Magazine
Latest Issue

The bestselling persuaders

Behavioural economics has been the toast of both politicians and publishers in recent years. But the emperor’s new clothes are starting to look threadbare

By Tom Chatfield   November 2009

Superfreakonomics By Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner (Allen Lane, £20) On Rumours By Cass Sunstein (Allen Lane, £16.99)

Over the past two decades, economists have been rediscovering human behaviour—real, irrational, confusing human behaviour, that is, rather than the predictable actions of the “economic man” who used to be pressed into service whenever modelling was to be done. It’s a field that has conquered not only the academies but also the bestseller lists and the policy seminars—and that, given the role played by human greed and ignorance in the recent financial crisis, seems either more pertinent or more…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect