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.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

O2 #2 Inside the Coalition's controversial 'Nudge Unit' (via The Telegraph)

Deep inside Whitehall, psychologists are finding ways to make you insulate your loft, pay your taxes, and even quit smoking. Is the Coalition's controversial 'Nudge Unit' finally paying off?

Back in the dark ages of early 2011, the Cabinet Office began grappling with one of the most serious issues facing our age: loft insulation. A curious anomaly was emerging in official statistics — that no one wanted it. Huge subsidies had been ploughed into lagging and rolls of fibreglass; there were generously-incentivised installation schemes, that would pay for themselves within months. It was, to use non-Whitehall patois, a no-brainer. And yet public adoption rates were minuscule. Policymakers were baffled. 
Step forward, then, a new Government team, with a new way of thinking.
Using research, plus a smidgen of common sense, they quickly identified the problem: laziness. More specifically, the sheer hassle of clearing an attic before you can insulate it. This alone was deterring us from taking up, effectively, a free lunch. And so, in a pilot trial in September 2011, they suggested a simple solution: that insulation firms offer to clear the lofts first, and dispose of our unwanted junk. In weeks, the uptake increased threefold, even though it cost the customer more. And when this service was subsidised to cost price, there was a fivefold increase.
Chalk up another success to the Behavioural Insights Team. Since 2009, this handful of academics has been working, largely without fanfare, to subtly alter the ways we act, look after ourselves and obey the law.
Check the rest of the article about the "Nudge Unit" here: NudgeUnit 

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