tisdag 8 februari 2011

Beteendeekonomi och välfärdsstaten

"Basically Bryan an his co-author give a behavioral economics defense of the 'culture of poverty' argument. They argue that if we take the conclusions of behavioral economics seriously then we have to admit the strong possibility that aid to the poor can make the poor worse off."
Karl Smith, "Behavioral Economics and the Welfare State"

Mike Konczal, "Does Behavioral Economics Undermine the Welfare State?"

"Like any field, behavioral economics gives you lots of opportunity to pick and choose, and if you’re willing to be superficial or unscrupulous, you can justify lots of policy positions with it. But on balance I think it cuts in favor of the welfare state. In its popular form, behavioral economics is all about judgment errors that hurt people’s own self-interest, which provide support for the idea that government should attempt to correct for those errors. Forced saving is one example. Robust disclosures are another (although not one I’m particularly optimistic about). Now, there is a valid argument about how effectively government policy can correct for those errors, and at what cost, so maybe we should be humble about the ability of Cass Sunstein to come up with the right correction for every problem. But in principle that seems like the simplest inference to draw.

More fundamentally, behavioral economics throws into question all of the foundations of traditional microeconomics, on which the entire theory of the free market is based./.../"
James Kwak, "Does Behavioral Economics Undermine the Welfare State?", 6 februari


Lotter och låginkomsttagare i USA

"IN WIRED, Jonah Lehrer discusses the logic of lotteries and writes:
While approximately half of Americans buy at least one lottery ticket at some point, the vast majority of tickets are purchased by about 20 percent of the population. These high-frequency players tend to be poor and uneducated, which is why critics refer to lotteries as a regressive tax. (In a 2006 survey, 30 percent of people without a high school degree said that playing the lottery was a wealth-building strategy.) On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5 percent of their income on lotteries—a source of hope for just a few bucks a throw.
That seems like crazy behaviour on the part of the very poor, and yet it fits nicely with the bee sting theory of poverty. Does it make you think paternalistic thoughts? Should it?"
R.A., "Today in Regressive Taxes" Economist Free Exchange 1 feb 2011

"Karelis, a professor at George Washington University, has a simpler but far more radical argument to make: traditional economics just doesn't apply to the poor. When we're poor, Karelis argues, our economic worldview is shaped by deprivation, and we see the world around us not in terms of goods to be consumed but as problems to be alleviated. This is where the bee stings come in: A person with one bee sting is highly motivated to get it treated. But a person with multiple bee stings does not have much incentive to get one sting treated, because the others will still throb. The more of a painful or undesirable thing one has (i.e. the poorer one is) the less likely one is to do anything about any one problem. Poverty is less a matter of having few goods than having lots of problems."
Drake Bennett, "The Sting of Poverty", Boston Globe 30 mars 2008

Om att det är dyrt att vara fattig, se
Anya Schiffrin, "Pay Now, Pay Later", Mother Jones, 2005

Inga kommentarer: