About 50 years ago, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky started to take on the neoclassical doctrine of rational, self-interested behaviour. It turned out to be a destructive process. The two psychologists showed how humans systematically behave differently than homo economicus1 would in a range of situations.
NudgeFrance est une association créée en 2015 pour permettre le développement de l’économie comportementale grâce à une approche nudge.
Son objectif est de promouvoir cette stratégie auprès des spécialistes mais également du grand public. Pour cela, un concours destiné aux étudiants est organisé afin de proposer un nudge innovant qui encouragerait des comportements écologiques.
Studying economic theory often feels like looking at a very different world than the one in which we live every day. By using concepts likes rational choice theory or utility maximising agents, traditional economic models certainly gain in tractability and sometimes in insightfulness. Nevertheless, try explaining to a friend how he should behave to maximise his utility when choosing beers at the supermarket, or how rationality requires him to quit smoking. You will quickly understand the gap between economic theory and real world economic agents. Not that it is useless, of course, but it lacks in realism. The models assumptions and their results have digressed from the concrete actions and decisions taken by consumers and firms. Even for us, studying economics everyday, it is uncertain whether our courses help us to make better decisions.
We have all seen it: Someone asks what you study and you see their eyes glaze over in boredom, as you try to convince them that economics is cool. For most non-economists, the subject is just a bunch of numbers, equations, and spreadsheets with some fuzzy link to business, profits, bankers, and other evil things. They never seem to understand that, at its heart, economics is about how society works — and ultimately how we human beings work.