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.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Ten Happiest Jobs (via Forbes)

There are some surprises in the ten happiest jobs, as reported a General Social Survey by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago.

You can check them here: 10HappiestJobs

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Carbon footprint of the world's biggest cities (via CNN)

The graphic details the world's 10 most populated cities and their annual carbon emissions. There is currently no standard approach by which cities measure their carbon output. The figures represented within this chart are drawn from cities' own inventories, the methodologies for which vary from city to city.

Here is the map: 10co2emission

Monday, 19 December 2011

Why Do People Defend Unjust, Inept, and Corrupt Systems? (via SimoleonSense)

Why do we stick up for a system or institution we live in—a government, company, or marriage—even when anyone else can see it is failing miserably? Why do we resist change even when the system is corrupt or unjust? A new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science, illuminates the conditions under which we’re motivated to defend the status quo—a process called “system justification.”

System justification isn’t the same as acquiescence, explains Aaron C. Kay, a psychologist at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, who co-authored the paper with University of Waterloo graduate student Justin Friesen. “It’s pro-active. When someone comes to justify the status quo, they also come to see it as what should be.”

Reviewing laboratory and cross-national studies, the paper illuminates four situations that foster system justification: system threat, system dependence, system inescapability, and low personal control.

If you want to know more about this study, you can check it here: SystemsStatusQuo

If You Act Your Age, What’s Your Carbon Footprint? (via NYT)

We’ve all heard that some countries produce more carbon dioxide per capita than others, with the United States among the leaders of the pack. But how do your individual emissions change over the course of a lifetime?

A new study plots carbon dioxide emissions related to the typical American’s habits over a lifetime.

As it turns out, if you’re enjoying senior citizen discounts, you’re probably much kinder to the planet than you were in your slightly younger days, but your 20-something grandchildren are kinder still.

Age is a telling predictor of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study published in the journal Demography.

If you 5 minutes, you can check everything here: StudyAgeEmissions

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

In Tuition Game, Popularity Rises With Price (via New York Times)

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. — John Strassburger, the president of Ursinus College, a small liberal arts institution here in the eastern Pennsylvania countryside, vividly remembers the day that the chairman of the board of trustees told him the college was losing applicants because of its tuition.

It was too low.

So early in 2000 the board voted to raise tuition and fees 17.6 percent, to $23,460 (and to include a laptop for every incoming student to help soften the blow). Then it waited to see what would happen.

Ursinus received nearly 200 more applications than the year before. Within four years the size of the freshman class had risen 35 percent, to 454 students. Applicants had apparently concluded that if the college cost more, it must be better

“It’s bizarre and it’s embarrassing, but it’s probably true,” Dr. Strassburger said.

If you have 7 minutes, you can understant why the fact that families associate price with quality, as originated that prices with education to rise faster than inflation: TuitionPriceRisesPopularity

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Endowment Effect & Adoption (via New York Times)

Elizabeth Fitzsimons, a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, tell us her and his husband impressive story of adopting a chinese baby girl. The story is touching and impressive, and it shows how the Endowment Effect (people place a higher value on objects they own than objects that they do not) can be at work, even when we adopt a child. It also has a happy end!
If you have 7 minutes, you can check all the story here: Endowment&Adoption

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Moral Molecule (via Neuroeconomicstudies)

Paul Zak, 49, is a scientist, author and entrepreneur known for his groundbreaking research into oxytocin, a brain chemical he calls the “moral molecule” because it helps explain why people act responsibly, even when nobody is watching. A professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University, Zak is a pioneer in the emerging field of “neuroeconomics,” which studies how the brain affects economic decisions. His book, The Moral Molecule: Vampire Economics and the New Science of Good and Evil, will be published by Dutton in 2012.

If you have 3 minutes, you can read an interesting interview with the "father" of Neuroeconomics: InterviewPaulZak

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Solar power is contagious — but not quite virulent (via The Washington Post)

There’s a new paper out from Bryan Bollinger of NYU’s Stern School and Kenneth Gillingham of Yale finding that, in California, solar power seems to be contagious. Having a bunch fo neighbors who are installing solar panels on their roofs makes a person more likely to try out solar for him- or herself. No surprise, peer pressure can be a powerful motivator. Specifically, the authors find, “a one percent increase in the zip code installed base leads to just over a one percent increase in the adoption rate.”

That explains why solar tends to cluster in specific California neighborhoods. (Interestingly, the authors note, the majority of solar adopters cite financial reasons, while only 26 percent say they’re installing panels out of concern for the environment.) But does it mean that rooftop solar adoption will eventually reach critical mass and trigger a fast chain reaction? John Farrell of the New Rules Project crunches the numbers and urges caution: “[I]f solar PV was being installed only once every 100 days at the outset, the peer pressure effect will take over 15 years to reduce the time between neighborhood installs to 10 days.” In other words, he says, “solar is contagious, but it’s not yet very virulent.”

You can check here the original paper and some extra data on the issue: SolarPowerPeerPressure

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Bottled water trend may be harmful to teeth (via Nature)

The trend for bottled water could be damaging teeth, according to new research conducted in America. According to a study published in the January/February 2009 issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, bottled water fans are missing out on the valuable fluoride found in tap water. Researchers tested the fluoride content in more than 100 different samples of bottled water, which fell into six categories, distilled, drinking/purified, spring/artesian, mineral, fluoride-added and flavour-added.

If you have 1 minute, you can check everything here: BottleWater

During REM Sleep Stress Chemicals Shut Down And The Brain Processes Emotional Experiences (via MNT)

They say time heals all wounds, and new research from the University of California, Berkeley, indicates that time spent in dream sleep can help.

UC Berkeley researchers have found that during the dream phase of sleep, also known as REM sleep, our stress chemistry shuts down and the brain processes emotional experiences and takes the painful edge off difficult memories.

The findings offer a compelling explanation for why people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as war veterans, have a hard time recovering from painful experiences and suffer reoccurring nightmares.They also offer clues into why we dream.

if you have 5 minutes, you can check everything here: DreamSleep&Stress