Rules of ascent When asked in the 1920s why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, George Mallory notoriously quipped: ‘Because it’s there.’ It was a flippant remark, of course, but also an instance of what Friedrich Nietzsche had called ‘superficiality … Continue reading The harder the better
Social pressure or punishment? Using behavioural insights for compliance For policymakers wanting to use behavioural insights to improve compliance, “investing in longer-term development of social norms may be the best course”, argues an evidence review published by the Australia and … Continue reading Going with the herd
Norway, the happiest country in the world? I’m not so sure It’s always strange to live in a country that is listed as being one of the very best. When you have everything outwardly, it can make you look inwards. … Continue reading The law of Jante
Why Behavioral Approaches to Fighting Poverty Are So Controversial Behavioral interventions geared at reducing poverty and inequality are inherently controversial. After all, if the problem is that Group A has a lot more money than Group B, why not give … Continue reading Poverty vs. inequality
The Real Problem With Hypocrisy What, exactly, is the problem with hypocrisy? When someone condemns the behavior of others, why do we find it so objectionable if we learn he engages in the same behavior himself? The answer may seem … Continue reading The dislike of hypocrisy
Why Ethical People Make Unethical Choices Most companies have ethics and compliance policies that get reviewed and signed annually by all employees. “Employees are charged with conducting their business affairs in accordance with the highest ethical standards,” reads one such … Continue reading The importance of examples
The economist’s guide to gift-giving “There are worlds of money wasted, at this time of year, in getting things that nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got.” That was Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1850, reminding us that … Continue reading Is giving gifts socially efficient?