A Little Psychology Does Economics Some Good

Understanding behavior isn't a way to justify government intervention.

So you think people are rational?

Source: Ullstein bild via Getty Images

In Chapter 17 of his new book, "Misbehaving," behavioral economics founder Richard Thaler describes a conference that was held at the University of Chicago in 1985 solely for the purpose of debating the value of the new field. That’s a pretty remarkable event -- new areas of economics research usually get lots of buzz, but a special conference like that is rare. It shows that behavioral econ didn’t just generate excitement; it also generated a sense of threat. 

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