Monday, April 12, 2010

Gerard O'Neill - Deliver Us Each Day Our Daily Nudge

Gerard puts forward a critical view of the role that behavioural economics might have on the policy space. I scribbled some brief points at the end of his post. Part of Gerard's comments are inspired by some recent Cato Institute critiques on the potential role of behavioural economics as a new form of paternalism. Gerard distills the key fear that people have of the policy aspects of behavioural economics, namely that they represent another power grab by the state.

We will be debating these and other issues on May 28th.  It would be enormously silly for senior figures in policy, business, academia and other sectors in Ireland to ignore this literature or to simply pigeon hole it into an existing category and dismiss it. With this in mind, some questions for May 28th are starting to shape up, drawing from interactions with many people. The 2008 session held by DGSanco is well worth consulting for some food for thought.

1. What is behavioural economics? What has been going on in the recent literature?

2. What recent policy applications have come from behavioural economics? What was the rationale behind these applications? How have they worked? How should people working on issues such as taxation, healthcare, education, pensions and related issues from a policy perspective integrate this literature into their work.

3. What are the implications of behavioural economics for business? What does behavioural economics add to areas such as marketing, communications, advertising and so on?

4. How should regulation respond to the recent literature in behavioural economics? For example, what are the implications of the recent literature for financial regulation, consumer protection and so on?

5. What are the implications of behavioural economics for the teaching of economics, psychology, business and related disciplines in Ireland?

6. What are the ideological dimensions of behavioural economics, particularly as it applies to policy? What political dimensions are operant?

2 comments:

Rob Gillanders said...

I think Dr. Ian Malcolm (from Jurassic Park) said it best when he said "your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."

Cathal. said...

shat's happening on may 28? (sorry, i admit to being an occasional rather than avid reader...)