Friday, March 4, 2011


Going with the grain: influencing behaviour through public policy

En Paul Dolan acaba de fer una conferència a LSE: "Influencing the Financial Behaviour of Individuals: the MINDSPACE Way". La confluència entre economia del comportament i psicologia cognitiva agafa força i comença a aterrar a la pràctica.
Dolan maintains that financial information and education that is designed to change minds can change behaviour, but tends to work best on those who are most open to being informed and educated. He argues that recent developments in behavioural theory show that changing contexts can have a more powerful effect on behaviour; that is, behaviour can be altered by making subtle changes to the choice architecture. On this note, he proposes that attention be drawn to robust effects for changing behaviour that operate largely on the automatic system. The first letter of each of these effects, which form the rather convenient mnemonic, MINDSPACE, are summarised as follows:
Messenger: we are heavily influenced by who communicates information.
Incentives: our responses to incentives are shaped by predictable mental shortcuts.
Norms: we are strongly influenced by what others do (cf. Akerlof and Kranton).
Defaults: we ‘go with the flow’ of pre-set options.
Salience: our attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us.
Priming: our acts are often influenced by sub-conscious cues.
Affect: our emotional associations can powerfully shape our actions.
Commitments: we seek to be consistent with our public promises, and reciprocate acts.
Ego: we act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves.
Dolan identifies two reasons why new models of behaviour change are needed. First, he maintains that traditional theories and methods leave a substantial proportion of the variance in behaviour unexplained. Second, he contends that the recent accumulation of evidence in behavioural economics and social and cognitive psychology leaves us in no doubt that human decisions are susceptible to subtle changes in the environment. As such, in contrast to education and basic information, he salutes his MINDSPACE framework as offering the potential to influence and inform finance-related behaviours and initiatives in effective and equitable ways.
Tema a seguir d'aprop, els incentius per a millorar la salut individual cal construir-los tenint un referent, Mindspace en pot ser un.

PD. Propera conferència, Bruno Frey 18 de maig.

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