There are Free Lunches Statement of Intentions

There are Free Lunches: Behavioral Clues to Live Happy in the Economic World is a blog that intends to present updated and relevant information about the "hidden" and only recently uncovered dimensions of the economic science: the behavioral factors. With this blog we intend to promote in Europe and in the rest of the World, the top research articles and perspectives on behavioral economics, decision making, consumer behavior, and general behavioral science. We aim to be followed by journalists, academics, managers, civil servants, and everyone who wishes to improve their daily interaction with the economic world and consequently, their lives' happiness.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Behavioral Economists Establish a Beachhead Within Obama Administration (via Bloomberg)

Peter R. Orszag, the White House budget director, plans to resign this summer, the first of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet to do so. He leaves behind an indelible mark on two of the President’s signature issues: the $862 billion economic stimulus plan and the $940 billion health- care reform law, both of which he had a major hand in drafting.

In another, less visible arena, Orszag’s imprint could be just as big. He was one of the Administration’s most prominent devotees of behavioral economics -- the study of what drives consumers to part with their money as they pick one product, retailer, or provider over another. If you give consumers better information and subtly push them in the right direction, the thinking goes, they can be coaxed, not commanded, into buying healthier foods, consuming less energy, and taking out more affordable mortgages, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its June 28 issue.

At the Office of Management & Budget, Orszag, 41, created a team of like-minded adherents, including Cass R. Sunstein, Obama’s regulatory czar and the co-author of Nudge, a behavioralist manifesto. They have quietly established a beachhead, influencing major sections of the health-care reform law and the financial-regulation overhaul Congress is about to complete. Their handiwork can be seen in proposed rules ranging from mine safety to retirement savings, tire durability, and food labels.

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