Entries by jamesz

The equation for happiness

As the world starts to move from focusing on growth to wellbeing a group of neuroscientists decided to test people’s brains to check whether ‘happiness’ occurred as predicted. The BBC reports that they found “We can look at past decisions and outcomes and predict exactly how happy you will say you are at any point in […]

QOTD: Risky business

…assuming that decision processes are reducible to one-size-fits-all sets of axioms has not and will not produce a descriptively adequate account of human behaviour under risk and uncertainty. Researchers find that people’s risk preferences are not stable. How risk averse is an individual? That depends on the situation.

This is why paternalism exists

The gulf between theoretical, efficient markets and real markets never ceases to surprise me. This paper from 2005 evaluates the saving consumers were able to make on their power bill by switching plans: …we find that the subsets of consumers who claimed to be switching exclusively for price reasons appropriated only between 26-39% of the maximum […]

Marketing is all about the story

When you think of marketing geniuses there probably aren’t a lot of economists on the list. Yet, according to the Washington Post, economists are increasingly taking on the role of a company’s public face. In a data-chic world, a chief economist is the new marketing must-have. Economists are useful because they are experts at interpreting […]

Football referees aren’t just wrong, they’re biased

Football penalties are often controversial and the first couple of days of the World Cup have already provided one dubious decision. Luckily for the referee’s personal safety it favoured the hosts, Brazil. But, according to Randal Olson’s fascinating analysis of penalty decisions, there may be more than luck involved: 70.6% of all penalty kicks were awarded to […]