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Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral…
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Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

by Richard H. Thaler

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Inspiring account of a rich academic life and insightful chronicle of how behavorial economics moved from the fringes of economics to the mainstream and has been increasingly embraced by governments. ( )
  ajungherr | Mar 15, 2018 |
If you are interested in behavioral economics at all...Read this book. If you are interested in psychology or economics, then I would suggest considering this book. ( )
  JustinKimball | Feb 14, 2018 |
Somewhat interesting account of how economics and finance were not predicting real world outcomes so that Mr. Thaler and others were pressed to re-think current theory and devise new theories and testing methods. ( )
  ShadowBarbara | Jan 27, 2017 |
Who knew behavioral economics were so incredibly interesting? Richard Thaler, obviously, Throughout this very readable book, he gives relatable examples and helps readers--even those of us who haven't taken an econ class in years--understand his argument. ( )
  evymac | Oct 20, 2016 |
Thaler is one of the founders of "behavioral economics", and this book describes the evolution of that approach with wit and verve. Behavioral economics, of course, is based on the observation that real people don't behave like the rational economic actors of mainstream economic theory. For a long time, these divergences, or anomalies as Thaler calls them, were dismissed as trivial "noise" that didn't challenge the underlying assumption. But as time passed, and Thaler and a growing cohort of like-minded economists found more and more anomalies, it got harder and harder to argue that they didn't matter. At present, behavioral economics hasn't taken over the field: the classical model is still taught, and still beloved in many quarters. That may be because behavioral economics has nothing like the coherent and even beautiful theoretical underpinning of the classical model; an understandable reason for sticking with the assumption of rationality, but not a good one.

So where does this leave us? It should leave economics a humbler but more helpful field of study. Basing theories on observed behavior rather than on axioms about behavior should provide a more accurate description of how economic actors work, and thus lead to sounder policy prescriptions. For individuals, knowing something about behavioral economics can be very, very helpful -- knowing that many people make the wrong financial choices can help one to avoid those choices. In that regard, Thaler's discussion of investor behavior could be used as the basis of a useful checklist on investment decisions -- I will not let loss aversion make me panic, I will not overtrade, etc. etc.

The book is fun to read, as well as very enlightening. I recommend it highly, especially to anyone involved in financial markets. ( )
  annbury | Jan 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393080943, Hardcover)

Get ready to change the way you think about economics.

Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans―predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth―and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words, we misbehave. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments.

Coupling recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behavior, Thaler enlightens readers about how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world. He reveals how behavioral economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything from household finance to assigning faculty offices in a new building, to TV game shows, the NFL draft, and businesses like Uber.

Laced with antic stories of Thaler’s spirited battles with the bastions of traditional economic thinking, Misbehaving is a singular look into profound human foibles. When economics meets psychology, the implications for individuals, managers, and policy makers are both profound and entertaining.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:48:36 -0400)

"Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words, we misbehave. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments"--Amazon.com.… (more)

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