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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Behavioural economics meets rock and roll: the power of framing

At the end of January 1981, the late John Lennon dominated the UK pop music charts with the sadly posthumous Imagine at no. 1 and Woman at no. 2. Adam Ant and Blondie were at no. 4 and no. 5 and we’ll draw a veil over Phil Collins at no. 3. Around the same date, Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky published a paper in Science, The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice.  

The paper, now celebrated, demonstrated that people are sensitive to the framing of a decision problem, so that small differences in the presentation of data can have a substantial effect on their decisions. For example, consumers are influenced in their decisions by how choices and options are presented to them. In terms of behavioural economics, it’s clear that framing the same choice in terms of losses instead of gains can alter the decision. 

Recently, one of us Behaviour Workshoppers was approached with an interesting proposition, namely to record an interview about economics, behavioural economics, behaviour change, nudging and living carfree. So far so good. But rather than “would you like to record an interview on these subjects”, what really captured the attention was the framing – the invitation was to appear as a guest on the Economic Rockstar podcast. Same content, same issues, but what a frame!  Impossible to turn it down.

So hats off to Frank Conway, the man behind the Economic Rockstar podcast, for a brilliant piece of re-framing: how could anyone with a pulse refuse the invitation? Is it economics? Is it rock and roll? Listen up and decide for yourself – here’s the podcast. Or download the MP3. Meantime, Kahneman (still going) Tversky (sadly, no more), and rock and roll, (staggering on) we salute you! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for such an amazing tribute. To have John Lennon and myself mentioned in the same article is surreal. And then to to it off with the Greats of Behaviorial Economics. Thanks again Stephen for joining me on the Economic Rockstar podcast.