Title

Behavioral Economics and Institutional Innovation

Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date

1-1-2005

CFDP Number

1499

CFDP Pages

23

Abstract

Behavioral economics has played a fundamental role historically in innovation in economic institutions, even long before behavioral economics was recognized as a discipline. Examples from history, notably that of the invention of workers’ compensation, illustrate this point. Though scholarly discussion develops over decades, actual innovation tends to occur episodically, particularly at times of economic crisis. Fortunately, some of the major professional societies, the Verein für Sozialpolitik, the American Economic Association and their successors, have managed to keep a broad discourse going, involving a variety of research methods including some that may be described today as behavioral economics, thereby maintaining an environment friendly to institutional innovation. Further, the broad expansion of behavioral economics that is going on today can be expected to yield even more such important institutional innovations.

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