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Book review: Misbehaving: How Economics Became Behavioural by Richard Thaler

By Serena Kutchinsky  

51v4YUkgoFL(Allen Lane, £20)

Are humans programmed to act in our own best interests? Traditional economics says yes, placing rational decision-making at the core of its theories, predictions and policy prescriptions. Behavioural economics disagrees, arguing that humans are unpredictable creatures, whose quirks need to be taken into account. The theoretical tussle between these two fields forms the core of the new book by the US economist Richard Thaler, who co-authored the seminal work on this topic, Nudge, in 2008.

Having dedicated his career to this hybrid of economics and psychology which analyses the economic impact…

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