A Welcome Message from Dick Thaler

Welcome to Misbehaving, the companion blog for my latest book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. This blog is designed to continue the conversation that began on Nudges.org, the site John Balz edited following the publication of my book with Cass Sunstein.  Misbehaving will incorporate the themes of nudging but go well beyond that to encompass the entire field of behavioral economics—as well as the application of behavioral science to practical problems in both the pubic and private sectors. 

Though we are just getting started, we have lofty goals.  For the lay reader, we hope to provide a convenient place to keep up with the field in an approachable, non-technical way.  For those with a more academic persuasion, we hope to keep readers updated on the latest findings and controversies.  Of course, in the spirit of the book, we aim to keep everything fun.  New innovations in urinal design or fun stairwells will always be welcome.

Thanks to the pioneering work of many of my colleagues, interest in behavioral science has skyrocketed in recent years.  Teachers, students, government officials, and advertising executives have all found creative ways to apply its tenets to their personal and professional lives. Some applications have been wildly successful, others not so much. Some behavioral innovations have been pursued intentionally, others chanced upon. We’re interested in all of these. We’re also hoping everyone interested in this field will help out by pointing us to interesting articles, findings, challenges, and other developments. I may even post some of those chapters that were filed in the outtakes folder.  We will see.

Because the applications of behavioral science are wide-ranging, our posts will be, too. In the weeks to come, you can expect to read about cell phones, menus, exercise classes, and TV. You’ll hear about new findings at the frontier of misbehavior research, as told by the scholars pushing the field forward. You’ll learn what applying behavioral science means in the context of a small nonprofit, a major company, and a family home.

Behind the scenes, a team from ideas42, with support from the Center for Decision Research at Chicago Booth, will help me edit the blog.  Got an idea for a post? A question about something you observed/read/heard? Want to try your hand at writing a post? Shoot them an email at misbehavingblog@gmail.com or tweet @misbehavingblog. I hope you’ll join us in misbehaving. You just might feel a bit more human, and you might even want to try your hand at some nudging of your own.