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The rise of behavioral economics: Richard Thaler's misbehaving

Author

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  • Cass R. Sunstein

    () (Harvard Law School)

Abstract

Behavioral economics emerged in the 1980s, above all because of the creative work of Richard Thaler, exploring the relevance of the endowment effect, mental accounting, concern for fairness, and other "anomalies" from the standpoint of standard economic theory. His engaging book, Misbehaving, offers a narrative account of how these ideas came about, and also explores some of their implications for the future. Continuing challenges include making predictions when behavioral findings cut in different directions (as, for example, where optimistic bias conflicts with availability bias); understanding the line between nudging and manipulation; and applying behavioral findings to pressing public policy challenges, such as poverty, education, terrorism, and climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Cass R. Sunstein, 2018. "The rise of behavioral economics: Richard Thaler's misbehaving," Journal of Behavioral Economics for Policy, Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE), vol. 2(1), pages 53-57, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:beh:jbepv1:v:2:y:2018:i:1:p:53-57
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Breman, Anna, 2011. "Give more tomorrow: Two field experiments on altruism and intertemporal choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1349-1357.
    2. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1986. "Fairness and the Assumptions of Economics," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 285-300, October.
    3. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Richard Thaler; Nobel Prize; behavioral economics; endowment effect; value of a statistical life; Nudge; misbehaving;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • E71 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on the Macro Economy
    • G41 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making in Financial Markets
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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