Human beings are predicatably irrational

Posting on behavior economics has become more regular over a few days. I just find this subject so fascinating that I just can’t get over it. The findings of how humans respond to different incentives is really exciting.

I got an email from Karl Lief Bates of Duke University pointing to a book by Prof Dan Ariely (has moved from MIT to Duke University) aptly titled – Predictably Irrational. This article posted on the Duke Research Centre website provides brief information about his book. This para takes the cake:

“We all make the same types of mistakes over and over. It has to do with the basic wiring of our brains,” Ariely says in an exuberant Israeli accent. “Wouldn’t economics make a lot more sense if it were based on how people actually behave, instead of how they should behave?”

And he is joining Duke to set up a Centre on Behavioral economics (wow!, we need more of these centres as I have argued in this paper; I am looking forward to research from this centre)

The emerging field that Ariely hopes to make a formal discipline at Duke is something called Behavioral Economics — the merger of mathematically pristine economic theory with the messy lust and greed of actual human nature. The field seeks nothing less than to understand why investors, employees and customers sometimes make ridiculous choices.

For those interested in his book, here is a very good review from Liz Kolbert. It is actually a review of two books- first by Ariely and second by Thaler (the BE stalwart) and and Sustein. Both tell you the same broad idea- we are predictably irrational.

4 Responses to “Human beings are predicatably irrational”

  1. Ban on smoking by celebirities-right or wrong? « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] the latter believes people are predictably irrational and make the same mistakes time and time again. So to expect them to choose wisely is not the right […]

  2. SEBI regulates advertisement in Mutual Funds- will it work? « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] numerous research in behavioral economics shows that it is actually opposite. Infact, people are predictably irrational and continue to make the same […]

  3. Time for some Bogleisms « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] people are rational and invest over a long-term. But actually people are irrational and moreover predictably irrational.  People usually look to others and rely on professional advice, advertisements etc for […]

  4. Alfreda Says:


    […]Human beings are predicatably irrational « Mostly Economics[…]…

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