Tuesday 28 April 2020

Behavioural economist of the week

According to behavioural economists, behavioural economists have special insights into how fallible human beings actually behave in the real world. This sets them apart from mere normal economists who make flawed predictions based on unrealistic assumptions about rationality and self-interest.

Because behavioural economists are so terrific, they are able to come up with policies that avoid unintended consequences and encourage optimal decision making.

Take, for example, Professor Eyal Winter, a behavioural economist and government advisor...

Pubs could limit Brits to three pints when the lockdown is lifted, a Government adviser has suggested.

Professor Eyal Winter suggested Brits were "starving" for pubs, and the Government would bring in a drink limit to help them stay safe.

... He suggested landlords could ration how much beer they serve to two or three pints. Customers would then be politely told to go home.

I am not a behavioural economist but I humbly suggest that landlords who have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy by having to shut their pubs for months will be in no mood to turn away punters just as they are getting going.

I further suggest that anyone who wants a fourth pint will head to the next pub and continue drinking.

Finally, I contend that forcing people go on a pub crawl when they were perfectly happy staying in their local will help, rather than hinder, the transmission of contagious disease.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

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