Dan Ariely y la economía conductual

Eso dice la Wikipedia, conductual. Y quién soy yo para llevarle la contraria a la Wikipedia. Básicamente, es una rama que considera factores psicológicos en la toma de decisiones económicas. Vamos, las veces que nos equivocamos en valorar la conveniencia de realizar un gasto, o de recibir un beneficio, porque intervienen otros elementos más allá de los puramente racionales. Dan Ariely es uno de sus grandes divulgadores, con un par de libros bastante recomendables (aunque menos convincentes de lo que sería deseable). En este caso, con formato de entrevista, recomienda 5 libros sobre el tema. Una lista que tiene pinta de ser de lo más interesante.

Pero me resulta especialmente llamativo el final, cuando le preguntan cuál debe ser la relación entre las ideas psicológicas y las económica. El final de su respuesta es:

Where economics should take behavioural economics into account is when it comes to implications and applications in the real world. Unlike other disciplines, economics is not just a descriptive study, it’s also a prescriptive study. It tells policymakers, businesses and individuals what to do. That’s the difficult step. Once you take an academic discipline and say “this is not just a description of a part of human motivation, this is how you should actually do things”, it becomes more dangerous. It’s one thing to say I have a model to describe 25% of human behaviour, and another thing to say you should take only that model into account when you establish policies. It becomes much more important that you are comprehensive and 100% correct.

I’m happy for the descriptive part of economics to stay as it is. The prescriptive part, when we tell people what to do – that one should be much more broad. In fact, we should stop using just economics and take all kinds of ideas from psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy and economics, and test which ones work, which ones don’t work and under what conditions. There is no question that behaviour is the ultimate goal – to try to understand behaviour, and how to change or modify it. I hope we can create a discipline that is much more empirically based and data driven. Maybe we can call it “applied social sciences”. It will draw from all the social sciences equivalently as we approach problems in the real world, and try to find solutions for them.

Categoría: Silva

Pedro Jorge Romero

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