Richard Thaler with Malcolm Gladwell on Misbehaving

Behavioral economist Richard Thaler talks to bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell on the implications of behavioral economics on how we think about the world, from our personal lives to business to society. They will have you retooling your grocery list and retirement strategies, and lead managers to rethink every aspect of their business.



this is an important point someone who
has always been the the A+ student this
the court feel are the obvious smartest
kid in the room right golden boy is
someone who is who is not powerfully
motivated to disrupt the status quo
right right right is rare going I see
where you’re going
look no I think it’s an obvious point
that if I were if I had been really good
at doing economics I wouldn’t have had
to do this you know all right
I mean I sure when Rosen my advisor I
quote him in the in in an article in The
New York Times he told the reporter who
asked about my career as a grad student
quote we didn’t expect much of him yeah
and you it’s always good to have you
I think it’s been pure
stupidity that we haven’t been building
roads bridges and so forth
for the last seven years when we we
could we can borrow at a negative
interest rate and use otherwise idle

resources I mean it’s just mind boggling
that we haven’t done that and and you
don’t have to be a Keynesian to think

that so whether or not this would
stimulate the economy let’s just suppose

we do just cost-benefit analysis we have
bridges that are all going to fall down
all around the country we could be
building them with construction crews
that have nothing to do and borrowing at
zero interest rate and we’re going to
have to do start doing it as soon as the
economy picks up when it will cost a lot
more so complete stupidity

The dangerous myth we still believe about the Lehman Brothers bust

The central error in the popular post-crisis consensus was the idea that naive believers in the self-policing efficiency of markets led us over the precipice. Greenspan was painted as the high priestof this laissez-fairy-tale delusion, and people seized on a moment when he appeared to plead guilty: Under the pressure of congressional questioning, he confessed to a “flaw” in his pro-market ideology. What Greenspan meant was that all belief systems — whether pro-government or pro-market — are imperfect. But that subtlety was lost. Quoted and requoted without proportion or context, Greenspan’s purported mea culpa threatened to define his legacy.

.. Bestsellers by two Nobel Prize-winning behaviorists — Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler — encouraged people to see the crisis as proof that this new science had been ignored, as did contributions from the sublime storyteller Michael Lewis.

.. Contrary to myth, Greenspan himself never believed that markets were efficient. In his youth, he wrote lucidly about bubbles and crashes and regarded market inefficiencies as so obvious that he sought to exploit them by day trading

.. As Fed chairman years later, Greenspan frequently reminded his colleagues that periods of prosperity could be punctured by “irrational exuberance” in financial markets.

.. political constraints, not intellectual failures, prevented policymakers from curbing the housing mania. Nobody remembers that in 2001 the Greenspan Fed banned the most abusive subprime mortgages, for the good reason that the ban was circumvented. But why was it circumvented? The answer is that the capture of Congress by financial lobbies ensured the balkanization of regulation into an alphabet soup of agencies, many of them underfunded and ineffective.

.. Nonbank mortgage lenders, for example, came under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission, which had no resources to conduct preemptive supervision. Small wonder that the sharp practices in the industry became egregious, or that nonbanks continue to dominate today’s mortgage business.

.. The Greenspan Fed also tried to force more capital into the banks it supervised, but it soon realized that this would drive risk-taking into various “shadow banks” that lay outside its authority

.. Greenspan also pushed for tougher regulation of the Federal National Mortgage Association and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (a.k.a. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), the government-backed mortgage giants, presciently observing that they posed “a systemic risk sometime in the future.” Fannie’s lobbyists hit back with a TV ad warning Congress not to back the Greenspan plan. That buried it.

.. The important lesson of the crisis is not that markets are fallible, which every thoughtful person knew already. It is that essential regulations — the sort that the supposedly anti-regulation Greenspan actually favored — are stymied by fractured government machinery and rapacious lobbies.

.. Even today, the financial system has multiple overseers answerable to multiple congressional committees, because all this multiplying produces extra opportunities for lawmakers to extract campaign contributions.

.. Vast government subsidies still encourage Americans to take big mortgages; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac still operate, despite endless talk of breaking them up. And although post-2008 regulations have ensured that banks are better capitalized, the lobbyists are pushing back. Merely a decade after the Lehman bankruptcy brought the world economy to its knees, the Trump administration is listening to them.