then Came eBay,” Boston Globe, June 10, 2007. 82 “profit-leaking paradox”: Rafi Mohammed, The Art of Pricing (New York: Crown, 2005), 24. 82 “opposition to one of their various judgments”: Janet Landman, Regret: The Persistence of the Possible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 116. 85 the response was a resounding no: Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market,” American Economic Review 76 (September 1986): 728-41. 85 got pretty much the same response: Raymond Gorman and James B. Kehr, “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Comment,” American Economic Review 82, no. 1 (1992): 355-58. 85 “biggest mistake was getting caught”: David Wessel, “How Technology Tailors Price Tags,” Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2001. 86 early birds deserved to pay more: On the Wired magazine blog network, one gleeful “late adapter” wrote: “The early iPhone buyers paid a premium precisely to be among the first and the ‘coolest.’

Of course this question does not address the larger and more important question of how best to make money, but how best to make money is a question we are reluctant to face, in particular when we are currently not making any. “If the question is difficult and an answer doesn’t immediately come to mind, we ask ourselves a related question that is easy to answer,” Kahneman said. “Generally speaking, the easy question is the wrong question.” Tversky and Kahneman may have made less practical sense of such psychological insights had they not teamed up with the promising young economist Richard Thaler. Today a professor of behavioral science and economics in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago, Thaler was, when they met in the late 1970s, a newly minted visiting professor at the National Bureau of Economic Research at Stanford University. Tversky and Kahneman were fellows at the Stanford Institute of Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences, and Thaler translated their psychological research into a hardheaded consideration of consumer behavior.

Marketing Letters 16, nos. 3/4 (2005): 347-60. 63 the distance estimated by the students: Plenary lecture at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, February 15, 2008, in Boston. 64 “for a new field of research”: As announced in the press release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, October 9, 2002, available at http://nobelprize. org/nobel__prizes/economics/laureates/2002/press.html. 65 when making financial transactions: Thaler compressed and compiled many of these cases into a book. See Richard Thaler, The Winner’s Cure: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life (New York: The Free Press, 1992). My description of the Ultimatum Game was informed by Thaler’s chapter on the subject (pp. 21-36) and also by conversations with Dr. Patrick Kaufman, chairman of marketing at Boston University School of Management. 66 Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain: Antonio R. Damasio, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (New York: Harper Perennial, 1995). 66 true not only for humans: There is a rich scientific literature giving evidence that humans are biologically programmed or “hardwired” to be fair and to demand fairness in others.


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The Irrational Economist: Making Decisions in a Dangerous World by Erwann Michel-Kerjan, Paul Slovic

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Andrei Shleifer, availability heuristic, bank run, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, incomplete markets, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Loma Prieta earthquake, London Interbank Offered Rate, market bubble, market clearing, moral hazard, mortgage debt, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, statistical model, stochastic process, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, urban planning

Before joining Harvard, he was a faculty member at the University of Chicago Law School from 1981 to 2008. Sunstein’s many books include After the Rights Revolution (Harvard University Press, 1990), Risk and Reason (Cambridge University Press, 2002), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (Cambridge University Press, 2005), Worst-Case Scenarios (Harvard University Press, 2007), and Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, with Richard H. Thaler (Yale University Press, 2008). He is also co-author of leading casebooks in both constitutional law and administrative law, with academic specialties in these two fields as well as in regulatory policy. W. Kip Viscusi, Vanderbilt University Law School Kip Viscusi is Vanderbilt’s first University Distinguished Professor, with appointments in the Owen Graduate School of Management and the Department of Economics as well as in the Law School.

At the same time, and despite very important advances in economic theory that were made possible by the traditional view of economic man,7 there was a growing sense of unease among the general public and other social scientists as well as among policy makers that many economists had been unrealistic in their attempts to always rationalize how people, enterprises, and markets function. Fortunately, the story did not stop there. Stimulated by creative conceptual, methodological, and empirical work by the more senior authors in The Irrational Economist and many others, including Amos Tversky, Daniel Kahneman, and Richard Thaler, the trickle of studies challenging traditional economic assumptions of rationality became a torrent. Nobel prizes in economics awarded to Herbert Simon in 1978, to George Akerlof in 2001, and to Daniel Kahneman and Vernon Smith in 2002 for their contributions toward understanding the behavioral dynamics of economic decisions further contributed to what has become a revolution in thinking. Today, young scholars, and even those not so young, have become convinced that the secret to improving economic decision making lies in the careful empirical study of how we actually make decisions.

Many people do not appreciate how much a company with a given name can change through time, or how many ways there are to debase its value. Stocks that nobody really believes in but that retain value are the Delicious Apples of the investment world. RECOMMENDED READING Allen, Franklin, Stephen Morris, and Hyung Song Shin (2002). “Beauty Contests, Bubbles, and Iterated Expectations in Asset Markets.” Unpublished paper, Yale University. Barberis, Nicholas, and Richard Thaler (2003). “A Survey of Behavioral Finance.” In George Constantinides, Milton Harris, and René Stulz, eds. Handbook of the Economics of Finance. New York: Elsevier Science. Campbell, John Y., and Robert J. Shiller (1987). “Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models.” Journal of Political Economy 97, no. 5: 1062-1088. Higgins, Adrian (2005). “Why the Red Delicious No Longer Is.” Washington Post, August 5, p.


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Scarcity: The True Cost of Not Having Enough by Sendhil Mullainathan

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American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrei Shleifer, Cass Sunstein, clean water, computer vision, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, happiness index / gross national happiness, impulse control, indoor plumbing, inventory management, knowledge worker, late fees, linear programming, mental accounting, microcredit, p-value, payday loans, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

., “The Miracle of Microfinance? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation” (MIT working paper, 2010). do not undo hard work: Some of this argument can be made without resort to the psychology of scarcity. Much of policy design makes the presumption of rationality. Simply allowing for people to have natural psychological limitations already can improve policy making. This view has recently been wonderfully articulated by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2008). See also Eldar Shafir, ed., The Behavioral Foundations of Public Policy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2012). We have previously used this logic to argue that we can better understand poverty just by understanding that the poor can have the same psychological quirks that affect everyone else: Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Eldar Shafir, “A Behavioral-Economics View of Poverty,” American Economic Review (2004): 419–23.

Square B has a different background from square A. Not only is it surrounded by darker squares; it also sits in the cylinder’s apparent shadow. Because things in shadows look darker, the eye will correct for the shadow, making the item appear lighter. Perceived color, much like perceived distance, depends on surrounding cues. And as it turns out, so does perceived value. A classic experiment once reported by the economist Richard Thaler does the equivalent of this optical illusion for money. We re-created this experiment along with Anuj Shah. We had subjects consider two scenarios that differ only in the bracketed words—a grocery store in one case, a fancy resort in the other: Imagine you are lying on the beach on a hot day. All you have to drink is ice water. For the last hour you have been thinking about how much you would enjoy a nice cold bottle of your favorite brand of beer.

To experience this and other such illusions you can go to http://web.mit.edu/persci/people/adelson/checkershadow_illusion.html. For a more detailed discussion of the cognitive mechanisms underlying illusions such as these, see Edward H. Adelson, “Lightness Perception and Lightness Illusions,” The New Cognitive Neurosciences (1999): 339. Imagine you are lying on the beach on a hot day: This is based on Richard Thaler, “Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,” Marketing Science 4, no. 3 (1985): 199–214. Data collected with Anuj Shah in 2012. The well off showed a significant difference between frames, whereas the poor did not; p < .01 (N = 148). when gasoline prices go up: J. Hastings and J. M. Shapiro, Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice: Evidence from Commodity Price Shocks (Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No. 18248, 2012).


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The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification by Paul Roberts

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, business process, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, factory automation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, game design, greed is good, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, impulse control, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, performance metric, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

Household Deleveraging and Future Consumption Growth, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letter, May 15, 2009, http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/2009/el2009-16.html; and “U.S., World’s Growing HouseholdDebt,” research paper, June/July 2004, http://www.marubeni.com/dbps_data/_material_/maruco_en/data/research/pdf/0407.pdf. 4. White, “Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards.” 5. Richard H. Thaler, Quasi Rational Economics, p. 78. 6. Smith, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments.” In “Adam Smith, Behavioral Economist”, Carnegie Mellon University, www.cmu.edu/dietrich/sds/docs/loewenstein/AdamSmith.pdf. 7. Personal communication. 8. Ibid. 9. Michael E. Lara, “The New Science of Emotion: From Neurotransmittersto Neural Networks,” SlideShare, http://www.slideshare.net/mlaramd/science-of-emotion-from-neurotransmitters-to-social-networks. 10.

Alas, intertemporal choices are also among our most fraught. Time and again, we get them wrong, opting to enjoy an immediate reward (or to defer an immediate cost), even when we know, with utter clarity, that any short-term pleasure will be dwarfed by long-term pain. Human history is littered with the carnage of bad intertemporal choices. Why are intertemporal decisions so difficult? In 1980 an economist at Cornell University named Richard Thaler came up with an explanation. The only rational way to understand our intertemporal irrationality, Thaler argued, was to imagine the human mind not as a single decision-making entity, but as a fractious joint venture between “two semiautonomous selves.” One of these selves Thaler dubbed the “myopic Doer,” concerned only with fast, efficient gratification. The other was a farsighted “Planner,” tasked with managing, or trying to manage, the Doer.

Subtler efforts, drawing on behavioral science to help us compensate for our obsolete neural wiring, show some promise. Walter Mischel, the researcher behind the famous “marshmallow study” from the 1970s, has developed effective strategies to train impatient children to be patient—an important success, given that impatient children have a high likelihood of growing up to be impatient adults.14 There are other potentially fruitful ventures, such as what Richard Thaler (of the two-self model) and coauthor Cass Sunstein call “choice architecture.” The term refers to carefully designed technologies, infrastructure, and other pieces of the built environment that subtly “nudge” us to act with more patience and long-term thought. An example: smartphone apps that automatically track our daily expenses and warn us when we’re exceeding our budget. But such efforts are swimming upstream against a current of world-historic proportions.


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Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

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air freight, Al Roth, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, endowment effect, financial innovation, fudge factor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, invisible hand, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, market bubble, Murray Gell-Mann, payday loans, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Thaler, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Skype, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair

James Heyman, Yesim Orhun, and Dan Ariely, “Auction Fever: The Effect of Opponents and Quasi-Endowment on Product Valuations,” Journal of Interactive Marketing (2004). RELATED READINGS Richard Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (1980). Jack Knetsch, “The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves,” American Economic Review, Vol. 79 (1989), 1277–1284. Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem,” Journal of Political Economy (1990). Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5 (1991), 193–206. Chapter 8: Keeping Doors Open BASED ON Jiwoong Shin and Dan Ariely, “Keeping Doors Open: The Effect of Unavailability on Incentives to Keep Options Viable,” Management Science (2004).

It’s Unconscious Bias,” Harvard Business Review (2002). Maurice Schweitzer and Chris Hsee, “Stretching the Truth: Elastic Justification and Motivated Communication of Uncertain Information,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty (2002). Chapter 13: Beer and Free Lunches BASED ON Dan Ariely and Jonathan Levav, “Sequential Choice in Group Settings: Taking the Road Less Traveled and Less Enjoyed,” Journal of Consumer Research (2000). Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi, “Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings,” Journal of Political Economy (2004). RELATED READINGS Eric J. Johnson and Daniel Goldstein, “Do Defaults Save Lives?” Science, (2003). Searchable Terms Note: Entries in this index, carried over verbatim from the print edition of this title, are unlikely to correspond to the pagination of any given e-book reader.


pages: 1,088 words: 228,743

Expected Returns: An Investor's Guide to Harvesting Market Rewards by Antti Ilmanen

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Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, backtesting, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, commodity trading advisor, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, debt deflation, deglobalization, delta neutral, demand response, discounted cash flows, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, dividend-yielding stocks, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, framing effect, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, Google Earth, high net worth, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, incomplete markets, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market friction, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, merger arbitrage, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Journalism, oil shock, p-value, passive investing, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, savings glut, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic volatility, systematic trading, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, volatility arbitrage, volatility smile, working-age population, Y2K, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Barberis, Nicholas; and Andrei Shleifer (2003), “Style investing,” Journal of Financial Economics 68, 161–199. Barberis, Nicholas; Andrei Shleifer; and Robert Vishny (1998), “A model of investor sentiment,” Journal of Financial Economics 49, 307–345. Barberis, Nicholas; Andrei Shleifer; and Jeffrey Wurgler (2005), “Comovement,” Journal of Financial Economics 75, 283–317. Barberis, Nicholas; and Richard H. Thaler (2003), “A survey of behavioral finance,” in Handbook of the Economics of Finance (G. Constantinides, R. Stulz, M. Harris, Eds.), Amsterdam: North Holland. Barro, Robert J. (1995), “Inflation and economic growth,” NBER working paper 5326. Barro, Robert J. (2006), “Rare disasters and asset markets in the twentieth century,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 121(3), 823–866. Barro, Robert J.; and José F.

Jiang (2008), “Separating up from down: New evidence on the idiosyncratic volatility-return relation,” working paper, available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/ abstract = 970875 Friedman, Milton (1953), “The case for flexible exchange rates,” in Essays in Positive Economics, University of Chicago Press. Friesen, Geoffrey; and Travis Sapp (2007), “Mutual fund flows and investor returns: An empirical examination of fund investor timing ability,” Journal of Banking & Finance 31, 2796–2816. Froot, Kenneth A. (1989), “New hope for the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates,” Journal of Finance 44, 283–305. Froot, Kenneth A.; and Richard H. Thaler (1990), “Anomalies: Foreign exchange,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 4(3), 179–192. Fu, Fangjian (2009), “Idiosyncratic risk and the cross-section of expected stock returns,” Journal of Financial Economics 91, 24–37. Fuertes, Ana; Joelle Miffre; and Giorgios Rallis (2010), “Tactical allocation in commodity futures markets: Combining momentum and term structure signals,” forthcoming in the Journal of Banking and Finance.

Jaeger, Lars (2008), Alternative Beta Strategies and Hedge Fund Replication, Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan; and Sheridan Titman (1993), “Returns to buying winners and selling losers: Implications for stock market efficiency,” Journal of Finance 48(1), 65–91. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan; and Sheridan Titman (2005), “Momentum: A review,” in Advances on Behavioral Finance, Volume II (Richard H. Thaler, Ed.), Russell Sage Foundation and Princeton University Press. Jensen, Gerald R.; and Theodore C. Moorman (2010), “Inter-temporal variation in the illiquidity premium,” forthcoming in the Journal of Financial Economics. Jung, Jeeman; and Robert J. Shiller (2005), “Samuelson’s dictum and the stock market,” Economic Inquiry 43(2), 221–228. Jurek, Jakub W. (2009), “Crash-neutral currency carry trades,” Princeton University working paper.


pages: 386 words: 122,595

Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Fully Revised and Updated) by Charles Wheelan

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Malacca Straits, market bubble, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, open economy, presumed consent, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, trickle-down economics, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Yogi Berra, young professional

Michael Cooper, “Transit Use Hit Five-Decade High in 2008 as Gas Prices Rose,” New York Times, March 9, 2009. 10. Fernando A. Wilson, Jim Stimpson, and Peter E. Hilsenrath, “Gasoline Prices and Their Relationship to Rising Motorcycle Fatalities, 1990–2007,” American Journal of Public Health, vol. 99, no. 10 (October 2009). 11. Jaime Sneider, “Good Propaganda, Bad Economics,” New York Times, May 16, 2000, p. A31. 12. Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2008). 13. Press release from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, October 9, 2002. 14. Jonathan Gruber, “Smoking’s ‘Internalities,’” Regulation, vol. 25, no. 4 (Winter 2002/2003). 15. Annamaria Lusardi, “The Importance of Financial Literacy,” NBER Reporter: Research Summary, no. 2 (2009). 16.

It also happens to be twice an average Vietnamese worker’s annual income.11 Indeed, sweatshops played an important role in the development of countries like South Korea and Taiwan, as we will explore in Chapter 12. Given that economics is built upon the assumption that humans act consistently in ways that make themselves better off, one might reasonably ask: Are we really that rational? Not always, it turns out. One of the fiercest assaults on the notion of “strict rationality” comes from a seemingly silly observation. Economist Richard Thaler hosted a dinner party years ago at which he served a bowl of cashews before the meal. He noticed that his guests were wolfing down the nuts at such a pace that they would likely spoil their appetite for dinner. So Thaler took the bowl of nuts away, at which point his guests thanked him.12 Believe it or not, this little vignette exposes a fault in the basic tenets of microeconomics: In theory, it should never be possible to make rational individuals better off by denying them some option.

As a practical matter, those mistakes often do spill over to affect the rest of us, as we saw in the real estate collapse and the accompanying mortgage mess. And there is a range of views in between (e.g., you’re allowed to sniff glue and roll down the steps but only while wearing a helmet). One intriguing and practical middle ground is the notion of “libertarian paternalism,” which was advanced in an influential book called Nudge by Richard Thaler, a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago, and Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law School professor now serving in the Obama administration. The idea behind benign paternalism is that individuals do make systematic errors of judgment, but society should not force you to change your behavior (that’s the libertarian part); instead, we should merely point you in the right direction (that’s the paternalism part).


pages: 350 words: 103,270

The Devil's Derivatives: The Untold Story of the Slick Traders and Hapless Regulators Who Almost Blew Up Wall Street . . . And Are Ready to Do It Again by Nicholas Dunbar

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asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, diversification, Edmond Halley, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, price mechanism, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, statistical model, The Chicago School, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, yield curve

See the remarks by Goldman’s then head of firmwide risk, Bob Litzenberger, in Nicholas Dunbar, Inventing Money: The Story of Long-Term Capital Management and the Legends Behind It (Chichester: Wiley, 2000), 203. 12. The BIS actually further liberalized the VAR-based capital rules in 1998, introducing a so-called specific risk amendment that a Federal Reserve official described in 2009 as “the kiss of death.” 13. For example, see the chapter on consumer credit in Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008). 14. The products are normally sold to intermediaries such as small banks or insurance companies before passing into the hands of the consumer. 15. An edited version of my interview with Sartori di Borgoricco was published in “The Key to Successful Client Solutions,” Risk, October 2004, 53. 16.

They were envisaged as gifted beings who could frame their beliefs about potential investments in the form of detailed probability distributions, including the correlations between investments. In a footnote to his paper, Markowitz said, “This paper does not consider the difficult question of how investors do (or should) form their probability beliefs.” Since then, analysts have typically assumed that beliefs are formed purely from historical statistics. 13. Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008). 14. Barclays issued an emerging market CDO structured by Usi’s group named RF Alts Finance in January 2000. 15. E-mail evidence presented at Banca Popolare di Intra and Barclays Bank PLC, transcript of High Court Hearing, February 9, 2010; and witness statement of Stefano Silocchi quoted in Barclays’ pre-trial argument to the High Court. 16.

Since this flavor of diversification protects against falls in prices, justifying it requires plenty of historical price data and deft use of statistics.12 Then there is a third type of diversification, the joker in the pack. Behavioral economists call it naive diversification, in part because it seems to be hardwired into the human psyche. Psychological experiments show that when people are not restricted to a single choice on a menu, they will spread their allocation across whatever is available. For example, in an experiment cited by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler in their book Nudge, children who are offered multiple brands of chocolate will almost always divide their picks so that they can taste all the chocolates rather than sticking with a single brand.13 In the same way, and with no more justification for doing so, investors who are offered a menu of different retirement funds blindly split their allocations across the menu, even when it is not in their interests to do so.


pages: 274 words: 93,758

Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Stanley B Resor Professor Of Economics Robert J Shiller

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equity premium, financial intermediation, full employment, George Akerlof, greed is good, income per capita, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, late fees, loss aversion, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, new economy, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, wage slave

“Breach of Trust in Hostile Takeovers.” In Corporate Takeovers: Causes and Consequences, edited by Alan J. Auerbach, pp. 33–68. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. Shleifer, Andrei, and Robert W. Vishny. “The Takeover Wave of the 1980s.” Science 249, no. 4970 (1990): 745–49. Sidel, Robin. “Credit Card Issuers Are Charging Higher.” Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2014. Siegel, Jeremy J., and Richard H. Thaler. “Anomalies: The Equity Premium Puzzle.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 11, no. 1 (Winter 1997): 191–200. Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. Mineola, NY: Dover Thrift Editions, 2001; originally published 1906. —. Letter to the New York Times. May 6, 1906. Singh, Gurkirpal. “Recent Considerations in Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Gastropathy.” American Journal of Medicine 105, no. 1, supp. 2 (July 27, 1998): 31S–38S.

Gary Smith, Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics. (New York: Duckworth Overlook, 2014). NOTES Akerlof.indb 245 245 6/19/15 10:24 AM 9. Jesse Kornbluth, Highly Confident: The Crime and Punishment of Michael Milken (New York: William Morrow, 1992), p. 45. 10. Hickman, Corporate Bond Quality and Investor Experience, p. 10. 11. Jeremy J. Siegel and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Equity Premium Puzzle,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 11, no. 1 (Winter 1997): 191. 12. United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation et al. v. Michael R. Milken et al. (1991), Southern District of New York (January 18), Amended Complaint Class Action, Civ. No. 91-0433 (MP), pp. 70–71. 13. See James B. Stewart, Den of Thieves (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), pp. 521–22; and Benjamin Stein, A License to Steal: The Untold Story of Michael Milken and the Conspiracy to Bilk the Nation (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992). 14.

Daniel Kahneman, yes that one, some twenty-five or thirty years ago, told us that the distinctive feature of psychology is that it views people as imperfect machines. The job of the psychologist, he said, was to figure ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Akerlof.indb 177 177 6/19/15 10:24 AM out how and when those machines would be dysfunctional. In contrast, the basic concept of economics is equilibrium. We think that this book brings together these observations. Richard Thaler, with whom Bob has been organizing behavioral economics workshops for twenty-five years, has also been an influence; he initially suggested more than twenty years ago that we two ought to work together. He was our matchmaker. We are hugely indebted to him. Mario Small and Michele Lamont cued us into thinking about how people’s decisions depend largely on the subconscious rather than the conscious.


pages: 345 words: 87,745

The Power of Passive Investing: More Wealth With Less Work by Richard A. Ferri

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asset allocation, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, endowment effect, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, implied volatility, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Sharpe ratio, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve

Cramer, “Cramer: Mutual Fund Advertising” April 2, 2008, www.abcnews.go.com. 7. Thierry Post, Martijn J. Van den Assem, Guido Baltussen, and Richard H. Thaler, “Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show,” American Economic Review 98, no. 1 (March 2008): 38–71. 8. Calmetta Coleman, “Beardstown Ladies Fess Up to Big Goof,” Wall Street Journal, Mar. 18, 1998, cl. 9. William N. Goetzmann and Nadav Peles, “Cognitive Dissonance and Mutual Fund Investors,” Journal of Financial Research 20, no. 2 (1997): 145–58. 10. John Maynard Keynes. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936; repr., Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1964), 148. 11. Richard H. Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 1, no. 1 (1980): 39–60. 12.

Most providers of fund databases have since fixed the survivorship biases by adding back the performance. bThe S&P Persistence Score Card is available at http://www.indexresearch.standardandpoors.com. CHAPTER 8 Active and Passive Asset Allocation People exaggerate their own skills. They are overoptimistic about their prospects and overconfident about their guesses, including which managers to pick. —Richard Thaler, University of Chicago It isn’t what we know that gives us trouble. It’s what we think we know that just ain’t so. —Will Rogers The second part of the active versus passive debate goes beyond mutual fund selection into the timing of purchases and sales. Asset allocation is how and when an investor diversifies among different types of investments in a portfolio. An investor following a tactical asset allocation strategy attempts to beat the market by changing asset class weights using market valuation forecasts or price trends.

The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good by Robert H. Frank

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carbon footprint, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, clean water, congestion charging, corporate governance, deliberate practice, full employment, income inequality, invisible hand, Plutocrats, plutocrats, positional goods, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, smart grid, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, winner-take-all economy

This claim merits qualification to the extent that it is relative speed among gazelles that determines which ones are caught and eaten. An old joke describes a camper who awoke to see his friend frantically putting on his running shoes as an angry bear approached their campsite. “Why bother?” he asked. “Don’t you know there’s no way you’ll be able to outrun that bear?” “I don’t have to outrun him,” the friend responded, “I just need to outrun you.” 5. Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007. 6. See, for example, Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd, Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. NOTES TO PAGES 24–31 219 7. See, for example, Richard Rorty, “The Brain as Hardware, Culture as Software,” Inquiry 47(3), 2004: 219–235. 8. The question of how such motives might have evolved in relentlessly competitive environments was the subject of my 1988 book, Passions within Reason: The Strategic Role of the Emotions, New York: W.

For present purposes, the important point is that traits favored because they confer advantage at the individual level are often disadvantageous to larger groups. 10. Burney J. Le Boeuf, “Male-Male Competition and Reproductive Success in Elephant Seals,” American Zoologist 14(1), 1974: 163–176. 11. Thomas C. Schelling, Micromotives and Macrobehavior, New York: W. W. Norton, 1978. 12. See, for example, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007. 13. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, State College, PA: Penn State University, 1998 (originally published in 1859). 14. Others have offered cogent objections to the principle. See, for example, Joel Feinberg, Harm to Others, New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. 15. See, for example, the statement of Congressman Dan Burton (R, IN): http:// burton.house.gov/issues/tax-reform.

For detailed discussions of Walmart’s labor practices, see Steven Greenhouse, The Big Squeeze, New York: Knopf, 2008; and in Nelson Lichtenstein, The Retail Revolution, New York: Metropolitan, 2009. 8. On this point see Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009. 9. For a more detailed account of this explanation, see chapter 8 of my 1985 book, Choosing the Right Pond: Human Behavior and the Quest for Status, New York: Oxford University Press. 10. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007, p. 251. 11. Thomas C. Schelling, Micromotives and Macrobehavior, New York: W. W. Norton, 1978. 12. Karl Marx, Capital, New York: Modern Library, 1936, pp. 708–709. 13. See, for example, the title essay in my 2004 book, What Price the Moral High Ground? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 14. Paul Samuelson, “A Note on the Pure Theory of Consumers’ Behaviour,” Economica 5, 1938: 61–71.


pages: 254 words: 72,929

The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy by Tyler Cowen

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Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, David Brooks, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Flynn Effect, framing effect, Google Earth, impulse control, informal economy, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, Naomi Klein, neurotypical, new economy, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind

FURTHER READING AND REFERENCES CHAPTER 1: THE FUTURE OF THINKING DIFFERENTLY On Mark Donohoo, see “One Man’s Story: When an Autistic Child Grows Up,” April 1, 2008, www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/04/01/autism.jeffs.story/index.html. For the story of Ethan, see Michael D. Powers and Janet Poland, Asperger Syndrome and Your Child: A Parent’s Guide (New York: Collins Living, 2003), chapter 2. To the best of my knowledge, the phrase “infovores” originates with USC professor Irving Biederman. For a good presentation of framing effects, see for instance Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). For the Steve Hofstetter quotation, see “Thinking Man: Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend,” November 14, 2005, www.collegehumor.com/article:1632255. On “Facebook-like” services for the very young, see Camille Sweeney, “Twittering from the Cradle,” The New York Times, September 11, 2008.

Whereas the Stoics sought to understand the psychology of the Roman Empire, exile, and the slave whip, and Smith studied the pin factory, I am looking at Facebook, Google, and the iPod. The later and more general movement of “behavioral economics” has brought psychology very directly into economics. In addition to all the formal research, behavioral economics is represented by such popular books as Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s Nudge, and Ori and Rom Brafman’s Sway. In the most general terms, behavioral economics suggests that human decision-making is often far from rational. For instance maybe we overestimate our prospects of success when we start a new business or maybe we are very bad at evaluating risks with very small probabilities. In the behavioral view we are ruled by emotions and often we use dysfunctional decision-making procedures and rules.


pages: 240 words: 65,363

Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Barry Marshall: ulcers, call centre, Cass Sunstein, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, food miles, Gary Taubes, income inequality, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, medical residency, microbiome, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, transatlantic slave trade, éminence grise

Krueger, What Makes a Terrorist (Princeton University Press, 2007); Claude Berrebi, “Evidence About the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism Among Palestinians,” Princeton University Industrial Relations Section working paper, 2003; and Krueger and Jita Maleckova, “Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 17, no. 4 (Fall 2003). / 172 Trying to keep a public men’s room clean?: See Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge (Yale University Press, 2008). / 172 “. . . We are also blind to our blindness”: See Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011, Farrar, Straus and Giroux). / 173 “It’s easier to jump out of a plane”: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, “20 Things Boys Can Do to Become Men,” Esquire.com, October 2013. 173 HOW MUCH DID THE ANTI-DRUG CAMPAIGN CUT DRUG USE?: See Robert Hornik, Lela Jacobsohn, Robert Orwin, Andrea Piesse, Graham Kalton, “Effects of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign on Youths,” American Journal of Public Health 98, no. 12 (December 2008). 174 SELF-DRIVING CARS: Among the many people who informed our thinking on the driverless-car future, we are especially indebted to Raj Rajkumar and his colleagues at Carnegie Mellon, who let us ride in their driverless vehicle and answered every question. / 175 Google has already driven its fleet of autonomous cars: See Angela Greiling Keane, “Google’s Self-Driving Cars Get Boost from U.S.

And so, based on their emotion or instinct, and perhaps a reaction to a bit of information gleaned long ago, people chose a position and stuck with it. When someone is heavily invested in his or her opinion, it is inevitably hard to change the person’s mind. So you might think it would be pretty easy to change the minds of people who haven’t thought very hard about an issue. But we’ve seen no evidence of this. Even on a topic that people don’t care much about, it can be hard to get their attention long enough to prompt a change. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, pioneers of the “nudge” movement, recognized this dilemma. Rather than try to persuade people of the worthiness of a goal—whether it’s conserving energy or eating better or saving more for retirement—it’s more productive to essentially trick people with subtle cues or new default settings. Trying to keep a public men’s room clean? Sure, go ahead and put up signs urging people to pee neatly—or, better, paint a housefly on the urinal and watch the male instinct for target practice take over.

Investment: A History by Norton Reamer, Jesse Downing

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, asset allocation, backtesting, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Brownian motion, buttonwood tree, California gold rush, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, colonial rule, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, fixed income, Gordon Gekko, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the telegraph, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, land tenure, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, margin call, means of production, Menlo Park, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Own Your Own Home, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sand Hill Road, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, statistical arbitrage, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, underbanked, Vanguard fund, working poor, yield curve

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk,” Econometrica 47, no. 2 (March 1979): 265–278. 47. Rajnish Mehra and Edward C. Prescott, “The Equity Premium: A Problem,” Journal of Monetary Economics 15, no. 2 (March 1985): 145–161. 48. Stephen J. Brown, William N. Goetzmann, and Stephen A. Ross, “Survival,” Journal of Finance 50, no. 3 (July 1995): 853–873. 49. Shlomo Benartzi and Richard H. Thaler, “Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 110, no. 1 (February 1995): 73–92. 50. Burton G. Malkiel, “The Efficient Market Hypothesis and Its Critics,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 17, no. 1 (Winter 2003): 61–62. 8. MORE NEW INVESTMENT FORMS 1. Towers Watson and Financial Times, “Global Alternatives Survey 2012,” last modified July 2012, http://www.towerswatson.com/en-US /Insights/IC-Types/Sur vey-Research-Results/2012/07/Global -Alternatives-Survey-2012, 7–8. 2.

Accessed 2014. http://www.barclayhedge.com/research/indices/ghs/mum/Hedge_Fund.html. Barth, Chris. “Warren Buffett: Clairvoyant or Crazy?” Forbes, June 12, 2012. http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisbarth/2012/06/12/warren-buffett -clairvoyant-or-crazy. Bartlett, Bruce. “How Deficit Hawks Could Derail the Recovery.” Forbes, January 8, 2010. http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/07/deficit-greatdepression-recovery-opinions-columnists-bruce-bartlett.html. Benartzi, Shlomo, and Richard H. Thaler. “Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 110, no. 1 (February 1995): 73–92. Benedict XIV (Pope). Vix Pervenit. [1745]. EWTN Global Catholic Network. http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/B14VIXPE.htm. Benhamou, Michael. “Betting Against the Street.” MarketWatch, June 9, 2005. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/taking-advantage-of-convertible-arbs. Berger, Adolf, Barry Nicholas, and Susan M.

There were some who suggested that it was merely survivorship bias that explained this phenomenon; that is, there were stocks that went bankrupt or otherwise delisted and so this high premium was not real after all.48 Others suggested that there were frictions unaccounted for, such as transaction costs. The behavioral economists mounted a different set of explanations. One of the most cited and well-regarded explanations, put forth by Shlomo Benartzi and Richard Thaler in 1995, is “myopic loss aversion,” a notion that borrows heavily from the concepts developed in prospect theory, including the fact that individuals tend to exhibit loss aversion and that they care about changes in wealth more keenly than about absolute levels of wealth. Investors who frequently look at the value of their equity portfolio—say, on a daily or weekly basis when the market behaves randomly over these short time frames, moving up and down—will thus experience more disutility on average, given that they derive greater pain from losses than pleasure from the same magnitude of gains.


pages: 829 words: 186,976

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-But Some Don't by Nate Silver

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airport security, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Freestyle chess, fudge factor, George Akerlof, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pets.com, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, security theater, short selling, Skype, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons

Marko Kolanovic, Davide Silvestrini, Tony SK Lee, and Michiro Naito, “Rise of Cross-Asset Correlations,” Global Equity Derivatives and Delta One Strategy, J.P. Morgan, May 16, 2011. http://www.cboe.com/Institutional/JPMCrossAssetCorrelations.pdf. 77. Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Winner’s Curse,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2, no. 1 (1998), pp. 191–202. http://econ.ucdenver.edu/Beckman/Econ%204001/thaler-winner’s%20curse.pdf. 78. Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), pp. 261–262. 79. Odean, “Do Investors Trade Too Much?” 80. Owen A. Lamont and Richard H. Thaler, “Can the Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-outs,” Journal of Political Economy, 111, 2 (2003), pp. 227–268. http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/john.cochrane/teaching/Empirical_Asset_Pricing/lamont%20and%20thaler%20add%20and%20subtract%20jpe.pdf. 81.

Moreover, since the investor loaning you the stocks knows that you may have to dig into your savings to pay her back, she will charge you a steep interest rate for the privilege. Bubbles can take months or years to deflate. As John Maynard Keynes said, “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” The Price Isn’t Right At other times, investors may not have the opportunity to short stocks at all. One somewhat infamous example, documented by the University of Chicago economists Richard Thaler and Owen Lamont,80 is when the company 3Com spun off shares of its mobile phone subsidiary Palm into a separate stock offering. 3Com kept most of Palm’s shares for itself, however, so a trader could also invest in Palm simply by buying 3Com stock. In particular, 3Com stockholders were guaranteed to receive three shares in Palm for every two shares in 3Com that they held. This seemed to imply Palm shares could trade at an absolute maximum of two-thirds the value of 3Com shares.

Thank you to my bosses and colleagues at the New York Times, especially Megan Liberman, Jim Roberts, David Leonhardt, Lisa Tozzi, Gerry Mullany, Rick Berke, Dick Stevenson, Derek Willis, Matt Ericson, Greg Veis, and Hugo Lindgren, who trusted me to manage the demands of the book production cycle along with those of the news cycle. Thank you to Bill Keller, Gerry Marzorati, and Jill Abramson for bringing me into the New York Times family. Thank you to John Sides, Andrew Gelman, Tom Schaller, Ed Kilgore, Renard Sexton, Brian McCabe, Hale Stewart, and Sean Quinn for their contributions to the FiveThirtyEight blog. Thank you to Richard Thaler and Anil Kashyap, of the University of Chicago, for reviewing the chapters related to economics and finance. Thank you to David Carr, Kathy Gauldin, and Page Ashley for reminding me of the importance of finishing the book, and to Will Repko for helping to instill that work ethic that might get it there. Thank you to Gary Huckabay, Brandon Adams, Rafe Furst, Kevin Goldstein, Keith Urbahn, Matthew Vogel, Rachel Hauser, Jennifer Bloch, Thom Shanker, Kyu-Young Lee, and Mark Goldstein for serving as connectors and facilitators at key points along the way.


pages: 695 words: 194,693

Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible by William N. Goetzmann

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, compound rate of return, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, delayed gratification, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invention of the steam engine, invention of writing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stochastic process, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, time value of money, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, wage slave

“British investment overseas 1870–1913: A modern portfolio theory approach.” Review of Finance 10(2): 261–300. 3. Klapper, Leora, Víctor Sulla, and Dimitri Vittas. 2004. “The development of mutual funds around the world.” Emerging Markets Review 5(1): 1–38. 4. Bhattacharya, Utpal, and Neal Galpin. 2011. “The global rise of the value-weighted portfolio.” Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 46(3): 737. 5. Benartzi, Shlomo, and Richard H. Thaler. 2001. “Naive diversification strategies in defined contribution saving plans.” American Economic Review 91(1): 79–98 6. Thaler, Richard H. and Cass R. Sustein. 2008. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness. New Haven: Yale University Press. BIBLIOGRAPHY Aeschylus. 1926. Aeschylus, with an English Translation by Herbert Weir Smyth, vol. 1: Persians. Cambridge, MA.

Publicans and Sinners: Private Enterprise in the Service of the Roman Republic. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Bailey, Paul. 2013. Strengthen the Country and Enrich the People: The Reform Writings of Ma Jianzhong. London: Routledge. Banner, Stuart. 1998. Anglo-American Securities Regulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Barnish, S.J.B. 1985. “The wealth of Julius Argentarius.” Byzantion 55: 5–38. Benartzi, Shlomo, and Richard H. Thaler. 2001. “Naive diversification strategies in defined contribution saving plans.” American Economic Review (Evanston) 91(1): 79–98. Bernoulli, Jacob, and Edith Dudley Sylla. 2006. The Art of Conjecturing, Together with Letter to a Friend on Sets in Court Tennis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Bernstein, Peter L. 1998. Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

The institutionalization of savings, beginning with the emergence of state-owned pension funds and now sovereign funds, drives a wedge between savers and financial markets. DELEGATED DECIDING The good thing about institutionalizing investment is that it saves people from themselves. We know that most investors think they are good at stock selection, but they are not. We know that indexing is the smart thing to do for the vast majority of investors, but human nature stands in the way of rational choice. Richard Thaler, professor at the University of Chicago, is one of the leading lights of behavioral finance. He and Shlomo Benartzi of the University of California in Los Angeles did a study of investor decisions about pension fund options.5 They found a disappointing pattern. People seemed not to understand the difference between stocks and bonds. They tended to divide their portfolio equally across the choices presented in their 401(k) plans, regardless of whether there were more bond funds or stock funds.


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

James Heyman, Yesim Orhun, and Dan Ariely, “Auction Fever: The Effect of Opponents and Quasi-Endowment on Product Valuations,” Journal of Interactive Marketing (2004). RELATED READINGS Richard Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (1980). Jack Knetsch, “The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves,” American Economic Review, Vol. 79 (1989), 1277–1284. Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem,” Journal of Political Economy (1990). Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5 (1991), 193–206. Chapter 9: Keeping Doors Open BASED ON Jiwoong Shin and Dan Ariely, “Keeping Doors Open: The Effect of Unavailability on Incentives to Keep Options Viable,” Management Science (2004).

Leone, “Psychological Implications of Customer Participation in Co-Production,” Journal of Marketing 67, no. 1 (2003): 14–28. Ziv Carmon and Dan Ariely, “Focusing on the Forgone: How Value Can Appear So Different to Buyers and Sellers,” Journal of Consumer Research 27, no. 3 (2000): 360–370. Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5, no. 1 (1991): 193–206. Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem,” The Journal of Political Economy 98, no. 6 (1990): 1325–1348. Jack Knetsch, “The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves,” The American Economic Review 79, no. 5 (1989): 1277–1284. Justin Kruger, Derrick Wirtz, Leaf Van Boven, and T.

It’s Unconscious Bias,” Harvard Business Review (2002). Maurice Schweitzer and Chris Hsee, “Stretching the Truth: Elastic Justification and Motivated Communication of Uncertain Information,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty (2002). Chapter 15: Beer and Free Lunches BASED ON Dan Ariely and Jonathan Levav, “Sequential Choice in Group Settings: Taking the Road Less Traveled and Less Enjoyed,” Journal of Consumer Research (2000). Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi, “Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings,” Journal of Political Economy (2004). RELATED READINGS Eric J. Johnson and Daniel Goldstein, “Do Defaults Save Lives?” Science, (2003). Praise for Predictably Irrational “This is a wonderful, eye-opening book. Deep, readable, and providing refreshing evidence that there are domains and situations in which material incentives work in unexpected ways.


pages: 370 words: 112,602

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, Cass Sunstein, charter city, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, congestion charging, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, experimental subject, hiring and firing, land tenure, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, microcredit, moral hazard, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, urban planning

Clemens, “Herd Immunity Conferred by Killed Oral Cholera Vaccines in Bangladesh: A Reanalysis,” Lancet 366 (2005): 44–49. 37 The psychological research has found its way in economics thanks to researchers such as Dick Thaler from the University of Chicago, George Lowenstein from Carnegie-Mellon, Matthew Rabin from Berkeley, David Laibson from Harvard, and others, whose work we cite here. 38 Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New York: Penguin, 2008). 39 See a comparative cost-effectiveness analysis on the Web site of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, available at http://www.povertyactionlab.org/policy-lessons/health/child-diarrhea. 40 Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Rachel Glennerster, “Is Decentralized Iron Fortification a Feasible Option to Fight Anemia Among the Poorest?”

Fines or incentives can push individuals to take some action that they themselves consider desirable but perpetually postpone taking. More generally, time inconsistency is a strong argument for making it as easy as possible for people to do the “right” thing, while, perhaps, leaving them the freedom to opt out. In their best-selling book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, an economist and a law scholar from the University of Chicago, recommend a number of interventions to do just this.38 An important idea is that of default option: The government (or a well-meaning NGO) should make the option that it thinks is the best for most people the default choice, so that people will need to actively move away from it if they want to. So people have the right to choose what they want, but there is a small cost of doing so, and as a result, most people end up choosing the default option.


pages: 351 words: 100,791

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford

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airport security, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, digital Maoism, Google Glasses, hive mind, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, large denomination, new economy, new new economy, online collectivism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

There are, then, three time scales that matter for the question of how we come to be what we are: Darwinian evolution, the history of a civilization, and the life course of an individual. This is perhaps obvious, once stated. But it puts limits, which would seem to be fatal, on the explanatory power of evolutionary psychology—that is, on the attempt to explain human behavior as the product of adaptive pressures we faced on the savannahs in the Pleistocene epoch. 5. Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). 6. And, who knows, maybe this is to be preferred. The Protestant is a somewhat cramped human type. One might prefer to spend the evening with someone nudged into saving money (enough so he can pay for the meal), but who doesn’t have the deeply internalized ethic of thrift, which easily shades into miserliness. 7.

We give undue weight to the most recent events when trying to grasp a larger pattern and predict the future. In general, we are terrible at estimating probabilities. We are not so much rational optimizers as creatures who rely on biases and crude heuristics for making important decisions. In Nudge, Cass Sunstein, the former head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs under President Obama, and the economist Richard Thaler argue for a mode of social engineering that takes account of these psychological facts.5 For starters, we’re a lot lazier than the rational optimizer view would have it. That is, to make everything a matter for reflection and explicit evaluation goes against the grain of how human beings normally operate. So, for example, if one wants to increase the savings rate, it makes a great deal of difference whether employers set the default so that employees have to opt in to a 401(k) plan if they want it, or instead they have to opt out if they don’t.


pages: 387 words: 120,155

Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference by David Halpern

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, availability heuristic, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cognitive dissonance, collaborative consumption, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, happiness index / gross national happiness, hindsight bias, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, libertarian paternalism, market design, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, nudge unit, peer-to-peer lending, pension reform, presumed consent, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Simon Kuznets, skunkworks, the built environment, theory of mind, traffic fines, World Values Survey

Still, in spite of these difficulties, much has been learned about specific policy ideas and, just as importantly, how to create an organisation that can investigate the use of behavioural insights to solve real world problems. This first-hand account should be of interest to anyone curious about finding new ways to solve problems in any domain, from the public sector to the private sector to our own lives. As you read the pages that follow, my only request is the one that I write every time someone asks me to sign a copy of Nudge. ‘Nudge for good.’ Please. Richard Thaler, July 2015 PREFACE IT IS TWENTY months into the new government, elected in 2010. The Cabinet Secretary, Britain’s most senior civil servant, has gathered together the heads of the government departments. Between them, they are responsible for the collection and spending of more than half a trillion pounds and employ more than five million public sector workers. There are too many to fit comfortably around the table of the Cabinet Secretary’s wood-panelled room.

Similarly, it is not difficult to conclude that our brains weren’t made for the day-to-day financial judgements that are the foundation of modern economies: from mortgages, to pensions, to the best buy in a supermarket. Yet classic economic and regulatory models are themselves based on mental shortcuts, or naive models of humanity that do not ring true. They’re like ill-fitting suits, because the model on which they are based is a simplistic mental mannequin. In their book Nudge, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein describe these simplified creatures as ‘econs’. These econs consider and weigh up all the options, coolly and accurately, like the Vulcan Mr Spock from Star Trek, or the legendary Deep Blue that finally defeated the great chess champion Garry Kasparov (or at least how people think it ‘thought’). In contrast, ‘humans’ can’t consider 200 million options a second, and our thinking and decisions are fused with emotion.

A ‘nudge’ is essentially a means of encouraging or guiding behaviour, but without mandating or instructing, and ideally without the need for heavy financial incentives or sanctions. We know what it means in everyday life: it’s a gentle hint; a suggestion; a conspicuous glance at a heap of clothes that we’re hoping our kids or our partner might clear away. It stands in marked contrast to an obligation; a strict requirement; or the use of force. For Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, originators of the term ‘nudge’, a key element is that it avoids shutting down choices, unlike a law or formal requirement. But, as we shall see, a ‘nudge’ is a subset of a wider, more empirical and behaviourally focused approach to policymaking. Consider how a law actually works. A parliament or executive passes a resolution that says that henceforth there will be a new requirement on people or businesses to do something in a particular way (or not to do something).


pages: 295 words: 66,824

A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market by John Allen Paulos

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Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, business climate, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Elliott wave, endowment effect, Erdős number, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, four colour theorem, George Gilder, global village, greed is good, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, mental accounting, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, passive investing, Paul Erdős, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, Ralph Nelson Elliott, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, six sigma, Stephen Hawking, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra

“Uncertainty,” he would say, “is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” 1 Anticipating Others’ Anticipations It was early 2000, the market was booming, and my investments in various index funds were doing well but not generating much excitement. Why investments should generate excitement is another issue, but it seemed that many people were genuinely enjoying the active management of their portfolios. So when I received a small and totally unexpected chunk of money, I placed it into what Richard Thaler, a behavioral economist I’ll return to later, calls a separate mental account. I considered it, in effect, “mad money.” Nothing distinguished the money from other assets of mine except this private designation, but being so classified made my modest windfall more vulnerable to whim. In this case it entrained a series of ill-fated investment decisions that, even now, are excruciating to recall.

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman are the founders of this relatively new field of study, many of whose early results are reported upon in the classic book Judgment Under Uncertainty , edited by them and Paul Slovic. (Kahneman was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics, and Tversky almost certainly would have shared it had he not died.) Others who have contributed to the field include Thomas Gilovich, Robin Dawes, J. L. Knetschin, and Baruch Fischhoff. Economist Richard Thaler (mentioned in the first chapter) is one of the leaders in applying these emerging insights to economics and finance, and his book The Winner’s Curse, as well as Gilovich’s How We Know What Isn’t So, are very useful compendiums of recent results. What makes these results particularly intriguing is the way they illuminate the tactics used, whether consciously or not, by people in everyday life.

Outside of business, loss aversion plays a role as well. It’s something of a truism that the attempt to cover up a scandal often leads to a much worse scandal. Although most people know this, attempts to cover up are still common, presumably because, here too, people are much more willing to take risks to avoid losses than they are to obtain gains. Another chink in our cognitive apparatus is Richard Thaler’s notion of “mental accounts,” mentioned in the last chapter. “The Legend of the Man in the Green Bathrobe” illustrates this notion compellingly. It is a rather long shaggy dog story, but the gist is that a newlywed on his honeymoon in Las Vegas wakes up in bed and sees a $5 chip left on the dresser. Unable to sleep, he goes down to the casino (in his green bathrobe, of course), bets on a particular number on the roulette wheel, and wins.


pages: 545 words: 137,789

How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities by John Cassidy

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, asset allocation, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, centralized clearinghouse, collateralized debt obligation, Columbine, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, diversification, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, full employment, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income per capita, incomplete markets, index fund, invisible hand, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, mental accounting, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Network effects, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, paradox of thrift, Ponzi scheme, price discrimination, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, unorthodox policies, value at risk, Vanguard fund

.”: Tversky and Kahneman, “Judgement under Uncertainty,” 1126. 197 Likelihood of getting killed in a terrorist attack: See N. Wilson and G. Thomson, “Deaths from International Terrorism Compared with Road Crash Deaths in OECD Countries,” Injury Prevention 11 (2005): 332–33. 197 “Payoffs for accuracy . . .”: Tversky and Kahneman, “Judgment under Uncertainty,” 1128. 198 Thaler’s mental shortcuts: See Richard H. Thaler, Winner’s Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992). 198 “inspired a new generation . . .”: Nobel Prize press release, October 9, 2002, available at http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economics/laureates/2002/press.html. 199 “[T]he average individual bidder/manager . . .”: Richard Roll, “The Hubris Hypothesis of Corporate Takeovers,” part 1, Journal of Business 59, no. 2 (1986): 199–200. 199 “Disaster Myopia in International Banking”: Described in James M.

Experiments suggest that once a person gets “anchored” on a certain number, or argument, he may well try to cling to it by mistakenly interpreting any evidence that is presented to him as supportive, even if it is actually contradictory. (In the literature, this is known as the “confirmation bias.”) In the aftermath of the latest Columbine-style mass shooting, supporters of gun control invariably say, “I told you so,” but so do supporters of maintaining an armed citizenry. In 1977–1978, Kahneman and Tversky spent the academic year at Stanford, where they became friends and collaborators with Richard Thaler, a young economist who had done his Ph.D. at Rochester, a bastion of mathematical orthodoxy. During his graduate training, Thaler had developed a list of anecdotes that seemed to contradict the theory he’d been taught, such as people’s reluctance to part with minor possessions—mugs, pens, those sorts of things—and their tendency to divide their expenditures into separate mental accounts (one for leisure, another for rent, and so on).


pages: 336 words: 113,519

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

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Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, endowment effect, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, John von Neumann, loss aversion, medical residency, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, Nate Silver, New Journalism, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, statistical model, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

The argument that Danny and Amos started would spill over into law and public policy. Psychology would use economics to enter these places and others. Richard Thaler—the first frustrated economist to stumble onto Danny and Amos’s work and pursue its consequences for economics single-mindedly—would help to create a new field, and give it the name “behavioral economics.” “Prospect Theory,” scarcely cited in the first decade after its publication, would become, by 2010, the second most cited paper in all of economics. “People tried to ignore it,” said Thaler. “Old economists never change their minds.” By 2016 every tenth paper published in economics would have a behavioral angle to it, which is to say it had at least a whisper of the work of Danny and Amos. And Richard Thaler would have just stepped down from his tenure as president of the American Economic Association.

But whatever it is in the human psyche that the Oakland A’s exploited for profit—this hunger for an expert who knows things with certainty, even when certainty is not possible—has a talent for hanging around. It’s like a movie monster that’s meant to have been killed but is somehow always alive for the final act. And so, once the dust had settled on the responses to my book, one of them remained more alive and relevant than the others: a review by a pair of academics, then both at the University of Chicago—an economist named Richard Thaler and a law professor named Cass Sunstein. Thaler and Sunstein’s piece, which appeared on August 31, 2003, in the New Republic, managed to be at once both generous and damning. The reviewers agreed that it was interesting that any market for professional athletes might be so screwed-up that a poor team like the Oakland A’s could beat most rich teams simply by exploiting the inefficiencies. But—they went on to say—the author of Moneyball did not seem to realize the deeper reason for the inefficiencies in the market for baseball players: They sprang directly from the inner workings of the human mind.

“Somehow, the economists felt that we are right and at the same time they wished we weren’t because the replacement of utility theory by the model we outlined would cause them no end of problems.” * * * There was at least one economist who didn’t feel that way, but he wasn’t, at least when he came upon Danny and Amos’s theory, anyone’s idea of a future Nobel Prize winner. His name was Richard Thaler. In 1975, Thaler was a thirty-year-old assistant professor in the School of Management at the University of Rochester with vague prospects. It was a wonder he was even there. He had two deeply pronounced traits that rendered him unsuited not just to economics but to academic life. The first was that he was easily bored, and highly imaginative in his attempts to escape boredom. As a child he routinely changed the rules of the games he was expected to play.


pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

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airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K

more lopsided Daniel Kahneman, John L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler (1986), “Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics,” Journal of Business, 59:S285–S300. Christoph Engel (2011), “Dictator Games: A Meta Study,” Experimental Economics, 14:584–610. Trust game Joyce Berg, John Dickhaut, and Kevin McCabe (1995), “Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History,” Games & Economic Behavior, 10:122–42. not what happens Colin Cramer (2003), Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction, Russell Sage Foundation. Public Goods game John O. Ledyard (1995), “Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research,” in Alvin E. Roth and John H. Kagel, eds., Handbook of Experimental Economics, Princeton University Press. fear of rejection Daniel Kahneman, John L. Knetsch, and Richard H Thaler (1986), “Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics,” Journal of Business, 59:S285–S300.

Richerson, and Robert Boyd (1995), “Can Group Functional Behaviors Evolve by Cultural Group Selection?” Current Anthropology, 36:473–94. Chapter 4 Robert Sapolsky Robert Sapolsky (2003), “A Bozo of a Baboon: A Talk with Robert Sapolsky,” Edge. Matt Ridley Matt Ridley (1993), The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, HarperCollins Publishers, 9–10. hyperbolic discounting Richard H. Thaler (1981), “Some Empirical Evidence on Dynamic Inconsistency,” Economics Letters, 8:201–7. Shane Frederick, George Loewenstein, and Ted O'Donoghue (2002), “Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review,” Journal of Economic Literature, 40:351–401. Francis Fukuyama Francis Fukuyama (1995), Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity, Simon & Schuster, 27–8. James Madison James Madison (1788), The Federalist, 51.

game is about taking Nicholas Bardsley (2008), “Dictator Game Giving: Altruism or Artifact?” Experimental Economics, 11:122–33. Distrust game Iris Bohnet and Stephan Meier (2005), “Deciding to Distrust,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Public Policy Discussion Paper 05–4. half of the money Ernst Fehr and Klaus M. Schmidt (1999), “A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 114:817–68. Daniel Kahneman, John L. Knetsch, and Richard H Thaler (1986), “Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics,” Journal of Business, 59:S285–S300. who are skeptical Ilan Dinstein, Cibu Thomas, Marlene Behrmann, and David J. Heeger (2008), “A Mirror Up to Nature,” Current Biology, 18:R13–8. Kaspar Meyer and Antonio Damasio (2008), “Mirror Neurons: Behind the Looking Glass,” Nature, 454:167–8. Gregory Hickok (2009), “Eight Problems for the Mirror Neuron Theory of Action Understanding in Monkeys and Humans,” Cognitive Neurosciences, 21:1229–43.


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The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

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AltaVista, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, experimental economics, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Howard Rheingold, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, interchangeable parts, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, lone genius, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market design, moral hazard, new economy, offshore financial centre, Picturephone, prediction markets, profit maximization, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Yogi Berra

It turns out that if people have to take action to opt out of a retirement plan rather than having to take action to opt in, they are significantly more likely to stay in the plan and therefore significantly more likely to save. Inertia is a powerful tool. Similarly, if people are offered the chance to set aside part of their future income, they’re far more likely to do so than they are to set aside current income. So, the economists Richard H. Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi set up a retirement plan at a company where workers could adopt different savings rates for present and future income. Not surprisingly, the workers adopted much higher rates for income that was months in the future, and within a short time, they had doubled their average savings rate. What makes these solutions so powerful is that instead of imposing top-down requirements or mandates, they try to harness people’s preferences in a productive way by offering them more options and by shifting the frames through which people see their own financial lives.

Sauer, “Fundamentals or Noise? Evidence from the Professional Basketball Betting Market,” Journal of Finance 48 (1993): 1193–209. Evidence for the NFL market’s late-season inefficiency can be found in Richard Borghesi, “Price Predictability: Insight from the NFL Point-Spread Market” (2003), www.cba.ufl.edu/fire/phdstudents/papers/borghesi%20price%20predictability.pdf. The long-shot bias is documented in Richard H. Thaler and William T. Ziemba, “Parimutuel Betting Markets: Racetracks and Lotteries,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 2 (1988): 161–74. Lawrence Page, Sergey Brin, Rajeev Motwani, and Terry Winograd, “The PageRank Citation Ranking: Bringing Order to the Web” (1998), http://dbpubs.stanford.edu/pub/1999-66. See also Brin and Page, “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine” (1998), http://www-db.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html.

And a mountain of evidence and intelligent analysis is marshaled in support of the proposition that investor psychology matters in Kent Daniel, David Hirshleifer, and Siew Hong Teoh, “Investor Psychology in Capital Markets: Evidence and Policy Implications,” Journal of Monetary Economics 49 (2002): 139–209. Karim Jamal and Shyam Sunder, “Bayesian Equilibrium in Double Auctions Populated by Biased Heuristic Traders,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 31 (1996): 273–91. See also Richard H. Thaler, “The End of Behavioral Finance,” Financial Analysts’ Journal (November–December 1999): 12–17; and Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky, Judgement Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982), which is the jumping-off point for much of the work in behavioral finance. See George Akerlof’s Nobel lecture, “Behavioral Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Behavior” (December 8, 2001), for a discussion of people’s problems saving.


pages: 190 words: 53,409

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H. Frank

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, attribution theory, availability heuristic, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, experimental subject, framing effect, full employment, hindsight bias, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, income inequality, invisible hand, labor-force participation, labour mobility, lake wobegon effect, loss aversion, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, side project, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, ultimatum game, Vincenzo Peruggia: Mona Lisa, winner-take-all economy

Chris McKittrick, “Bryan Cranston: ‘Without Luck You Will Not Have a Successful Career,’ ” Daily Actor, October 31, 2012, http://www.dailyactor.com/tv/bryan-cranston-acting-luck/. CHAPTER 5: WHY FALSE BELIEFS ABOUT LUCK AND TALENT PERSIST 1. Michael Mauboussin, The Success Equation, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2012. 2. Much of this research is elegantly summarized in Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow, New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2011. For an extremely readable account of how this work became important to economists, see Richard H. Thaler, Misbehaving, New York: W. W. Norton, 2015. 3. P. Cross, “Not Can but Will College Teachers Be Improved?,” New Directions for Higher Education 17 (1977): 1–15. 4. Ezra W. Zuckerman and John T. Jost, “What Makes You Think You’re So Popular? Self Evaluation Maintenance and the Subjective Side of the ‘Friendship Paradox,’ ” Social Psychology Quarterly 64.3 (2001): 207–23. 5. College Board, Student Descriptive Questionnaire, Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 1976–77. 6.

Chunliang Feng, Yi Luo, Ruolei Gu, Lucas S Broster, Xueyi Shen, Tengxiang Tian, Yue-Jia Luo, Frank Krueger, “The Flexible Fairness: Equality, Earned Entitlement, and Self-Interest,” PLOS ONE 8.9 (September 2013), http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0073106. 7. Mechanical Turk, https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome. 8. John Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government, 1689, chap. 5, section 27, http://www.constitution.org/jl/2ndtr05.htm. 9. Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5.1 (1991): 193–206. 10. Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel, The Myth of Ownership, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. 11. David DeSteno, Monica Y. Bartlett, Jolie Baumann, Lisa A. Williams, and Leah Dickens, “Gratitude as Moral Sentiment: Emotion-Guided Cooperation in Economic Exchange,” Emotion 10.2 (2010): 289–93. 12.


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A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, capital asset pricing model, compound rate of return, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, feminist movement, financial innovation, fixed income, framing effect, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, index fund, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market bubble, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, publish or perish, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, zero-coupon bond

But if the problem is framed differently, so that one must actively “opt out” of the savings plan, participation rates will be much greater. Corporations that frame their 401(k) savings plans with an automatic enrollment feature (where a conscious decision must be made to fill out an “opt out” declaration) have far higher participation rates than do plans where employees must actively “opt in” to the plan. Another brilliant enticement has been developed by the economists Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi. Some employees will decline to save even with plans that have automatic enrollment because they can barely make ends meet with their current salary. The essence of the Thaler-Benartzi “Save More Tomorrow” plan is to have employees commit in advance to allocate a portion of any salary increases toward retirement savings. If employees join the plan, their contribution to their retirement savings plan is increased, beginning with the first paycheck after a raise.

The work of the behavioralists has been buttressed by a large number of statistical studies that confirmed several predictable patterns of stock prices. Indeed, the new mantra in the academic community is that the stock market is at least partially predictable. One of the brightest of the new wave of financial economists, Andrew Lo (with A. Craig MacKinlay) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published a book in the late 1990s entitled A Non-Random Walk Down Wall Street. And behavioralists such as Richard Thaler have suggested that some predictable patterns can be used by savvy investors to implement successful investment strategies that can beat the market. That’s what this chapter is about: the attempts to show that the market, as demonstrated above, is not efficient and that there is no such thing as a profitable random walk through it. I will review all the recent research proclaiming the demise of the efficient-market theory and purporting to show that market prices are, in fact, predictable.

Indeed, the January Effect became undependable after it received considerable publicity. As one wag put it, “The January Effect sometimes occurs on the previous Thanksgiving week.” Similarly, suppose there is a general tendency for stock prices to underreact to certain new events, leading to abnormal returns to investors who exploit the lack of full immediate adjustment—a finding publicized by the behavioralists Werner De Bondt and Richard Thaler and the researchers John Campbell, Andrew M. Lo, and A. Craig MacKinlay. “Quantitative” investment managers will then develop strategies in an attempt to exploit the pattern. Indeed, the more potentially profitable a discoverable pattern is, the less likely it is to survive. Moreover, many of these predictable patterns may simply be the results of data mining. The ease of experimenting with financial data makes it quite likely that investigators will find some seemingly significant, but wholly spurious, correlation between financial variables or among financial and nonfinancial data sets.

The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy by Seth Mnookin

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, illegal immigration, index card, Isaac Newton, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mouse model, neurotypical, pattern recognition, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Sec’y of Health and Human Services, 39–42, 252–53. 196 “I looked out at an audience”: Jane Johnson, interview with author, May 4, 2009. 196 “This is the federal government giving every kid”: Jane Johnson, interview with author, April 22, 2010. 196 “You wouldn’t be saying and doing”: Vicky Debold, interview with author, July 28, 2009. 196 a concept that was first articulated in a 1999 paper: Timur Kuran and Cass R. Sunstein, “Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation,” Stanford Law Review 1999;51(4): 683–768. 196 “self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation”: Kuran and Sunstein, “Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation,” 683. 197 In the 2008 book Nudge: Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, Nudge (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). 197 “As all women”: Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, “Easy Does It: How to Make Lazy People Do the Right Thing,” The New Republic, April 9, 2008; available as “The Amsterdam Urinals” on Nudge, http://nudges.wordpress.com/the-amsterdam-urinals/. See also: Sunstein and Thaler, Nudge, 3–4. 197 how nonscientists viewed scientific claims: Ralph M. Barnes, Audrey L. Alberstadt, and Lesleh E. Keilholtz, “How to Think About Scientific Claims: A Study of How Non-Scientists Evaluate Science Claims,” Skeptic, January 1, 2009;14(4): 48–55. 197 “poor source credibility”: B.

One e-mail, which The New York Times obtained through an open-records request, read, “I’d like to know how you people sleep straight in bed at night knowing all the lies you tell & the lives you know full well you destroy with the poisons you push & protect with your lies.” Several weeks later, the agency received an e-mail with an even more overt threat. “Forgiveness is between [the committee’s members] and God,” it read. “It is my job to arrange a meeting.” 46 Not all of Sunstein’s writing on behavioral law and economics is so academic. In the 2008 book Nudge, Sunstein and Richard Thaler write about external changes—nudges—that can influence human behavior. One of their examples stems from efforts to get men to stop peeing on the floor: “As all women who have ever shared a toilet with a man can attest, men can be especially spacey when it comes to their, er, aim. In the privacy of a home, that may be a mere annoyance. But, in a busy airport restroom used by throngs of travelers each day, the unpleasant effects of bad aim can add up rather quickly.

Smith, Rebecca. “Dishonest, Callous and Irresponsible: Verdict on Doctor in MMR Row; Wakefield Didn’t Care About Children’s Pain and Distress, Says GMC.” The Daily Telegraph (London), January 29, 2010, 7. Solovitch, Sara. “The Citizen Scientists.” Wired, September 2001. Stevens, William. “Despite Vaccine, Perilous Measles Won’t Go Away.” The New York Times, March 14, 1989, C1. Sunstein, Cass, and Richard Thaler. “Easy Does It: How to Make Lazy People Do the Right Thing.” The New Republic, April 9, 2008. Szabo, Liz. “Missed Vaccines Weaken ‘Herd Immunity’ in Children.” USA Today, January 6, 2010. Thompson, Tanya. “Doctor at Centre of MMR Controversy ‘Paid Children at Son’s Party GBP 5 for Blood Samples’: Supporters Gather Outside Hearing to Accuse GMC of ‘Witch Hunt.’ ” The Scotsman (Edinburgh), July 17, 2007, 6.


pages: 384 words: 118,572

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time by Maria Konnikova

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attribution theory, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, epigenetics, hindsight bias, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, Milgram experiment, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, side project, Skype, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, tulip mania, Walter Mischel

In the choice of food, effects like these may seem minor. But the order effect—what Russo was demonstrating—is but one of the many elements of decision architecture—how information is presented to us—that can get us to make decisions in a very precise way, and not necessarily in a way that corresponds to our stated preferences. There’s the positive side of decision architecture, the nudge, popularized by behavioral economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein in their 2008 book by the same name. The idea behind the nudge, in its positive guise, is a simple one. In many cases, our choices aren’t based on some innate preference. Instead, they are constructed at any given moment by a combination of situational factors. I may not have thought about drinking wine with dinner, for instance, but if the wine list is right in front of me, I may find myself ordering a glass all the same.

Eighty-five percent of students put themselves above the average in their ability to get along with others—a full quarter going so far as to place themselves in the top 1 percent. In 1977, a full 95 percent of the faculty of the University of Nebraska thought they were better than average at teaching; over two thirds placed themselves in the top quarter. In a survey that behavioral economist Richard Thaler performed on his own students, he found that less than 5 percent of the class expected to do below average, and over half thought they would be among the top fifth of performers. And, of course, almost all of us are better-than-average drivers, far more skillful and less risky than the next guy. In one study, researchers asked drivers who had been hospitalized after a car accident—which over two thirds of them had caused—to rate their driving skills.

Look at the geological reports, the warning letters. Construction should have been ended. Ann Freedman should have realized, if not immediately, then at least once the paintings just kept coming, that something wasn’t right. Because the flags. They are there. They are waving. And people aren’t blind, right? Except they absolutely are. And the more they have invested, the blinder they become. In the early 1980s, Paul Slovic and Richard Thaler were discussing the crazy things people do as they make decisions to buy and sell, invest and divest, in ways that seem completely illogical to an outside observer. Why, for instance, would a family drive sixty miles through a snowstorm to get to a basketball game they don’t even particularly want to see? Well, Teton Dam, Slovic offered. Teton Dam was the perfect case in point. The family had spent money on those tickets.


pages: 250 words: 88,762

The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World by Tim Harford

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, colonial rule, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, European colonialism, experimental economics, experimental subject, George Akerlof, income per capita, invention of the telephone, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, law of one price, Martin Wolf, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, women in the workforce

Kalyanaraman, “Mixing Virtue and Vice: Combining the Immediacy Effect and the Diversification Heuristic,” Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 12 (1999): 257–73, personal.lse.ac.uk/readd/ mixing%20virtue%20and%20vice.pdf. One of the researchers: e-mail correspondence with Daniel Read, June 2007. “one of those ladies”: Interview with Thomas Schelling, November 2005. That public commitment: Dodge, The Strategist, p. 91. A more sophisticated example: Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi, “Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving,” Journal of Political Economy 112, no. 1(February 2004): 164–87, part 2, gsbwww.uchicago.edu/fac/richard.thaler/research/ SMarTJPE.pdf. (Whom did the director): Interview with Thomas Schelling, November 2005. Also Dodge, The Strategist, p. 83. Paul Klemperer: Paul Klemperer, “What Really Matters in Auction Design,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 16 (2002): 169–89, www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/users/klemperer/wrm6.pdf.

Why else do people try to quit smoking on January 1 rather than on February 24? An addict, like a negotiator, may be able to gain an advantage by making binding decisions in advance. An everyday example is the dieter who shops for food over the Internet, and only after a good meal, so that he is not tempted by the sight of cakes and chips. A more sophisticated example, designed by economists Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi, is a financial scheme called “Save More Tomorrow,” in which corporate employees boost their pensions by earmarking a proportion of future pay raises to go into their retirement accounts. The idea has nearly quadrupled retirement savings. In both cases, the forward-thinking person outwits the impatient or weak-willed person who inhabits the same body. Schelling wryly observed that it is not always easy to tell whose side you should be on.


pages: 281 words: 95,852

The Googlization of Everything: by Siva Vaidhyanathan

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1960s counterculture, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, borderless world, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cloud computing, computer age, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full text search, global village, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, pirate software, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, single-payer health, Skype, social web, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Thorstein Veblen, urban decay, web application

There is no formula for assessing it: I can’t give Google three of my privacy points in exchange 88 TH E G OOGL IZATION OF US for 10 percent better service. More seriously, Mayer and Google fail to acknowledge the power of default settings in a regime ostensibly based on choice. T H E IRR EL EVANC E O F C H O I C E In their 2007 book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, the economist Richard Thaler and law professor Cass Sunstein describe a concept they call “choice architecture.” Plainly put, the structure and order of the choices offered to us profoundly influence the decisions we make. So, for instance, the arrangement of foods in a school cafeteria can influence children to eat better. The positions of restrooms and break rooms can influence the creativity and communality of office staff.

Barry Schwartz, “First Google Image Result for Michelle Obama Pure Racist,” Search Engine Round Table, November 13, 2009, www.seroundtable.com/ archives/021162.html; David Colker, “Google Won’t Exclude Distorted Michelle Obama Image from Its Site,” Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2009; Judit BarIlan, “Web Links and Search Engine Ranking: The Case of Google and the Query ‘Jew’,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57, no. 12 (2006): 1581. 8. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). 9. Levy, “Secret of Googlenomics.” 10. Randall E. Stross, Planet Google: One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know (New York: Free Press, 2008), 109–28. 11. Cecillia Kang, “AT&T Accuses Google of Violating Telecom Laws; Google Rejects Claims,” Post I.T., blog, September 25, 2009; Amy Schatz, “AT&T Asks for Curbs on Google,” WSJ.com, September 26, 2009; John Markoff and Matt Richtel, “F.C.C.

“Privacy Policy: Google Privacy Center,” Google.com, www.google.com/ privacypolicy.html, accessed March 11, 2009. 5. Paul Ohm, “Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization,” SSRN eLibrary, August 13, 2009, http://papers.ssrn .com. 6. “Privacy Policy,” Google.com. March 11, 2009. 7. Arshad Mohammed, “Google Refuses Demand for Search Information,” Washington Post, January 20, 2006. 8. Charlie Rose Show, 2009, available at http://video.google.com. 9. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008), 109. 10. Ibid., 3. 11. Google Search Privacy: Plain and Simple, 2007, www.youtube.com. 12. Louise Story and Brad Stone, “Facebook Retreats on On-Line Tracking,” New York Times, November 30, 2007. 13. Warren St. John, “When Information Becomes T.M.I.,” New York Times, September 10, 2006. 236 NOTES TO PAGES 92– 97 14.


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Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by Raghuram Rajan

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, business climate, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, diversification, Edward Glaeser, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, Martin Wolf, medical malpractice, microcredit, moral hazard, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, price stability, profit motive, Real Time Gross Settlement, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, The Great Moderation, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

Rather than falling short for sure, they preferred to move into longer-term riskier bonds, such as mortgage-backed securities, that paid higher interest rates. In addition, as long-term interest rates fell and the value of stocks, bonds, and housing rose, households felt wealthier and may have felt the confidence to take more risks. Some of these choices may have been irrational. As my colleague Richard Thaler has argued, when gamblers win money, they take more risks, because they treat their earlier winnings as “house” money—not their own—and therefore less important if lost. Whatever the reason, with investors more willing to take risks, the risk premium on all manner of assets came down. One effect of the search for yield was that money moved out of the United States into other countries, especially into the high-yielding bonds, stocks, and government securities in developing countries.

It was an illusion even before the current crisis—after all, you have to live somewhere, so if the value of the home you live in is rising, you really do not have extra disposable wealth—and it became even more illusory as house prices collapsed and borrowers were left staring at a mountain of debt. Americans need to save more, and the government should be far less eager to encourage them to spend. Savings rates are increasing as households dig themselves out of this crisis. A number of interesting ideas have been proposed to encourage savings and are worth exploring. For instance, my colleague Richard Thaler at the University of Chicago has suggested innovative ways by which households can be nudged into saving more. In his “Save More Tomorrow” plan, devised with Shlomo Benartzi, workers sign an agreement with their employer and their financial services provider that they will place some portion of future salary raises into savings plans. The idea is that when they commit to doing so, the extra amount saved does not shrink their budget and requires no sacrifice of current consumption.

However, some reasonable portion of their savings should be independent of the health of their firms. 33 See, for instance, Robert Shiller, The New Financial Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 118–19. 34 The next few paragraphs draw on my previous book with Luigi Zingales, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004). 35 Shlomo Benartzi and Richard Thaler, “Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings,” unpublished manuscript, University of Chicago. Chapter Ten. The Fable of the Bees Replayed 1 Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees (1714) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957). 2 Ibid. 3 Yashwant Sinha, speech at World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, January 2001. 4 Jeffry Frieden, “Global Imbalances, National Rebalancing, and the Political Economy of Recovery,” working paper, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, 2009. 5 Ibid. 6 “Leaders’ Statement: The Pittsburgh Summit,” Pittsburgh Summit, www.pittsburgh summit.gov/mediacenter/129639.htm, September 25, 2009. 7 M.


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Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe by Greg Ip

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Air France Flight 447, air freight, airport security, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital controls, central bank independence, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double helix, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, global supply chain, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, union organizing, Unsafe at Any Speed, value at risk

So this is a fair bet; a risk-neutral individual should be just as happy with $500 in an envelope as a chance to flip a coin and earn $1,000 if it comes up heads. But in fact most people wouldn’t take that bet; they’ll take the envelope over the coin flip. So how much do we have to make the coin flip worth before they take it over the envelope? We have to offer $2,000 for flipping heads, so that the expected value is $2,000 × 50 percent = $1,000, which is twice the expected value of the envelope. 11 The economist Richard Thaler: Richard Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization l (1980): 3960. 12 George Loewenstein, an economist: Loewenstein described his work to me in several interviews. This experiment appears in the article by Leaf Van Boven, George Loewenstein, Edward Welch, and David Dunning, “The Illusion of Courage in Self-Predictions: Mispredicting One’s Own Behavior in Embarrassing Situations,” Journal of Behavioral Decision Making 25 (2012): 1–12. 13 Gorton took a circuitous route: Gary Gorton’s story is based on a series of interviews I conducted with him, on his extensive articles, and his book Misunderstanding Financial Crises: Why We Don’t See Them Coming (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), a powerful and persuasive account of what causes financial panics. 14 When Gorton and two: Gary B.

The economist’s answer is the theory of diminishing utility, a fancy way of saying that each dollar of income provides less pleasure than the last. Going from middle class to rich is nice but going from middle class to destitute is horrible, and most of us would give up the first rather than risk the second. But even when our family’s welfare isn’t at stake, there’s an emotional cost associated with the unknown that affects our behavior. The economist Richard Thaler ran a series of experiments like the following. Coffee mugs were randomly distributed to half the students in a class, then all students were invited to trade so that those who value the mugs the most could buy them from those who valued them the least. On average, students demanded twice as much to sell what they already had as they would pay for something they did not yet have. Thaler dubbed this “the endowment effect”: people put greater value on something when they own it than when they don’t.


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The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely

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Burning Man, business process, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, second-price auction, software as a service, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, young professional

Leone, “Psychological Implications of Customer Participation in Co-Production,” Journal of Marketing 67, no. 1 (2003): 14–28. Ziv Carmon and Dan Ariely, “Focusing on the Forgone: How Value Can Appear So Different to Buyers and Sellers,” Journal of Consumer Research 27, no. 3 (2000): 360–370. Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5, no. 1 (1991): 193–206. Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem,” The Journal of Political Economy 98, no. 6 (1990): 1325–1348. Jack Knetsch, “The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves,” The American Economic Review 79, no. 5 (1989): 1277–1284. Justin Kruger, Derrick Wirtz, Leaf Van Boven, and T.

Chapter 11: Lessons from Our Irrationalities: Why We Need to Test Everything Additional readings Colin Camerer and Robin Hogarth, “The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework,” Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 19, no. 1 (1999): 7–42. Robert Slonim and Alvin Roth, “Learning in High Stakes Ultimatum Games: An Experiment in the Slovak Republic,” Econometrica 66, no. 3 (1998): 569–596. Richard Thaler, “Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 1, no. 1 (1980): 39–60. Index The pagination of this electronic edition does not match the edition from which it was created. To locate a specific passage, please use the search feature of your e-book reader. A Accessory Transit Company, 154 acknowledging workers, 74–76, 80 acronyms, 120 adaptation, 157–90 assortative mating and, 191–212; see also assortative mating focusing attention on changes and, 159–60 hedonic, 160–84; see also hedonic adaptation nineteenth-century experiments on, 157–58 to pain, 160–67 physical, 157–60, 161n sensory perception and, 158–60 Aesop, 198–99 agriculture, obesity and technological developments in, 8 AIDS, 250, 251 airlines, customer service problems of, 142–43 alienation of labor, 79–80 American Cancer Society (ACS), 241–42, 249–50, 254 Andrade, Eduardo, 262, 265, 267–68, 299 anger, acting on, 257 author��s anecdote of, 258–61 driving and, 261 ultimatum game and, 268, 269–70, 273, 274, 276 animals: empathy for suffering of, 249 generalizing about human behavior from studies on, 63 working for food preferred by, 59–63 annoying experiences: breaking up, 177–79, 180 decisions far into future affected by, 262–64 annuities, 234 anterior insula, 266–67 anticipatory anxiety, 45 Anzio, Italy, battle of (1944), 167 apathy toward large tragedies, 238–39 drop-in-the-bucket effect and, 244–45, 252, 254–55 statistical condition and, 238–41, 242, 246, 247–49, 252–53 apologies, 149–51 for medical errors, 152 Apple, 120n battery replacement issue and, 141–42 art, homemade, 89–90 Asian tsunami, 250, 251 assembly line, 78–79 assortative mating, 191–212 altering aesthetic perception and (sour grapes theory), 198–99, 200, 201, 203 author’s injuries and, 191–96, 210–11 dinner party game and, 198 failure to adapt and, 200–201, 203–5 gender differences and, 209, 211 HOT or NOT study and, 201–5, 208, 211 reconsidering rank of attributes and, 199–200, 201, 205–10 speed-dating experiment and, 205–10 Atchison, Shane, 140–41, 146 attachment: to one’s own ideas, see Not-Invented-Here (NIH) bias to self-made goods, see IKEA effect attractiveness, assortative mating and, 191–212 see also assortative mating auctions, first-price vs. second-price, 98–99 Audi customer service, author’s experience with, 131–36, 137, 149, 153–54 experimental situation analogous to, 135–39 fictional case study for Harvard Business Review based on, 147–49 B bailout, public outrage felt in response to, 128–31 baking mixes, instant, 85–87 bankers: author’s presentation of research findings to, 107–9, 121 bonus experiments and, 38–41, 51 Frank’s address to, 41 public outrage in response to bailout and, 128–31 bankruptcy, 129, 130 Barkan, Racheli, 39, 109–10, 299 basketball, clutch players in, 39–41 beauty: assortative mating and, 196–212; see also assortative mating general agreement on standard of, 203 Becker-DeGroot-Marschak procedure, 91 Beecher, Henry, 167 behavioral economics: goal of, 9–10 human rationality not assumed in, 6–7 revenge as metaphor for, 124n Betty Crocker, 87 Bible, Gideon’s conversation with God in, 288–89 blindness, adaptation to, 172–74 blogging, 65 Blunder (Shore), 117 boiling-frog experiment, 157–58 bonuses, 17–52 bank executives’ responses to research on, 37–39 clutch abilities and, 39–41 for cognitive vs. mechanical tasks, 33–36, 40–41 creativity improvements and, 47–48 experiments testing effectiveness of, 21–36, 44–46 Frank’s remarks on, 41 intuitions about, 36–37 inverse-U relationship between performance and, 20–21, 47 loss aversion and, 32–33 optimizing efficacy of, 51–52 public rage over, 21 rational economists’ view of, 36–37 social pressure and, 44–46 surgery situation and, 48–49 viewed as standard part of compensation, 33 in wake of financial meltdown of 2008, 131 brain: judgments about experiences and, 228–29 punishment and, 126 breaks, in pleasant vs. painful experiences, 177–81 Brickman, Philip, 170 business, experimental approach to, 292–93 C cake mixes, instant, 85–87 California, moving to, 176 Call, Josep, 127 cancer, American Cancer Society fundraising and, 241–42, 249–50, 254 canoeing, romantic relationships and, 278–79 cars, 215–16 designing one’s own, 88, 89 division of labor in manufacture of, 78–79 in early days of automotive industry, 94 hedonic treadmill and, 175 see also driving cell phones, 7 in experiments on customer revenge, 135–39, 145–46, 150–51 see also texting CEOs, very high salaries and bonuses paid to, 21 Chance, Zoë, 220, 300 changes: ability to focus attention on, 159–60 decisions about life’s path and, 287 in future, foreseeing adaptation to, 160, 171–74 status quo bias and, 285, 286 in workers’ pay, job satisfaction and, 169–70 charities: American Cancer Society (ACS), 241–42, 249–50, 254 calculating vs. emotional priming and, 246–48 emotional appeals and, 240–42, 248–50, 253–54, 256 identifiable victim effect and, 239–42, 248, 256 charities (cont.)


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Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Branko Milanovic, Cass Sunstein, clean water, experimental economics, illegal immigration, Martin Wolf, microcredit, Peter Singer: altruism, pre–internet, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, Thomas Malthus, ultimatum game, union organizing

In seven countries with “opt out” systems, the lowest proportion of potential donors is 85.9 percent.8 Just as we tend to leave unchanged the factory settings on a computer, so other kinds of “defaults” can make a big difference to our behavior—and, in the case of organ donations, save thousands of lives. There is a new wave of interest in exploring how to frame choices so that people make better decisions. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, professors of economics and law, respectively, teamed up to write Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, which advocates using defaults to nudge us to make better choices.9 Even when we are choosing in our own interests, we often choose unwisely. When employees have the option of participating in a retirement-savings scheme, many do not, despite the financial advantages of doing so.

Charles Isherwood, “The Graffiti of the Philanthropic Class,” The New York Times, December 2, 2007. 6. www.boldergiving.org. 7. Plan International, “Sponsor a Child: Frequently Asked Questions,” www.plan-international.org/sponsorshipform/sponsorfaq/, accessed January 16, 2008. 8. Eric Johnson and Daniel Goldstein, “Do Defaults Save Lives?” Science 302 (November 2003), pp. 1338-39. I owe this reference to Eldar Shafir, whose comments on this topic were very helpful. 9. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008). 10. Brigitte Madrian and Dennis Shea, “The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116:4 (2001), pp. 1149-87. 11. Louise Story, “A Big Salary With a Big Stipulation: Share It,” The New York Times, November 12, 2007. 12.


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The Self-Made Billionaire Effect: How Extreme Producers Create Massive Value by John Sviokla, Mitch Cohen

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Cass Sunstein, Colonization of Mars, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Elon Musk, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, global supply chain, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, paper trading, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, smart meter, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, young professional

Setbacks such as those experienced by Mark Cuban, who had to rebuild his first major business, MicroSolutions, after a secretary defrauded the company of its entire cash flow. Setbacks at the level experienced by the oil-and-gas magnate T. Boone Pickens, who was ousted from the business he’d spent decades building, Mesa Petroleum, in a scenario similar to that faced by the now-iconic Steve Jobs when he was removed from Apple. The economists Richard Thaler and Eric Johnson have studied individuals who have suffered investment losses or business failures, and posit that the experience causes them to view future opportunities through a different, more pessimistic lens than they would otherwise. In the context of this chapter, past failure makes most people less able to take a relative view.7 There are few things more anxiety provoking than the prospect of making a bad call that will cost you your job or your business.

See Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, “Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk,” Econometrica 47, no. 2 (March 1979): 263–91. For a more approachable treatment, see Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), in which Kahneman revisits that work with thirty years of perspective and corroborating experiments. 6. Quote published at www.womenofchina.cn/html/womenofchina/report/123585-1.htm, accessed February 3, 2014. 7. Richard Thaler and Eric Johnson, “Gambling with the House Money and Trying to Break Even: The Effects of Prior Outcomes on Risky Choice,” Management Science (June 1990): 643–60. 8. Osnos, “Wastepaper Queen.” 9. For more on Yan Cheung, see ibid. Will Hutton, “Thanks to Mao, Zhang Yin’s a Billionaire,” Observer, October 14, 2006; David Barboza, “Blazing a Paper Train in China,” New York Times, January 16, 2007; and an interview conducted by CNN’s Talk Asia on June 3, 2007, http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/06/03/talkasia.cheungyan/index.html?


pages: 296 words: 82,501

Stuffocation by James Wallman

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3D printing, Airbnb, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big-box store, Black Swan, BRICs, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, clean water, collaborative consumption, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, Fall of the Berlin Wall, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, James Hargreaves, Joseph Schumpeter, Martin Wolf, McMansion, means of production, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, post-industrial society, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, Thorstein Veblen, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, World Values Survey, Zipcar

Thank you for that, and also, among other things: for your suggestions of more avenues to explore, for challenging and inspiring me over lunch and email and phone and Skype, for responding to far more fact-checking emails than strictly necessary, for patiently explaining how you do what you do, and for pushing me to re-examine whether I believed in what I believe – and whether I really was reading the data right. So, thank you: Richard Thaler, Oliver James, Barry Schwartz, Stuart Ewen, Robert Fogel, Chris Goodall, Michael Schrage, Ron Inglehart, Ryan Howell, Jeanne Arnold, Darby Saxbe, Travis Carter, Leaf van Boven, Tom Gilovich, Brian Wansink, Geoffrey Miller, Danny Miller, Rupert Pennant-Rea, Garson O’Toole, Daniel Franklin, John Andrews, Rob Hyndman, Corinne Shefner-Rogers, Jim Dearing, Juliet Schor, Anna Coote, Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt, Pippa Norris, Trudi Toyne, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Avner Offer, Peter Stearns, Joe Pine, Jim Gilmore, Grant McCracken, Blake Mycoskie, Rob Symington, Alice Marwick, Harry Parr, Sam Bompas, Jules Evans, Bob Cummins, Bernice Steinhardt, Chris Hoenig, Mark Tungate, Ann Mack, Albert Cañigueral, Anna-Maren Ashford, James O’Shaughnessy, Joe Goodman, Alastair Humphreys, Richard Layard, Tim Kasser, Vicki Robin, Gabriel Rossman, Janice Rutherford, and Eve Fisher.

In summer, the temperatures are balmy too. They are not in winter. On average, 305 inches of snow falls.” Source: Taos Ski Valley Chamber of Commerce. “The way to make sense of this is, as behavioural psychologists have showed time and again, that people do not necessarily behave in a rational, logical way.” To understand this, read Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York: Penguin, 2011), and Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge (New York: Penguin, 2008). For the best visualization of how the two parts of the brain work together, read about the elephant and its rider in Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science (London: Arrow, 2007). Not Simple, but Simpler Living To read a more complete account of how LeVally and Harris came down from the mountain, and struggled with that decision, read www.cagefreefamily.com.


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Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our WorldÑFor the Better by Andrew Palmer

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, income inequality, index fund, Innovator's Dilemma, interest rate swap, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, Northern Rock, obamacare, payday loans, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, transaction costs, Tunguska event, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, Vanguard fund, web application

This experiment and others convinced the researchers that like humans, monkeys weigh losses more than gains. Monkeys have not yet evolved far enough to invent pensions, but if they did, the Save More Tomorrow program would help. Because take-home pay does not go down when contributions go up, there is no perceived loss of earnings and people are much happier to keep saving. The first application of the program, which was developed by two behavioralists named Shlomo Benartzi and Richard Thaler, prompted employees at a manufacturer to increase their contribution rates from 3.5 percent to 13.6 percent of salary in only three and a half years. The option is now offered by more than half of the large companies in the United States.19 With these encouraging examples to build from, a mini industry devoted to behavioral prompts and nudges is springing up. Academics and institutions are busily conducting experiments that tease out the effects of subliminal cues on savings.

., “The Impact of Employer Matching on Savings Plan Participation Under Automatic Enrolment” (NBER Working Paper 13352, August 2007). 17. Anne Tergesen, “401(k) Law Suppresses Saving for Retirement,” Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2011. 18. M. Keith Chen, Venkat Lakshminarayanan, and Laurie Santos, “How Basic Are Behavioural Biases? Evidence from Capuchin Monkey Trading Behaviour,” Journal of Political Economy (2006). 19. Shlomo Bernartzi and Richard Thaler, “Behavioural Economics and the Retirement Savings Crisis,” Science (March 8, 2013). 20. James Choi et al., “Small Cues Change Savings Choices” (NBER Working Paper 17843, February 2012). 21. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahnemann, “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases,” Science (September 1974). 22. “Reverse Mortgages: Report to Congress” (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, June 2012). 23.

The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk by William J. Bernstein

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asset allocation, backtesting, capital asset pricing model, computer age, correlation coefficient, diversification, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, index arbitrage, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, p-value, passive investing, prediction markets, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, South Sea Bubble, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

That a recent survey of over 66,000 accounts at a large West Coast discount brokerage showed an average annual portfolio turnover of 75%? That Odds and Ends 131 only 7% of mutual fund investments are indexed? That the historically modest market declines of 1987, 1990, and 1997, far from resulting in inflows from legions of long-termers buying cheap, produced dramatic mutual fund outflows? Most authoritatively of all, in an elegant study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1993 Shlomo Benzarti and Richard Thaler calculated that the risk horizon of the average investor was just one year. The easiest way of thinking about the interplay of short- and longterm risk is to imagine a new kind of 30-year Treasury bond, similar to the conventional bond, except that the government stands ready at all times to redeem it at par (face value). Clearly, the redeemable bond would carry a considerably higher price and lower yield because it is immunized against the shock of a short-term increase in rates.

In fact, many academicians refer to this as “the equity riskpremium puzzle”—why stocks have been allowed to remain so cheap that their returns so greatly and consistently exceed that of other assets. The answer is that our primordial instincts, a useless relic of millions of years of evolutionary history, cause us to feel more pain when we suddenly lose 30% of our liquid net worth than the more damaging possibility of failing to meet our long-term financial goals. How bad is the problem? I’ve already mentioned the immensely clever article by Shlomo Benzarti and Richard Thaler (one of behavioral finance’s brightest stars) which examined the interaction of the risk premium and investor preference. They estimated that the risk horizon of the average investor, was about one year. Myopic indeed. Socrates told us that the unexamined life is not worth living. For the modern investor, failure of self-examination can be as damaging to the pocketbook as to the soul. Summary 1.


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Walk Away by Douglas E. French

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Elliott wave, forensic accounting, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, loss aversion, McMansion, mental accounting, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, New Journalism, Own Your Own Home, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, the market place, transaction costs, unbiased observer

The work of these behavioral economists helps shed light on why some homeowners who are underwater keep paying. They believe the benefits of staying and consuming (if you will) the house outweigh the amount of the payment. But when the hole becomes too deep the increasing numbers of borrowers begin to feel like they are paying for nothing. They don’t feel the benefit of increasing equity, but only the pain of making the monthly payment. Economist Richard Thaler has found that people are irrationally regret averse. In an experiment where respondents had the choice of being a person who wins $100 in one scenario or a person who wins $150, but was just short of winning $1,000 in another, most people said that they would rather win the $100 and not have to deal with the regret of just missing the $1,000 windfall. “People tend to experience losses even more acutely when they feel responsible for the decision that led to the loss; this sense of responsibility leads to regret,” explains Hersh Shefrin in Beyond Greed and Fear: Understanding Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing.


pages: 407 words: 114,478

The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio by William J. Bernstein

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asset allocation, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buy low sell high, carried interest, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edmond Halley, equity premium, estate planning, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, German hyperinflation, high net worth, hindsight bias, Hyman Minsky, index fund, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, mortgage debt, new economy, pattern recognition, quantitative easing, railway mania, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, South Sea Bubble, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve

A well-known rule among scientists is that each successive mathematical formula cuts a book’s popular readership in half; I’ve done my best to keep the math simple and the graphs as spare as possible. Now, almost a decade later, this title is in its seventeenth printing; so I suppose I’ve succeeded. Special thanks go to those who have provided encouragement and help along the way, including Cliff Asness, John C. Bogle Sr., Scott Burns, Edward Chancellor, Mark Gochnour, Christian Oelke, John Rekenthaler, Bill Schultheis, Larry Swedroe, Robert Sidelsky, Richard Thaler, Mike Veseth, and Jason Zweig. I’ll never understand what motivated Catherine Dassopoulos and Jeffrey Krames of McGraw-Hill to take an interest in an obscure electronic file by an unknown scribbler floating around in cyberspace, but their editorial and publishing support has been a constant source of delight and satisfaction. Thanks are also given to Stephen Isaacs, who shepherded this work through each step of the production process.

Benjamin Graham Dick Thaler Misses a Basketball Game The major premise of economics is that investors are rational and will always behave in their own self-interest. There’s only one problem. It isn’t true. Investors, like everyone else, are most often the hapless captives of human nature. As Benjamin Graham said, we are our own worst enemies. But until very recently, financial economists ignored the financial havoc wreaked by human beings on themselves. Thirty years ago, a young finance academic by the name of Richard Thaler and a friend were contemplating driving across Rochester, New York, in a blinding snowstorm to see a basketball game. They wisely elected not to. His companion remarked, “But if we had bought the tickets already, we’d go.” To which Thaler replied, “True—and interesting.” Interesting because according to economic theory, whether or not the tickets have already been purchased should not influence the decision to brave a snowstorm to see a ball game.

In fact, many academicians refer to this as “The Equity Premium Puzzle”—why investors allowed stocks to remain so cheap that their returns so greatly and consistently exceeded that of other assets. The answer is that our primordial instincts, a relic of millions of years of evolution, cause us to feel more pain when we suddenly lose 30% of our liquid net worth than when we face the more damaging possibility of failing to meet our long-term financial goals. How bad is the problem? Richard Thaler, in an immensely clever bit of research, examined the interaction of the risk premium and investor preference. He estimated the risk horizon of the average investor to be about one year. Myopic indeed! Trees Don’t Grow to the Sky One of the most dangerous of all investment illusions is the great company/great stock fallacy. During the Nifty Fifty market of the early 1970s and the more recent mania over Internet and tech stocks, the importance of earnings growth was overemphasized.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Washington Consensus, working poor, éminence grise

This goes against orthodox economics, which suggests that CEO pay is determined by market forces, so if it is high, that must reflect the need to incentivise effort and reward the contribution that is being made. Fairness, trust and power relationships are disregarded. But economics is beginning to change as the weight of evidence about real-life behaviour challenges its woeful abstractions. Process and fairness do matter, and they need to be incorporated into economists’ thinking about market behaviour. For example, Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, along with psychologists Richard Thaler and Jack Knetsch, has developed the thesis that people hold an idea about what they consider to be a fair price or wage.37 This is usually determined by prices and wages that have prevailed in the past – what the authors call ‘reference prices’ – and it governs their conduct in markets. People consider themselves to be entitled to reference prices, and firms to reference profits. A price that has stood the test of time is likely to be a fair price; it is familiar and has become part of our psychological landscape.

, Independent, 20 August 2009, at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/streets-ahead-does-john-lewis-offer-a-revolutionary-way-forward-for-big-business-1774510.html. 35 Both points come from Lehki and Blaug (2009) ‘Ownership and Good Work’. 36 Lucian Bebchuk, Martijn Cremers and Urs Peyer (2009) ‘The CEO Pay Slice’, mimeo, at http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bebchuk/. 37 Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch and Richard Thaler (1986) ‘Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking Entitlements in the Market’, American Economic Review 76 (4): 728–41. 38 For a history, see Robert Dahl (1991) Democracy and Its Critics, Yale University Press; and David Held (2002) Models of Democracy, 2nd edn, Polity Press. Chapter Four: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 1 Eric J. Hobsbawm (1969) Industry and Empire from 1750 to the Present Day, Penguin, p. 40. 2 William Baumol (1990) ‘Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive’, Journal of Business Venturing ll: 3–22. 3 Thomas Schweich, ‘Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?’

Steinmueller and Juan Mateos-Garcia (2009) ‘Rebooting Britain’, Nesta Policy Briefing. 6 Rohit Talwar and Tim Hancock (2010) ‘The Shape of Jobs to Come: Possible New Careers Emerging from Advances in Science and Technology (2010–2030)’, report, Fast Future. 7 Ian Brinkley (2008) ‘The Knowledge Economy: How Knowledge is Reshaping the Economic Life of Nations’, report, Work Foundation. 8 Robert Nozick (1974) Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Basic Books, p. 169. 9 Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel (2002) The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice, Harvard University Press. 10 Will Hutton and Philippe Schneider (2008) ‘The Failure of Market Failure: Towards a 21st Century Keynesianism’, Nesta Provocation. 11 George Akerlof (1970) ‘The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism’, Quarterly Journal of Economics 84 (3): 488–500. 12 Nava Asraf, Colin Camerer and George Loewenstein (2005) ‘Adam Smith,Behavioral Economist’, Journal of Economic Perspectives 19 (3): 131–45. 13 John Coates and Joe Herbert (2008) ‘Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk Taking on a London Trading Floor’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 6167–72. 14 Technically, this can be understood as rational behaviour. 15 Studies have sought to limit attention to one potential bias at a time; but several biases might plausibly explain behaviour. There is a need to distinguish between biases insofar as the policy responses to the underlying explanations for behaviour point in very different directions. 16 John Sterman (2000) Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World, Irwin McGraw-Hill. 17 Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (2008) Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness, Yale University Press, esp. Part V. See also Jack Fuller (2009) ‘Heads, You Die: Bad Decisions, Choice Architecture, and How to Mitigate Predictable Irrationality’, Per Capita, at http://www.percapita.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=215. 18 Friedrich Hayek (1945) ‘The Use of Knowledge in Society’, American Economic Review 34 (4): 519–30, at http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/ hykKnw1.html. 19 Herbert Hart (1997) The Concept of Law, Oxford University Press. 20 HM Treasury (2007) ‘The Race to the Top: A Review of Government’s Science and Innovation Policies’, HMSO. 21 Yannis Pierrakis and Stian Westlake (2009) ‘Reshaping the UK Economy: The Role of Public Investment in Financing Growth’, report, Nesta. 22 Ibid. 23 John R.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman

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23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog

Timothy Taylor Technology Paved the Way for Humanity Thinking through things and with things, and manipulating virtual things in our minds, is an essential part of critical self-consciousness. Paul Saffo Time Span of Discretion We all have a natural time horizon we are comfortable with. Tania Lombrozo Defeasibility Between blind faith and radical skepticism is a vast but sparsely populated space where defeasibility finds its home. Richard Thaler Aether Aether variables are extremely common in my own field of economics. Mark Pagel Knowledge as a Hypothesis There will always be some element of doubt about anything we come to “know” from our observations of the world. Evgeny Morozov The Einstellung Effect Familiar solutions may not be optimal. Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán Homo sensus sapiens: The Animal That Feels and Reasons We are the tension of the sensus and the sapiens.

Recognizing the potential revisability of our beliefs is a prerequisite to rational discourse and progress, be it in science, politics, religion, or the mundane negotiations of daily life. Consider the world we could live in if all of our local and global leaders, if all of our personal and professional friends and foes, recognized the defeasibility of their beliefs and acted accordingly. That sure sounds like progress to me. But of course I could be wrong. Aether Richard Thaler Economist; director, Center for Decision Research, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago; coauthor (with Cass Sunstein), Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness I recently posted a question on Edge asking people to name their favorite example of a wrong scientific belief. One of my prized answers came from Clay Shirky. Here is an excerpt: The existence of ether, the medium through which light (was thought to) travel.


pages: 306 words: 85,836

When to Rob a Bank: ...And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, feminist movement, food miles, George Akerlof, invisible hand, loss aversion, mental accounting, Netflix Prize, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, pre–internet, price anchoring, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, Richard Thaler, security theater, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, The Chicago School, the High Line, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs

(I once heard a very rich person say that he didn’t care about his absolute wealth, only what his ranking was on the Forbes list of richest people.) Third, you can’t really blame yourself for house prices falling, but you could second-guess your decision to carry around $18,000 in cash. Fourth, the fact that a thief has your money might make it worse than the money just evaporating into space, like it does when house prices fall. There are probably other reasons as well. More generally, the economist Richard Thaler coined the phrase mental accounts to describe the way in which people seem to treat different assets as non-fungible, even though in principle it seems like they should be. Although my economist friends make fun of me for it, I definitely use mental accounts myself. For me, a dollar made playing poker means much more than a dollar earned from the stock market going up. (And a dollar lost playing poker is likewise far more painful.)

Trilby and I then ate, fairly happily, though the taste of the rancid chicken remained with me; in fact, it remains with me still. Trilby had had a glass of wine before we ordered, and took another with her meal, sauvignon blanc. I drank water. When the waitress cleared our plates, she asked again if we wanted complimentary dessert. No, we said, just coffee. As Trilby and I talked, I mentioned that I had not long ago interviewed Richard Thaler, the godfather of behavioral economics, which seeks to marry psychology and economics. Thaler and I had considered some small experiments at lunch—offering the waiter a gigantic tip, perhaps, in exchange for special considerations—but we didn’t get around to it. Trilby was interested, so we kept talking about money. I mentioned the behavioralists’ concept of “anchoring” (which used-car salesmen in particular know so well): establish a price that may be 100 percent more than what you need in order to ensure that you’ll still walk away with, say, a 50 percent profit.


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The Intelligent Investor (Collins Business Essentials) by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, hiring and firing, index fund, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, merger arbitrage, new economy, passive investing, price stability, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, the market place, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra

The company changed its name officially to Yum! Brands, Inc. in May 2002. 7 See “CEO Speaks” and “The Bottom Line,” Money, May 2000, pp. 42–44. 8 In early 2003, Capital One’s chief financial officer resigned after securities regulators revealed that they might charge him with violations of laws against insider trading. 9 For a more advanced look at this bizarre event, see Owen A. Lamont and Richard H. Thaler, “Can the Market Add and Subtract?” National Bureau of Economic Research working paper no. 8302, at www.nber.org/papers/w8302. 10 CMGI began corporate life as College Marketing Group, which sold information about college professors and courses to academic publishers—a business that bore a faint but disturbing similarity to National Student Marketing, discussed by Graham on p. 235. 11 All stock prices for Red Hat are adjusted for its two-for-one stock split in January 2000. 12 Ironically, 65 years earlier Graham had singled out Brown Shoe as one of the most stable companies on the New York Stock Exchange.

Higher Dividends = Higher Earnings Growth,” Financial Analysts Journal, January/February, 2003, pp. 70–87. 14 Doron Nissim and Amir Ziv, “Dividend Changes and Future Profitability,” The Journal of Finance, vol. 56, no. 6, December, 2001, pp. 2111–2133. Even researchers who disagree with the Arnott-Asness and Nissim-Ziv findings on future earnings agree that dividend increases lead to higher future stock returns; see Shlomo Benartzi, Roni Michaely, and Richard Thaler, “Do Changes in Dividends Signal the Future or the Past?” The Journal of Finance, vol. 52, no. 3, July, 1997, pp. 1007–1034. 15 The tax reforms proposed by President George W. Bush in early 2003 would change the taxability of dividends, but the fate of this legislation was not yet clear by press time. 16 Historically, companies took a common-sense approach toward share repurchases, reducing them when stock prices were high and stepping them up when prices were low.


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Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web by Paul Adams

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Airbnb, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, information retrieval, invention of the telegraph, planetary scale, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, sentiment analysis, social web, statistical model, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, white flight

People in our group, and people we perceive to be like us, disproportionately influence us. We often change our behavior to conform to the expectations, attitudes, and behavior of our group. We overrate the advice of experts. Random strangers can often outperform experts. Further reading 1. See the Wikipedia article titled Mirror Neuron for an introduction and further reading. 2. See Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008). 3. In their book Connected (Little, Brown, 2009), Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler describe how people are influenced by social proof. 4. See the 2002 research paper “Evidence on learning and network externalities in the diffusion of home computers” by Austan Goolsbee and Peter Klenow. 5.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

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3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

SMITH After the Plug Is Pulled GIULIO BOCCALETTI Monitoring and Managing the Planet IAN BOGOST Panexperientialism AUBREY DE GREY When Is a Minion Not a Minion? MICHAEL I. NORTON Not Buggy Enough THOMAS A. BASS More Funk, More Soul, More Poetry and Art HANS ULRICH OBRIST The Future Is Blocked to Us KOO JEONG-A An Immaterial Thinkable Machine RICHARD FOREMAN Baffled and Obsessed RICHARD H. THALER Who’s Afraid of Artificial Intelligence? SCOTT DRAVES I See a Symbiosis Developing MATTHEW RITCHIE Reimagining the Self in a Distributed World RAPHAEL BOUSSO It’s Easy to Predict the Future JAMES CROAK Fear of a God, Redux ANDRÉS ROEMER Tulips on My Robot’s Tomb LEE SMOLIN Toward a Naturalistic Account of Mind STUART A. KAUFFMAN Machines That Think? Nuts! MELANIE SWAN The Future Possibility-Space of Intelligence TOR NØRRETRANDERS Love KAI KRAUSE An Uncanny Three-Ring Test for Machina sapiens GEORG DIEZ Free from Us EDUARDO SALCEDO-ALBARÁN Flawless AI Seems Like Science Fiction MARIA SPIROPULU Emergent Hybrid Human/Machine Chimeras THOMAS METZINGER What If They Need to Suffer?

Everyone (me included) wants the many sweets they offer, while those very sweets do mold us in their image, thereby smothering the blankness of deep creativity inside each of us. And why did I have to go in circles to get here, where I’m offering an opinion—worth not nearly as much as the rhythm of my circling . . . a Hole. Yes, I am caught in a trap of my own making—just like everyone. But not like machines that think! The trap they’re in—well, they cannot “know.” WHO’S AFRAID OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE? RICHARD H. THALER Father of behavioral economics; director, Center for Decision Research, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; author, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavior Economics My brief remarks on this question are framed by two one-liners that happen to have been uttered by brilliant Israelis. The first comes from my friend, colleague, and mentor Amos Tversky. When asked once what he thought about artificial intelligence, Amos quipped that he didn’t know much about it, his specialty was natural stupidity.


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The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing by Lisa Gansky

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Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, banking crisis, barriers to entry, carbon footprint, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, diversification, Firefox, Google Earth, Internet of things, Kickstarter, late fees, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart grid, social web, software as a service, TaskRabbit, the built environment, walkable city, yield management, young professional, Zipcar

Setzer, Glenn. “House Swaps—Not Just for Vacationers Anymore?” Mortgage News Daily, February 20, 2008, http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/2202008_Permanent_House_Swap.asp (accessed March 17, 2010). Siegler, M. G. “Twitter Can Now Know Where You Tweet.” TechCrunch, August 20, 2009, http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/08/20/twitter-can-now-know-where-you-tweet (accessed March 17, 2010). Sunstein, Cass R., and Richard H. Thaler. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New York: Caravan, 2008. “Survive in ’09: Neighborhood Sharing on the Rise.” CBS3, August 26, 2009, http://cbs3.com/topstories/sharing.neighborhood.survive.2.1145308.html (accessed March 16, 2010). Taylor, Tanis. “Meet the Urban Sharecroppers.” Guardian, September 4, 2008, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/04/ethicalliving.organics (accessed March 17, 2010).


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Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

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Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, minimum viable product, North Sea oil, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs

“Ministers Knew Aircraft Would Not Make Money,” Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ministers-knew-aircraft-would-not-make-money-concorde-thirty-years-ago-harold-macmillan-sacked-a-third-of-his-cabinet-concorde-was-approved-the-cuba-crisis-shook-the-world-and-ministers-considered-pit-closures-anthony-bevins-and-nicholas-timmins-review-highlights-from-1962-government-files-made-public-yesterday-1476025.html 3. Gillman, “Supersonic Bust.” 4. Michael Rosenfield, “NH Man Loses Life Savings on Carnival Game,” CBS Boston, April 29, 2013, http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/04/29/nh-man-loses-life-savings-on-carnival-game/. 5. Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias,” Journal of Economic Perspective 5, no. 1 (1991): 193–206, http://users.tricity.wsu.edu/~achaudh/kahnemanetal.pdf. 6. Tom Stafford, “Why We Love to Hoard … and How You Can Overcome It,” BBC News, July 17, 2012, www.bbc.com/future/story/20120717-why-we-love-to-hoard. 7. I originally wrote this in a blog post for Harvard Business Review called “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less,” August 8, 2012, http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/08/the-disciplined-pursuit-of-less/. 8.


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Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik

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airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, white flight

Simon, “A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 69 (February 1955): 99–118; Richard R. Nelson and Sidney G. Winter, An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1982). 12. Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky, Judgement under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982). 13. Werner F. M. De Bondt and Richard Thaler, “Does the Stock Market Overreact?” Journal of Finance 40, no. 3 (1985): 793–805. 14. David Laibson, “Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 112, no. 2 (1997): 443–77; Brigitte C. Madrian and Dennis F. Shea, “The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116, no. 4 (2000): 1149–87; Jeffrey Liebman and Richard Zeckhauser, Simple Humans, Complex Insurance, Subtle Subsidies, NBER Working Paper 14330 (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008); Esther Duflo, Michael Kremer, and Jonathan Robinson, Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya, NBER Working Paper 15131 (Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009). 15.


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Empirical Market Microstructure: The Institutions, Economics and Econometrics of Securities Trading by Joel Hasbrouck

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barriers to entry, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, discrete time, disintermediation, distributed generation, experimental economics, financial intermediation, index arbitrage, interest rate swap, inventory management, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, martingale, price discovery process, price discrimination, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, second-price auction, short selling, statistical model, stochastic process, stochastic volatility, transaction costs, two-sided market, ultimatum game

Korajczyk, 2002, Predicting equity liquidity, Management Science 48, 470–83. Brunnermeier, Markus K., 2001, Asset Pricing under Asymmetric Information (Oxford University Press, Oxford). Brunnermeier, Markus K., and Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2005. Market liquidity and funding liquidity (Stern School, NYU). Caballe, Jordi, and Murugappa Krishnan, 1994, Imperfect competition in a multi-security market with risk neutrality, Econometrica 62, 695–704. Camerer, Colin, and Richard H. Thaler, 1995, Anomalies: Ultimatums, dictators and manners, Journal of Economic Perspectives 9, 209–19. Campbell, John Y., Sanford J. Grossman, and Jiang Wang, 1993, Trading volume and serial correlation in stock returns, Quarterly Journal of Economics 108, 905–39. CFA Institute, 2002, Trade Management Guidelines, CFA Institute (formerly the American Institute for Management Research), available online at http://www.cfainstitute.org/standards/pdf/trademgmt_ guidelines.pdf.

Raw Data Is an Oxymoron by Lisa Gitelman

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collateralized debt obligation, computer age, continuous integration, crowdsourcing, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, index card, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, Louis Daguerre, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, RFID, Richard Thaler, Silicon Valley, social graph, software studies, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, text mining, time value of money, trade route, Turing machine, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

TrackMeNot FAQ, http://cs.nyu.edu/trackmenot/faq.html (accessed August 25, 2010). 46. The detailed counsel about risk management online offered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Surveillance-Self Defense Project is paradigmatic. See https://ssd.eff.org (accessed October 14, 2011). 47. Anthony Giddens, The Nation-State and Violence (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 186. 48. See Richard H. Thaler, “Show Us the Data. (It’s Ours, After All),” New York Times (April 23, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/24/business/24view.html (accessed April 23, 2011) and “Better Choices, Better Deals,” U.K. Cabinet Office (April 13, 2011), http://www .cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/better-choices-better-deals (accessed July 14, 2011). 49. Gary Marx, “A Tack in the Shoe: Neutralizing and Resisting the New Surveillance,” Journal of Social Issues 59, no. 2 (May 2003): 369–390. 50.


pages: 298 words: 81,200

Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

Henri Poincairé’s pedestrian epiphanies are recounted in his Foundations of Science. A surprisingly long list of essays have argued that the Web is diminishing our opportunities for serendipitous discovery, including William McKeen’s “The Endangered Joy of Serendipity” and Damon Darlin’s “Serendipity, Lost in the Digital Deluge.” Cass Sunstein has discussed his notion of an architecture of serendipity in Going to Extremes, and, with Richard Thaler, in Nudge. Alex Osborn’s brainstorming technique was introduced in his book Applied Imagination. For a discussion of the problems with brainstorming and group creativity in general, see B. A. Nistad’s “Illusion of Group Productivity,” from the European Journal of Social Psychology. For more on open R&D labs, see Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics. CHAPTER 5: ERROR For more on Lee de Forest’s extraordinary career as an inventor (and, in later life, a Hollywood denizen) see his autobiography, Father of Radio.


pages: 291 words: 81,703

Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen

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Amazon Mechanical Turk, Black Swan, brain emulation, Brownian motion, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, crowdsourcing, dark matter, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deliberate practice, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Flynn Effect, Freestyle chess, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, labor-force participation, Loebner Prize, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, reshoring, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Yogi Berra

That gap—between our perception of superior human intellect and its actual reality—is the sobering lesson of the programs. So what? Haven’t thousands of articles from psychology and behavioral economics outlined major weaknesses in human perception and decision-making abilities? There are the works of Daniel Kahneman, Dan Ariely, and many others. Haven’t we all heard about “nudge,” the concept so eloquently outlined by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler? In that worldview, experts know the biases of other decision makers and design the choice architecture to manipulate better human choices, such as changing the default options for which pension plan you will enroll in. Yes, but the chess result differs. Computer chess is pointing out some imperfections in the world’s experts, or you might say it is pointing out imperfections in those who, in other contexts, might be nudgers themselves.


pages: 241 words: 75,516

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, attribution theory, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, endowment effect, framing effect, income per capita, job satisfaction, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, Own Your Own Home, positional goods, price anchoring, psychological pricing, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, science of happiness, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

The $50 is already spent; it’s “sunk” and can’t be recovered. What matters is whether you’ll feel better safe and warm at home, watching the game on TV, or slogging through the snow on treacherous roads to see the game in person. That’s all that should matter. But it isn’t all that matters. To stay home is to incur a loss of $50, and people hate losses, so they drag themselves out to the game. Economist Richard Thaler provides another example of sunk costs that I suspect many people can identify with. You buy a pair of shoes that turn out to be really uncomfortable. What will you do about them? Thaler suggests: The more expensive they were, the more often you’ll try to wear them. Eventually, you’ll stop wearing them, but you won’t get rid of them. And the more you paid for them, the longer they’ll sit in the back of your closet.


pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

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23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, disintermediation, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, Yogi Berra

Hypnotists use anchors to get you to do things. But so do your parents and your priest or rabbi and certainly your boss. It makes sense. Who has any idea how to confront situations unless there is some anchor of honesty or morality or self-interest or just kindness that influences what we do? Entire wings of psychology departments exist to study this stuff. And now so do businesses and society. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein wrote Nudge, a book about how governments can act with “libertarian paternalism” to influence people’s behavior, to nudge them away from making poor decisions. Of course, who decides what is right or wrong, good or bad? Andrew Ferguson wrote an April 2010 piece in The Weekly Standard aptly titled “Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink,” pointing out that many of the favorite behavioral economics studies are done by grad students observing paid volunteer undergraduates doing trivial tasks, and arguing that this is hardly a basis for making largescale policy recommendations for a better society.


pages: 330 words: 77,729

Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes by Mark Skousen

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Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, experimental economics, financial independence, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, means of production, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, open economy, paradox of thrift, price stability, pushing on a string, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, unorthodox policies

Imperfect information exists in labor, products, money, trade, and capital markets.1 Serious unemployment 1. Neo-Keynesians have contributed extensively to the new field of "behavioral economics," which questions the efficiency/rational expectations model of the Chicago school, and proposes ways to counter the tendency of individuals to make financial mistakes, such as undersaving, over-consuming, and undeipeiforming the stock market averages. See, for example, Richard Thaler (2004) andRobert Shiller (2005). However, not all behavioral economists are Keynesian. See Jeremy Siegel (2005). could exist even without minimum wage laws or labor unions, he contends. During the Great Depression, "had there been more wage and price flexibility, matters might have been even worse," he states (2001, 477). According to Stiglitz, involuntary unemployment is still a problem! Gary Becker, Milton Friedman, and other Chicago economists may claim that the competitive marketplace discourages discrimination, unemployment, and poverty, but Stiglitz's hometown of Gary, Indiana, "even in its heyday ... was marred by poverty, periodic unemployment, and massive racial discrimination" (2001, 473).


pages: 263 words: 75,455

Quantitative Value: A Practitioner's Guide to Automating Intelligent Investment and Eliminating Behavioral Errors by Wesley R. Gray, Tobias E. Carlisle

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Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Black Swan, capital asset pricing model, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, compound rate of return, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, discounted cash flows, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, forensic accounting, hindsight bias, Louis Bachelier, p-value, passive investing, performance metric, quantitative hedge fund, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical model, systematic trading, The Myth of the Rational Market, time value of money, transaction costs

BusinessWeek (June 25, 1999), www.businessweek.com/1999/99_27/b3636006.htm. 32. Eleanor Laise, “Best Stock Fund of the Decade: CGM Focus.” Wall Street Journal, Fund Track (December 31, 2009), http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704876804574628561609012716.html. 33. Jesse J. Prinz, Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (Philosophy of Mind) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA, 2004). 34. Nicholas Barberis and Richard Thaler, “A Survey of Behavioral Finance.” NBER Working Paper No. 9222, September 2002, www.nber.org/papers/w9222. 35. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” Science, New Series 185(4157) (September 27, 1974): 1124–1131; www.jstor.org/pss/1738360. 36. Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions (New York: HarperCollins, 2008). 37.


pages: 268 words: 75,850

The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems-And Create More by Luke Dormehl

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3D printing, algorithmic trading, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, computer age, death of newspapers, deferred acceptance, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Google Earth, Google Glasses, High speed trading, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, pattern recognition, price discrimination, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Slavoj Žižek, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, upwardly mobile, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y Combinator

If laws or rules are an effort to moralize other people, does this differ from attempts to moralize technology? Can we quantify in any real sense the difference between a rule that asks that we not waste water in the shower and the use of a water-saving showerhead technology that ensures that we do not? In their book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein recount the story of a fake housefly placed in each of the urinals at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. By giving urinating men something to aim at, spillage was reduced by a whole 80 percent.37 While few would likely decry the kind of soft paternalism designed to keep public toilets clean, what about the harder paternalism of a car that forcibly brakes to stop a person breaking the speed limit?


pages: 316 words: 105,384

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

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Cass Sunstein, high batting average, placebo effect, RAND corporation, Richard Thaler, systematic trading, the scientific method, upwardly mobile

—Will Lingo, Baseball America “This delightfully written, lesson-laden book deserves a place of its own in the Baseball Hall of Fame.” —Rich Karlgaard, Forbes “An extraordinary job of reporting and writing.” —Mark Emmons, San Jose Mercury News “Anyone who cares about baseball must read it.” —Cathleen McGuigan, Newsweek “Michael Lewis has written what might be the best book ever about baseball.” —Steve Weinberg, Orlando Sentinel “Lewis has a wonderful story to tell, and he tells it wonderfully.” —Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, The New Republic “[Lewis’s] descriptive writing allows Beane and the others in the lively cast of baseball characters to come alive.” —Publishers Weekly “Lewis’s book is a thoroughly modern, entertaining…even revolutionary look at the way the game has changed and is changing…guaranteed to ruffle a lot of feathers.” —Brad Zellar, Minneapolis Star Tribune “This book is as much for people who take joy in new ideas as in games.”


pages: 584 words: 187,436

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

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Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, automated trading system, bank run, barriers to entry, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Elliott wave, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, High speed trading, index fund, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nikolai Kondratiev, pattern recognition, pre–internet, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, rolodex, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs

This line of attack went after the protagonist at the center of economists’ models, the impeccably rational figure known as Homo economicus. When investors could revise their valuation of corporate America by as much as a quarter in a single day, something other than rational analysis was in play; homo was not fully economicus. Economists were suddenly open to ideas that might explain the extent of the divergence. In 1988 Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago began to publish regular features in the Journal of Economic Perspectives that pointed out instances in which human choices appeared to violate economists’ expectations of rational beings. To Soros, who had obsessed about the limits to cognition since his student days in London, it was another victory. The triple attack on efficient-market theory—statistical, institutional, and psychological—was in some ways a vindication for the hedge-fund industry.

Andrei Shleifer and Lawrence H. Summers, “The Noise Trader Approach to Finance,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 4, no. 2 (Spring 1990). In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2009, it was said that financial economists had finally been forced to wake up to market inefficiencies. But their existence had already been widely accepted among economists for at least two decades. 9. There are many more examples. Richard Thaler, the leading light in behavioral finance, is involved in the investment-management firm Fuller & Thaler. At Long-Term Capital Management, Eric Rosenfeld, a former finance professor at Harvard Business School, was more important but less famous than Merton and Scholes, the Nobel laureates. Kenneth French is a director of Dimensional Fund Advisors. Asness set up AQR with John Liew, whom he had known at Chicago’s PhD program. 10.


pages: 397 words: 112,034

What's Next?: Unconventional Wisdom on the Future of the World Economy by David Hale, Lyric Hughes Hale

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affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, diversification, energy security, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, full employment, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global village, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, housing crisis, index fund, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, Long Term Capital Management, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage tax deduction, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, passive investing, payday loans, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, price stability, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, technology bubble, The Great Moderation, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Tobin tax, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, yield curve

As nobody enters married life thinking that he or she might get divorced, nobody enters the investment world thinking he or she might fail. Doing the opposite would require humility, which is a quality not found in abundance within the world of investment. Potentially a victim of this hubris, my prediction for 2011 may in the end be nothing more than wishful thinking. If it is, how disconcerting! When Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein published Nudge–Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness with Yale University Press in 2008, they showed that what’s come out of behavioral economics—and by extension neuroeconomics—can lead to improved decisions in terms of better health or sounder investments. Soon, some of their ideas on how to nudge made their way into policy-making. Today, for example, many governments try to harness some of their insights for specific policy purposes.


pages: 353 words: 98,267

The Price of Everything: And the Hidden Logic of Value by Eduardo Porter

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Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, British Empire, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Ford paid five dollars a day, full employment, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, guest worker program, happiness index / gross national happiness, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, Menlo Park, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, new economy, New Urbanism, pension reform, Peter Singer: altruism, pets.com, placebo effect, price discrimination, price stability, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superstar cities, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, ultimatum game, unpaid internship, urban planning, women in the workforce, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War, young professional

The commentary on the different views on fairness and luck in Europe and the United States draws from Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, “Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics,” NBER Working Paper, March 2005; and World Values Survey, 2005-2008 wave (http://www.wvsevsdb.com/wvs/WVSAnalizeStudy.jsp, accessed 08/09/2010). The discussion on racial diversity and support for redistributive policies draws from William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), p. 202. Data on tipping patterns in the United States come from Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market,” American Economic Review, Vol. 76, September 1986, pp. 728-741; and Michael Lynn, “Tipping in Restaurants and Around the Globe: An Interdisciplinary Review,” in Morris Altman, ed., Handbook of Contemporary Behavioral Economics, Foundations and Developments (Armonk, N.Y.: M .E. Sharpe Publishers, 2006), pp. 626-643. 173-177 The Price of Repugnance: Discussion on different attitudes about eating horse fillet are drawn from Alvin Roth, “Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 21, No. 3, Summer 2007, pp. 37-58; maville.com, Caen et ça region (at www.caen.maville.com/actu/actudet_-Cyril-ouvre-une-boucherie-chevaline-boulevard-Leroy-_loc-822159_actu.htm, accessed 07/18/2010); and Tara Burghart, “Last US Horse Slaughterhouse to Close,” Huffington Post, June 29, 2007 (www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20070629/horse-slaughter/#, accessed 07/18/2010).


pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Menlo Park, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck

The point is underlined by the brilliant quote from Daniel Defoe with which Charles Mackay begins his book: Some in clandestine companies combine; Erect new stocks to trade beyond the line; With air and empty names beguile the town, And raise new credits first, then cry ’em down; Divide the empty nothing into shares, And set the crowd together by the ears.80 Missing from the work of efficient market theorists are the insights of behavioural finance, which brings the disciplines of psychology and sociology to the analysis of behaviour in financial markets. In discussing bubbles, economists such as Robert Shiller and Richard Thaler posit a feedback theory. When prices rise fast, the profits made by investors attract public attention, promoting word-of-mouth enthusiasm and encouraging expectations of further price rises. Commentators fuel the boom with rationalisations such as the idea that the economy has reached a new era of permanently higher returns. If the feedback is not interrupted, the result is a bubble. I find Shiller’s definition of a speculative bubble persuasive: ‘a situation in which news of price increases spurs investor enthusiasm, which spreads by psychological contagion from person to person, in the process amplifying stories that might justify the price increase’.


pages: 317 words: 87,566

The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies

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1960s counterculture, Airbnb, business intelligence, Cass Sunstein, corporate governance, dematerialisation, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gini coefficient, income inequality, invisible hand, joint-stock company, market bubble, mental accounting, nudge unit, profit maximization, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, sentiment analysis, sharing economy, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, theory of mind, urban planning

This is not to imply ‘guilt by association’ but simply to point out that certain types of knowledge are useful to certain types of agency, with particular strategic interests. Pop behaviourism, offering to reveal the secrets of social influence, has become a booming area of non-fiction publishing, making minor celebrities of psychologists such as Dan Ariely and Robert Cialdini and behavioural economists such as Richard Thaler. Speaking fees for these academics range between $50,000–$75,000 a day, giving an indication of the types of network that their knowledge is fed into.16 The circuit of behavioural expertise feeds directly into the marketing and advertising industries, as it has done pretty much ever since the American visitors to Wilhem Wundt’s laboratory returned home at the end of the nineteenth century. Few of these examples are concerned with happiness or well-being as such, although neuroscientists now profess to ‘see’ emotions, affect, depression and happiness as embodied and behavioural phenomena.


pages: 317 words: 100,414

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Consider a guess-the-number game in which players must guess a number between 0 and 100. The person whose guess comes closest to two-thirds of the average guess of all contestants wins. That’s it. And imagine there is a prize: the reader who comes closest to the correct answer wins a pair of business-class tickets for a flight between London and New York. The Financial Times actually held this contest in 1997, at the urging of Richard Thaler, a pioneer of behavioral economics. If I were reading the Financial Times in 1997, how would I win those tickets? I might start by thinking that because anyone can guess anything between 0 and 100 the guesses will be scattered randomly. That would make the average guess 50. And two-thirds of 50 is 33. So I should guess 33. At this point, I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. I’m sure I’ve nailed it.

All About Asset Allocation, Second Edition by Richard Ferri

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asset allocation, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, capital controls, commodity trading advisor, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, diversified portfolio, equity premium, estate planning, financial independence, fixed income, full employment, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, implied volatility, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, Mason jar, mortgage tax deduction, passive income, pattern recognition, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sharpe ratio, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, yield curve

BEHAVIORAL FINANCE Behavioral finance is an academic field that attempts to understand and explain how psychology influences an investor’s decisionmaking process. A fledgling field of study in the early 1960s, behavioral finance has grown to be an important area of research at How Behavior Affects Asset Allocation Decisions 273 several influential institutions. Professors recognized as experts in the field include Daniel Kahneman (Princeton), Meir Statman (Santa Clara), Richard Thaler (University of Chicago), Robert J. Shiller (Yale), and Amos Tversky. Tversky is frequently cited as the forefather of the field. He died in 1996. The following list touches on a few observations made by behavioral finance researchers. Unfortunately, the list only scratches the surface. Much more information about this fascinating field is available on the Internet and in your local library: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● People tend to be more optimistic about stocks after the market goes up and more pessimistic after it goes down.


pages: 307 words: 94,069

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

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Atul Gawande, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate social responsibility, en.wikipedia.org, fundamental attribution error, impulse control, medical residency, Piper Alpha, placebo effect, publish or perish, Richard Thaler, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs

The Heart of Change, by John Kotter and Dan Cohen [Business and organizational change]. Our favorite book of Kotter’s, this book will be useful if you are trying to change a big organization. Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink [Dieting]. Do you want to lose a few pounds, or are you just curious about why everyone else is getting fatter? This book is filled with clever research like the popcorn study we described in the first chapter. Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein [Decision making and public policy]. The authors argue that people can be “nudged” to make better decisions, and they propose some great Path solutions. One Small Step Can Change Your Life, by Robert Maurer [Individual and organizational change]. If you liked the chapter on shrinking the change, this is your book. Maurer shows how small steps can lead to great change. Divorce Busting, by Michele Weiner-Davis [Relationships].


pages: 209 words: 89,619

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing

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8-hour work day, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, deskilling, fear of failure, full employment, hiring and firing, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nudge unit, pensions crisis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, precariat, presumed consent, quantitative easing, remote working, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, transaction costs, universal basic income, unpaid internship, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, young professional

Why risk being humiliated online by being rigorous? Give them what they want! This is an illusion of empowerment that degrades responsibility and professionalism. Soon, everybody will be rating everybody else. The state as libertarian paternalist A new perspective on social and economic policy is behavioural economics, which has produced libertarian paternalism. Nudge, an influential book by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler (2008), two Chicago-based advisers and friends of Barack Obama, was premised on the idea that people have too much information and so make irrational decisions. People must be steered, or nudged, to make A POLITICS OF INFERNO 139 the decisions that are in their best interest. The authors do not attribute the idea to Bentham but say the state should create ‘an architecture of choice’. On becoming US President, Obama appointed Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, based in the White House.


pages: 344 words: 94,332

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton, Andrew Scott

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3D printing, Airbnb, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, diversification, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, falling living standards, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, Lyft, Network effects, New Economic Geography, pattern recognition, pension reform, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, women in the workforce, young professional

We expect that as the understanding of savings psychology improves, a number of innovative products will come to market aimed at helping automate savings decisions. For instance, a financial package called Acorns will round up any purchases made on a debit or credit card and then put this rounding amount into an investment fund. It’s unlikely to fund a retirement, but it does help reduce an under-saving bias.22 Economists Richard Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi devised a financial product based around commitment that exploits hyperbolic discounting and turns the status quo bias into a positive. This was a savings plan for employees called Save More Tomorrow (SMarT plan).23 The plan had four features aimed at overcoming a range of behavioural biases, including hyperbolic discounting. The first feature is that workers are asked to increase the contribution from their salary that goes into their savings plan, but only in the future.


pages: 349 words: 95,972

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

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affirmative action, Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Basel III, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, crowdsourcing, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Erdős number, experimental subject, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Frank Gehry, game design, global supply chain, Googley, Guggenheim Bilbao, high net worth, Inbox Zero, income inequality, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, microbiome, out of africa, Paul Erdős, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, telemarketer, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Turing test, urban decay

Akiko Fujita, “Tracking Disaster: Japanese Tourists Drive Straight into the Pacific,” ABC News, March 16, 2012, http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/03/-tracking-disaster-japanese-tourists-drive-straight-into-the-pacific/. Also see Lauren Hansen, “8 Drivers Who Blindly Followed GPS into Disaster,” The Week, May 7, 2013, http://theweek.com/articles/464674/8-drivers-who-blindly-followed-gps-into-disaster. 15. Richard Thaler, Misbehaving (London: Penguin/Allen Lane, 2015). 16. Gary Klein, Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making (London: MIT Press, 2009), pp. 118–119. 17. Sarah O’Connor, “Leave the Robotic Jobs to Robots and Improve Humans’ Lives,” Financial Times, January 5, 2016, https://next.ft.com/content/da557b66-b09c-11e5-993b-c425a3d2b65a. 18. Klein, Streetlights and Shadows, pp. 123–124. 19.


pages: 354 words: 91,875

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal

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banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Wall-E, Walter Mischel

As individuals, we can take steps to strengthen our personal self-control, and this will make no small difference in our personal lives. Knowing how to strengthen the limited self-control of a nation is a trickier thing. Rather than hope that we as a nation develop more willpower in order to meet our biggest challenges, our best bet might be to take self-control out of the equation whenever possible—or at least reduce the self-control demands of doing the right thing. Behavioral economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein have argued persuasively for “choice architecture,” systems that make it easier for people to make good decisions consistent with their values and goals. For example, asking people to become organ donors when they renew a driver’s license or register to vote. Or having health insurance companies automatically schedule annual check-ups for their members. These are things most people mean to do, but put off because they are distracted by so many other more pressing demands.


pages: 369 words: 90,630

Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want by Nicholas Epley

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affirmative action, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, friendly fire, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, pirate software, Richard Thaler, school choice, the scientific method, theory of mind

The poor making unwise financial choices? Roll out a financial literacy program to make their minds smarter. Americans getting too fat? Try to raise awareness about the dangers of obesity so that they’ll be more motivated to lose weight. Common sense suggests targeting people’s minds to change their actions, but many of these solutions are useless because they misunderstand the cause of the problems. As my colleagues Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein point out in their book Nudge, much more effective for changing behavior is targeting the broader context rather than individual minds, making it easier for people to do the things they already want to do.29 Consider four examples: • ENCOURAGING ENVIRONMENTALISM. Convincing people not to litter is hard, and most already know that they’re not supposed to simply toss their garbage on the ground.


pages: 302 words: 83,116

SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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agricultural Revolution, airport security, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, call centre, clean water, cognitive bias, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, disintermediation, endowment effect, experimental economics, food miles, indoor plumbing, John Nash: game theory, Joseph Schumpeter, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, market design, microcredit, Milgram experiment, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, presumed consent, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional

ULTIMATUM AND DICTATOR: The first paper on Ultimatum as it is commonly known is Werner Guth, Rolf Schmittberger, and Bernd Schwarze, “An Experimental Analysis of Ultimatum Bargaining,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 3, no. 4 (1982). For a good background on the evolution of such games, see Steven D. Levitt and John A. List, “What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Tell Us About the Real World,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21, no. 2 (2007). See also: Daniel Kahneman, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard Thaler, “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market,” American Economic Review 76, no. 4 (September 1986); Robert Forsythe, Joel L. Horowitz, N. E. Savin, and Martin Sef-ton, “Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments,” Games and Economic Behavior 6, no. 3 (May 1994); Colin F. Camerer, Behavioral Game Theory (Princeton University Press, 2003); and John A. List, “Dictator Game Giving Is an Experimental Artifact,” working paper, 2005.


pages: 471 words: 124,585

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

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Admiral Zheng, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial exploitation, Corn Laws, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deglobalization, diversification, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, iterative process, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labour mobility, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, pension reform, price anchoring, price stability, principal–agent problem, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, RAND corporation, random walk, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, structural adjustment programs, technology bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War

Mauboussin, More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places (New York / Chichester, 2006). 12 Mark Buchanan, The Social Atom: Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught, and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You (New York, 2007), p. 54. 13 For an introduction, see Andrei Shleifer, Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance (Oxford, 2000). For some practical applications see Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (New Haven, 2008). 14 See Peter Bernstein, Capital Ideas Evolving (New York, 2007). 15 See for example James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds (New York, 2005); Ian Ayres, Supercrunchers: How Anything Can Be Predicted (London, 2007). 16 Daniel Gross, ‘The Forecast for Forecasters is Dismal’, New York Times, 4 March 2007. 17 The classic work, first published in 1841, is Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (New York, 2003 [1841]). 18 Yudkowsky, ‘Cognitive Biases’, pp. 110f. 19 For an introduction to Lo’s work, see Bernstein, Capital Ideas Evolving , ch. 4.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama

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Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

., Marc Friedlaender, and Mary-Jo Kline, eds. (1975). The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762–1784. Harvard University Press. Cairncross, Frances. (1997). The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Will Change Our Lives. Harvard Business School Press. ———. (2001). The Death of Distance 2.0: How the Communications Revolution Will Change Our Lives. Texere. Camerer, Colin F., and Richard H. Thaler. (1995). Anomalies: Ultimatums, dictators and manners. Journal of Economic Perspectives 9(2):209–219, www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.9.2.209. Cameron, William Bruce. (1963). Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking. Random House. Caplan, Bryan. (2012). Selfish reasons to have more kids: Why being a great parent is less work and more fun than you think.

Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government by Robert Higgs, Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.

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Alistair Cooke, clean water, collective bargaining, credit crunch, declining real wages, endowment effect, fiat currency, full employment, hiring and firing, income per capita, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, price discrimination, profit motive, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration

Fialka, "Oregon Congressman Outflanks the Pentagon In Single-Minded, Single-Handed Weapon War," Wall Street Journal (Sept. 13, 1985): 54. 29. Victor R. Fuchs, "The Economics of Health in a Post-Industrial Society," Public Interest (Summer 1979): 16; Shultz and Dam, Economic Policy Beyond the Headlines, pp. 51-52; John Mark Hansen, "The Political Economy of Group Membership," American Political Science Review 79 (March 1985): 81. 30. See the related discussions of the "endowment effect" by Richard H. Thaler, "Illusions and Mirages in Public Policy," Public Interest (Fall 1983): 64-65; of "hysteresis" by Hardin, Collective Action, pp. 82-83; of "universalism and reciprocity" by Alt and Chrystal, Political Economics, pp. 196-197. 31. Nordlinger, Autonomy, p. 38; Dye and Zeigler, The Irony of Democracy, pp. 98-99, 101-102; Dye, Understanding Public Policy, p. 199; Karl, Uneasy State, p. 226; Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation and Social Rigidities (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1982), p. 71; Karen A., Rasler and William R.


pages: 494 words: 142,285

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig

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AltaVista, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, business process, Cass Sunstein, computer age, dark matter, disintermediation, Erik Brynjolfsson, George Gilder, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, invention of hypertext, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, linked data, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, smart grid, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, transaction costs

[But] there are two . . . plausible arguments from physics that describe constructible systems where, as the number of users of that same spectrum in the same volume of space increases, the amount of available spectrum [increases as well] . . . which means that if you have one hundred times as many stations in that same volume, you can get ten times (or maybe even a hundred times) as much communication capacity. Telephone interview with David Reed. 38 Noam, “Beyond Spectrum Auctions.” 39 Ibid., 465. 40 Ibid., 466. 41 George Gilder, Telecosm: How Infinite Bandwidth Will Revolutionize Our World (New York: Free Press, 2000), 159. 42 Ibid., 159-60. Gilder's point is correct whether or not there is a true “winner's curse.” A “winner's curse” exists only when the bid was irrationally high. Richard H. Thaler, “Anomalies: The Winner's Curse,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 2 (1988): 191, 192. Whether or not the bid was irrational, it can still create this pressure on the system. 43 The story is told in Lawrence Lessing, Man of High Fidelity: Edwin Howard Armstrong (New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1956). 44 The best example is the slow deployment of ultrawideband (UWB) technologies. A kind of spread spectrum technology, UWB uses extremely low power transmissions that do not rise above the noise floor.


pages: 504 words: 139,137

Efficiently Inefficient: How Smart Money Invests and Market Prices Are Determined by Lasse Heje Pedersen

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algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, commodity trading advisor, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency peg, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, frictionless, frictionless market, Gordon Gekko, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, late capitalism, law of one price, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market clearing, market design, market friction, merger arbitrage, mortgage debt, New Journalism, paper trading, passive investing, price discovery process, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, systematic trading, technology bubble, time value of money, total factor productivity, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Krishnamurthy, Arvind, and Annette Vissing-Jorgensen (2012), “The Aggregate Demand for Treasury Debt,” Journal of Political Economy 120, 233–267. Lakonishok, Josef, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert W. Vishny (1994), “Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk,” The Journal of Finance 49(5), 1541–1578. Lamont, Owen (2012), “Go Down Fighting: Short Sellers vs. Firms,” Review of Asset Pricing Studies 2, 1–30. Lamont, Owen, and Richard H. Thaler (2003), “Can the Stock Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-Outs,” Journal of Political Economy 111(2), 227–268. Lefèvre, E. (1923), Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, John Wiley & Sons, New York. Lin, Hai, Junbo Wang, and Chunchi Wu (2011), “Liquidity Risk and Expected Corporate Bond Returns,” Journal of Financial Economics 99, 628–650. Liu, H. (2004), “Optimal Consumption and Investment with Transaction Costs and Multiple Assets,” Journal of Finance 59, 289–338.


pages: 425 words: 122,223

Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street by Peter L. Bernstein

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brownian motion, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, debt deflation, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, invisible hand, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, law of one price, linear programming, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, means of production, new economy, New Journalism, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, stochastic process, the market place, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, transfer pricing, zero-coupon bond

Econometrica, Vol. 1 July), pp. 309–324. Cowles, Alfred 3rd and Associates. 1938. Common Stock Indexes. Indianapolis, IN: Principia Press. Cowles, Alfred 3rd. 1944. “Stock Market Forecasting.” Econometrica, Vol. 12, Nos. 3 & 4 (July-October), pp. 206–214. Debreu, Gerald. 1991. “The Mathematization of Economic Theory.” American Economic Review, Vol. 81, No. 1 (March), pp. 1–7. De Bondt, Werner F. M. and Richard H Thaler. 1990. “Do Security Analysts Overreact?” American Economic Review, Vol. 80, No. 2 (May), pp. 52–57. Dimson, Elroy and Paul Marsh. 1982. “Calculating the Cost of Capital.” Long Range Planning, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 112–120. Durand, David. 1957. “Growth Stocks and the Petersburg Paradox.” Journal of Finance, Vol. XII, No. 3 (September), pp. 348–363. Durand, David. 1959. “The Cost of Capital, Corporation Finance, and the Theory of Investment: Comment.”


pages: 586 words: 159,901

Wall Street: How It Works And for Whom by Doug Henwood

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, declining real wages, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, facts on the ground, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index fund, interest rate swap, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, labor-force participation, late capitalism, law of one price, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, London Interbank Offered Rate, Louis Bachelier, market bubble, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, random walk, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, women in the workforce, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Horn (1985). "Rudolf Hilferding: The Dominion of Capitalism and the Dominion of Gold,' AEA Papers and Proceedings 75 (May), pp. 363-368. Davidson, Paul (1972). Money and the Real World (New York: John Wiley & Sons). Davis, Carolyn D., and Alice P. White (1987), "Stock Market Volatility" (summary of staff study). Federal Reserve Bulletin, September, pp. 609-610. de Bondt, Werner F.M., and Richard Thaler (1985). "Does the Stock Market Overreact?," Journal of Finance 40 (July), pp. 793-805. de Brunhoff, Susanne (1976). Marx on Money (New York: Urizen Books). Debreu, Gerard (1991). "The Mathematization of Economic Theory," American Economic Review 81 (March), pp. 1-7. du Boff, Richard B., and Edward S. Herman (1989). "The Promotional-Financial Dynamic of Merger Movements: A Historical Perspective,"/oMrna/ of Economic Issues25 (March), pp.107-133.


pages: 483 words: 141,836

Red-Blooded Risk: The Secret History of Wall Street by Aaron Brown, Eric Kim

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Asian financial crisis, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, capital asset pricing model, central bank independence, Checklist Manifesto, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, disintermediation, distributed generation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental subject, financial innovation, illegal immigration, implied volatility, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, margin call, market clearing, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, natural language processing, open economy, pre–internet, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, special drawing rights, statistical arbitrage, stochastic volatility, The Myth of the Rational Market, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve

Property, Exchange, and Money Before we discuss money, we have to discuss exchange. And before we discuss exchange, we have to discuss the idea of property. Until someone owned something, nothing could be exchanged. One of the strongest early findings of experimental game theory is that people value things they have more than identical things they don’t have. For example, a classic experiment by Daniel Kahneman, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler used coffee mugs with a school logo on them. These mugs sold for $6 at the campus store. A group of students was divided randomly. Half were asked how much they would pay for a mug. The other half were given mugs, and asked how much they would sell them for. Buyers offered an average of $2.87, whereas sellers demanded an average of $7.12. This is not an isolated result from one group of college students.


pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, packet switching, Post-materialism, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons

CHRISTENSEN, THE INNOVATOR’S DILEMMA: WHEN NEW TECHNOLOGIES CAUSE GREAT FIRMS TO FAIL xiii—xvii (1997); Rebecca Henderson, The Innovator’s Dilemma as a Problem of Organizational Competence, 23 J. PRODUCT INNOVATION MGMT. 5, 6—7 (2006). 17. See Cubby, Inc. v. CompuServe, Inc., 766 F. Supp. 135, 139—40 (S.D.N.Y. 1991) (discussing the nature of CompuServe’s involvement in running the forums). 18. See ADVANCES IN BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS (Colin F. Camerer, George Loewenstein & Matthew Rabin eds., 2003); Christine Jolls, Cass R. Sunstein & Richard Thaler, A Behavioral Approach to Law and Economics, 50 STAN. L. REV. 1471 (1998); Daniel Kahne-man & Amos Tversky, Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk, 47 ECONO-METRICA 263 (1979). 19. See Cass R. Sunstein, INFOTOPIA 80 (2006). 20. Tim Wu, Wireless Carterfone, 1 INT’L. J. COMM. 389, 404—15 (2007), available at http://ijoc.org/ojs/index.php/ijoc/article/view/152/96. 21. See id. at 419. 22.


pages: 288 words: 16,556

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, income inequality, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market design, means of production, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Occupy movement, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, profit maximization, quantitative easing, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Simon Kuznets, Skype, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Vanguard fund, young professional, Zipcar

Government subsidies for small businesses are used today to help solve the problem. Social programs to provide early education have been the subject of some experimentation, and e ective methods of developing talent among the poor are starting to be implemented. See Heckman and Carneiro (2003). 9. A living history of this revolution can be seen on my behavioral nance web site (http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/behfin/index.htm), which shows a list of the seminars that Richard Thaler and I have organized since 1991, and my behavioral macroeconomics web site (http://www.econ.yale.edu/~shiller/behmacro/index.htm), which shows a list of seminars that George Akerlof and I have organized since 1994. Books about behavioral economics include Shleifer (2000), Shefrin (2007), and Thaler and Sunstein (2008). 10. Laird (2009). 11. http://www.research.ibm.com/deepqa/deepqa.shtml. 12.


pages: 518 words: 147,036

The Fissured Workplace by David Weil

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, banking crisis, barriers to entry, business process, call centre, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, declining real wages, employer provided health coverage, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, income inequality, intermodal, inventory management, Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Rogoff, law of one price, loss aversion, low skilled workers, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, occupational segregation, performance metric, pre–internet, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, Rana Plaza, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs, ultimatum game, union organizing, women in the workforce, Y2K, yield management

“Independent Contractors, Employees, and Entrepreneurialism under the National Labor Relations Act: A Worker-by-Worker Approach.” Washington and Lee Law Review 68, no. 1: 313–373. Kahn, Shulamit. 1997. “Evidence of Nominal Wage Stickiness from Microdata.” American Economic Review 87, no. 5: 993–1008. Kahneman, Daniel. 2011. Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Kahneman, Daniel, Jack Knetsch, and Richard Thaler. 1986. “Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market.” American Economic Review 76, no. 4: 728–741. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. 1984. “Choices, Values, and Frames.” American Psychologist 34, no.4: 341-350. Kalleberg, Arne. 2011. Good Jobs / Bad Jobs: The Rise of Polarized and Precarious Employment Systems in the United States, 1970s to 2000s. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.


pages: 420 words: 121,881

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution by Jonathan Eig

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Albert Einstein, experimental subject, feminist movement, placebo effect, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, Upton Sinclair, women in the workforce

My friend and former teacher, Joseph Epstein, pushed me as he’s been pushing me for thirty years to sharpen my writing. Other writer friends who pitched in along the way include Stephen Fried, Louise W. Knight, Gioia Diliberto, T. J. Stiles, Rachel Shteir, Jane Leavy, Rebecca Skloot, Chuck McCutcheon, Bob Spitz, Ben Kesling, and Charlie Newton. I am also thankful for good advice received from Linda Ginzel, Boaz Keysar, Sayuri Hayakawa, and Richard Thaler. My friend Suzie Takacs of the Book Cellar in Chicago urged me to pursue this subject when I had doubts. The wonderful staff at Unabridged Books in Chicago supplied me with loads of good reading. Thanks also to the top-notch staff at the Book Stall in Winnetka, Mitchell Kaplan at Books & Books in Miami, the Biographers International Organization, and the Tucson Festival of Books. Jean Halberstam kindly granted me access to materials used by her late husband, David Halberstam, in his book The Fifties.


pages: 741 words: 179,454

Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk by Satyajit Das

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andy Kessler, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, clean water, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discrete time, diversification, diversified portfolio, Doomsday Clock, Emanuel Derman, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial independence, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, global reserve currency, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, haute cuisine, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, index fund, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kevin Kelly, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, load shedding, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, merger arbitrage, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Network effects, new economy, Nick Leeson, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, nuclear winter, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, profit maximization, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, savings glut, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, special economic zone, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the market place, the medium is the message, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Nature of the Firm, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

There was the turn-of-the-year effect, where stocks seemed to rise in January each year. Small-size firms outperformed large stocks—the small-firm effect. In the loser effect, stocks that had fallen significantly outperformed stocks that performed well in previous periods. There was little relationship between beta (risk) and return. Behavioural economists, such as Tversky, Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler, argued that efficient financial markets were rife with cognitive biases and errors in reasoning and information processing, including overconfidence, overreaction, representative bias, information bias, and the use of linear reasoning. Cliff Asness, a student of Fama and founder of hedge fund AQR Capital Management, exploited these anomalies. Hearing complaints that his strategies were not working, Asness’ wife asked him incredulously: “Let me get this straight.


pages: 700 words: 201,953

The Social Life of Money by Nigel Dodd

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, cashless society, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, credit crunch, cross-subsidies, David Graeber, debt deflation, dematerialisation, disintermediation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial repression, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, informal economy, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kula ring, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, late capitalism, liquidity trap, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mental accounting, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, Peace of Westphalia, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, postnationalism / post nation state, predatory finance, price mechanism, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, remote working, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Satoshi Nakamoto, Scientific racism, seigniorage, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Wave and Pay, WikiLeaks, Wolfgang Streeck, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

And crucially for our discussion here, social relations themselves are the “financial tools” used to manage money in extreme poverty. This, essentially, is culture shaping money. As Zelizer herself has noted (Zelizer 2012: 14–18), there are some suggestive parallels between the process of monetary differentiation that takes place through what she calls earmarking, and the phenomenon that is known by behavioral economists as mental accounting. Mental accounting—defined by Richard Thaler as “a set of cognitive operations used by individuals and households to organize, evaluate, and keep track of financial activities” (Thaler 1999: 183)—takes place when individuals allocate different portions of the monies they possess to distinct cognitive spaces according to how those monies will be used. According to Thaler, people do this primarily because it is more efficient: they save time and effort through not having to think about certain choices where specific portions of their monies are concerned.


pages: 662 words: 180,546

Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown by Philip Mirowski

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Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, constrained optimization, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, debt deflation, deindustrialization, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, full employment, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, incomplete markets, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loose coupling, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Naomi Klein, Nash equilibrium, night-watchman state, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, precariat, prediction markets, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, random walk, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, sealed-bid auction, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Myth of the Rational Market, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, working poor

The impression that economists were in some sense responsible for the existence of these markets became the pretense for the burgeoning literature on “performativity” in the sociology of finance. See MacKenzie et al., Do Economists Make Markets? 57 Washington Post, June 7, 2008. 58 Stiglitz, “The Non-existent Hand.” 59 This distinction has been a crucial component in some contemporary defenses of the EMH. See, for instance, Szafarz, “How Did Crisis-Based Criticisms of Market Efficiency Get It So Wrong?” or the Cassidy interview with Richard Thaler: “I always stress that there are two components to the theory. One, the market price is always right. Two, there is no free lunch: you can’t beat the market without taking on more risk. The no-free-lunch component is still sturdy, and it was in no way shaken by recent events: in fact, it may have been strengthened” (“Rational Irrationality”). 60 S. D. Williamson, “A Defense of Contemporary Economics”; Zingales, “Learning to Live with Not-So-Efficient Markets,” p. 1, 9. 61 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2009/08/11/why-the-efficient-markets-hypothesis-caught-on/: “Economists are scientists, after all.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Much of what looks like a lack of self-control in the modern world may consist of using a discounting rate that was wired into our nervous systems in the iffy world of our pre-state ancestors, when people died much younger and had no institutions that could parlay savings now into returns years later.76 Economists have noted that when people are left to their own devices, they save far too little for their retirement, as if they expect to die in a few years.77 That is the basis for the “libertarian paternalism” of Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein, and other behavioral economists, in which the government would, with people’s consent, tilt the playing field between their current and future selves.78 One example is setting an optimal retirement savings plan as the default, which employees would have to opt out of, rather than as a selection they would have to opt into. Another is to shift the burden of sales taxes onto the least healthy foods.