Work Requirements Are (Socially) Toxic Sludge Work requirements for anti-poverty programs don’t encourage work, as their proponents claim. Instead, the evidence indicates, these misguided policies make it harder for people to maintain or find employment. Their principal effect is stripping … Continue reading Anti-poverty programs
When Cash Is Not the Best Thank You Assume you are going to a friend’s home for dinner. Having had no time to pick up a bottle of wine, instead you give your host $30. Nobel laureate Alvin Roth calls … Continue reading Repugnant transactions
When the Bully Is the Boss Senator Amy Klobuchar’s nascent campaign is fending off a stream of stories from former staffers that she was a volatile, highhanded boss who often demeaned and humiliated people who worked for her. She has … Continue reading Does being tough help?
The most effective public policy and practice nudges of 2018 Nudges often only influence a small fraction of the target group because they preserve choice by definition, as opposed to incentives or penalties, but are still good value as they … Continue reading Nudging public servants
When targets and metrics are bad for business There’s an old fable from Soviet Russia that goes something like this: A nail factory manager (we’ll call him “Big Boss”) wants his workers to produce more, more, more! So, he decides … Continue reading Goodhart’s Law
Economics and the Honor System There is a farm in Nantucket with hundreds of chickens, cucumbers, squash, and other produce. When I needed eggs, I could ask the farmer to walk among the chickens (who were nearby) and collect a … Continue reading The impact of the honor system
Fitness trackers turn health into a game that users rarely win In August, Google announced a major redesign for its health tracking platforms: Google Fit for Androids and Wear OS for iPhones. Instead of simple step counts, users will now … Continue reading Rewards for fitness