124 - Econ4: Uncovering how decision-making shapes individuals and society through behavioral public economics featuring Evan Rose and Hunt Allcott
In the world of economics, researchers at Microsoft are examining a range of complex systems—from those that impact the technologies we use to those that inform the laws and policies we create—through the lens of a social science that goes beyond the numbers to better understand people and society.
In this episode, Senior Principal Researcher Hunt Allcott talks with Postdoctoral Researcher Evan Rose about Allcott’s work exploring the everyday decisions people face, like buying fuel-efficient cars or taking out payday loans, and how a clearer understanding of these decisions can shape meaningful public policy. Allcott shares how his and others’ research shows that policy can often have complex outcomes resulting in hidden benefits and drawbacks, as in the case of taxes on sugary beverages. The researchers also discuss why individuals often feel the competing motivations of making bad versus good decisions—a tension that often lies front-and-center in scenarios primed for behavioral public economics research.