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Symposium 2015

Virtual Library File - Behavioral Economics: A Tutorial for Behavior Analysts in Practice

The Challenge

Most human thinking is automatic, not deliberative. It is based on what effortlessly comes to mind. Human thinking is also socially conditioned.  Beliefs about what others are doing and expecting sha ...

Most human thinking is automatic, not deliberative. It is based on what effortlessly comes to mind. Human thinking is also socially conditioned.  Beliefs about what others are doing and expecting shape an individual’s own preferences. And humans don’t face situations as “tabula rasa,” but instead interpret situations against the backdrop of their own understandings shaped by culture and existing social patterns.

Behavioral economics initially began as an academic attempt to challenge the notion of rational consumer theory and traditional economics with experimental evidence and psychological insights. Recently, however, behavioral economics continues to rise in popularity not only in behavioral sciences but also for the purpose of public policy. This article provides an overview of the principles comprising behavioral economic perspectives and discusses four concepts of behavior analysis (demand functions, reinforce competition, open versus closed economies, and discounting), which are relevant to behavioral economics and have major implication for designing smart policies.