23 June, 2008

Politicians, economists and decision making

Two interesting - and related - articles in the Times in the last two days.

The comment central blog page asks how we can change people without introducing more legislation, and then lays out 5 means of doing it.

The article covers the same issue in more depth.

Given the popularity of books explaining incentive structures (such as freakonomics) and other aspects of decision making in the economic field (The Armchair Economist), I'm glad that 'the dismal science' is once again being considered by the public.

I also far prefer to change behaviour by means other than legislation (ctrl+F "hotel towels" here)

But then I ask myself, why do I find indirect and subtle methods of behavioural change more acceptable? I think it's sledgehammer/nut, but I'm not sure.

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