Behavioral finance is a breakout star of the post-2008 economic world. A little-known academic discipline a mere decade ago, this combination of psychology and finance now serves as a catchall explanation for why we act against our own financial best interests time and time again.
It's hard to find a place today where concepts of behavioral finance aren’t being applied to real-world situations. From London to Washington to Sydney, governments are experimenting with the psychology of decision-making and trying to “nudge” citizens toward better behaviors, whether that means saving more for retirement or signing an organ donation card. Meanwhile, businesses see opportunities for higher profits. To grab more attention and dollars from consumers, companies as far afield as banks and fitness-app makers carefully design their offerings with consumers’ decision-making quirks in mind.
Over the past few decades, economics has been the chief driver of success in the National Football League. Teams that best understood the limits and opportunities of the salary cap enjoyed an advantage on the field. You could call it the Age of the Nerd.
The Flat Earth Society has all but disappeared, but the efficient-market hypothesis is alive and well. This week, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to its most tenacious advocate, Eugene F. Fama of the University of Chicago.
For several weeks now, I've been in terrific spirits. It's not that I was depressed before that — I've generally been feeling fine — but I'm talking about another level here, something akin to elation. There are some external explanations for how I'm feeling, but on reflection, I don't think it's fundamentally about what's going on outside me so much as inside. Instead, it's about a very small,...
Customers of an undisclosed mid-Atlantic utility in 2011 received a series of five postcards in the mail informing them that their electricity use would be studied for a month. Their role was passive; they needn't do anything to participate. Just act normal and be studied.
For Elizabeth Warren , the Obama administration adviser setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, simpler mortgage paperwork is a “regulatory sweet spot” that will cut lender costs and borrower confusion.
John Coates, a senior research fellow in neuroscience and finance at the University of Cambridge, has a theory. He says there would be fewer stock market bubbles and crashes if women and older men handled most of the trading. “There is less diversity in the financial world than in the military,” he quips. “On Wall Street, we have one slice of the population -- young men -- running our trading floors. That leads to extreme behavior: They go wilding.”