Episode 1: What Is Behavioral Economics?

Hello friends,

I am planning on embarking on an epic quest, and I want you to come with me on my journey.

Have you heard of behavioral economics? It’s a very fun, interesting field of research that combines decision making, social behavior, and brain science with our everyday human actions.

I’ve been exploring the topic in-depth, and I want to bring you along to share my findings. The purpose of it all is to de-mystify why we humans do what we do. That, after all, really is the point of economics (that and lots of math).

I’ve found 100 Things That Behavioral Economics Can Tell Us About People. How you may ask? I’ve read the research papers. And not the fun “pop-sciencey” articles and books that famous behavioral economists have written. No! I’ve read the research papers behind the books. Hundreds of research papers. I’ve poured over data, figures, tables, and P, R, and T values.

From that wealth of knowledge, I collated, consolidated, and extracted the important (and statistically significant) takeaways from the research. As of this writing it’s 26481 words on 114 pages of research notes alone. And that’s just my notes; I’m just starting now to write this up in a format that you, the readers, can understand without your eyes glazing over in an econometric fog.

Some of the research is about brain mechanisms of behavior. But because we are still in the early stages of being able to see what is actually going on in the brain, most of the studies use the tried and true method of live experiments in the real world to describe and explain the sometimes strange behavior and choices we humans make.

Some of the research results are intuitive, but deserve exploring an answer as to why they are true. Some of the results are not intuitive and make us humans seem stupid. They deserve exploring an answer as well.

Finally, there are big questions about human society and the impact that behavioral economics has on it. Hopefully there are some answers that will provide clarity to those big questions as well.

To help guide you I’ll be using what I call “mind-journeys”. These are detailed narrations, where you can put yourself in the shoes of the person making a decision to help explain these complex topics.

It is going to be so fun! I hope you’ll join me. I hope I can make it to my goal of 100 things. I hope you find the information useful, and fascinating, and maybe it will explain us humans just a little bit more.

Thanks,

Guthrie Weinschenk

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