Sunday, May 31, 2009

Behavioural Economics: Irish Emancipation Style

Thaler and Sunstein would have to be writing for a long time to match the behavioural cunning of the Catholic Emancipation movement of the 1820's in Ireland.

The poet Raftery describes the peer pressure they created for people to contribute (from O'Tuathaigh - Ireland Before the Famine)

"I exhort everybody, dont leave yourself open to insult,
I will sing your praises always if you but pay the Catholic rent,
Sure, a farthing a week doesn't amount to much in a month
And let ye not run the risk of scandal or shame"

Such a combination of working with temporal framing and anticipated regret is about as good as it gets Nudge-Wise. If you look at the Catholic Association and the Temperance Movement at the time, they pretty much employed every behavioural economic trick under the sun.

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