Self-Signaling: Why Wearing Fakes Makes us Cheat More

In economics we define signaling, in simple terms, as a message sent to a receiver containing information about the party sending it, which is assumed to be credible. A well-known example is sending signals with education. When you walk into a doctors office and see his framed diplomas from prestigious medical schools you trust him more. These diplomas are a signal from the doctor to the patient about their credibility and ability to perform. But this definition involves two parties, one sending and one receiving the information. A concept that is largely overlooked in the field of economics is “self-signaling”. Continue reading Self-Signaling: Why Wearing Fakes Makes us Cheat More

The Science of Decision-Making: Behavioral Economics

Most economic models and theories rely on the assumption that people (consumers, producers, etc.) are rational. The idea of homo economicus, or the “economic human”, represents the perfectly rational and perfectly imaginary individual represented in most of economics. The assumption of rationality keeps models straightforward and results consistent. Rational people buy low and sell high, they always purchase a perfectly balanced bundle of goods that satisfies them completely, and they definitely consider consumer/producer surplus when buying Christmas presents and/or the opportunity costs when buying a house or a car. The economic human is psychologically rational and fundamentally self-interested. However, we Continue reading The Science of Decision-Making: Behavioral Economics

The Cobra Effect

Have you ever tried to help someone but by intervening you just made everyone worse off? Though your intentions were good, your actions had unforeseen and unintended consequences? Are you ever left wondering how your plan could have gone so poorly? If you answered yes to the above questions, then join the club of those who have fallen victim to the cobra effect. The cobra effect refers to instances when the solution to the problem actually makes the problem worse. This is not to say the solutions were shortsighted or based on poor logic. It is merely that people react Continue reading The Cobra Effect