Archives for Israel



Israel’s New Organ Donation Nudge

Israel, which has a history of creatively incentivizing organ donation, will soon be implementing yet another organ “nudge.”  Al Roth shared a recent email from Israeli transplant surgeon (and Freakonomics podcast guestJay Lavee explaining the new policy (which is based on unpublished research by Roth and Judd Kessler): 

Just a short note to let you know that the Israeli Minister of Health has adopted this week my recommendation to establish by law the modified mandated choice model based upon your work, whereby the issuing or renewal of an ID, passport or driving license will be conditional upon answering the question of becoming a registered donor to which only a positive answer will be given as an option or else the “Continue” button will be selected. It seems that, contrary to my previous worries, the entire registration for these documents is currently being done online and therefore there should be no technical issues to implement this model.



What Makes People Do What They Do?

John List and Uri Gneezy have appeared on our blog many times. This guest post is part a series adapted from their new book The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life. List appeared in our recent podcast How to Raise Money Without Killing a Kitten.”

Money is important. For a long time, economists thought that it was the only thing that mattered. And, in fact, if you want people to do what you want, money can be incredibly useful. Out to entice the best workers? Pay more. Want to sell a product? Discount it, a lot. Want to discourage a bad behavior? Impose a monetary fine.

It seemed a little silly to us though (as well as to other behavioral economists doing work back in the 1990s) to think that money was the only thing that mattered. So we set out to learn exactly when and how monetary incentives work. Along the way, we discovered some environments where incentives don’t work at all.  Read More »



FREAK-est Links

1. They said it would never happen: Israel’s ultra-orthodox lose many of their exemptions.

2. Health-care economics: how the American Medical Association prices medical procedures.

3. The most popular page on Wikipedia in 2012: Facebook. (HT: Eric M. Jones)

4. Everyone knows that the French work fewer hours — but judging by their GDP per capita, they are very productive. Read More »



Paying for a Name Change

As we’ve argued in Freakonomics and in a recent podcast, a child’s first name isn’t nearly as influential on that child’s outcome as many people would like to think.

That said, it would be a mistake to say that a name is unimportant — especially because even the belief that a name is important can make it, on some level, actually important.

Also: a name can carry far greater significance than as a mere label for an individual person; it can say something about you as a member of a tribe, a community, a nation.

A noteworthy (if often overlooked) part of Jewish history is the renaming, in the Bible, of Abram as Abraham and Sarai as Sarah. Along those lines, it was interesting to read this blog post from the Israel State Archives about how David Ben-Gurion wanted Israelis to swap out their European names for Hebrew ones. Read More »



Would You Help Your Kids Cheat to Get a Driver’s License?

A reader named Ari writes from Israel:

Recently the Israel Government voted to change the minimum age for getting a driver’s license. Here is a snippet from an article in Ha’aretz (headlined “Israel to Lower Driving Age, but Tack on Period of Mandatory Supervision”):
 
The earliest age to start driving lessons will remain 16 and a half. The period of driving accompanied by an adult will have to cover at least 50 hours, 20 of them on urban streets, 15 hours on inter-urban roads and 15 hours of driving at night. The novice driver will have to have an adult chaperone at all hours of the day during the first three months but only at night during the second three months. After the novice driver and the accompanying person sign a declaration that the accompanied driving requirement has been fulfilled properly, the new driver will be given a young driver’s license.
 
I’m curious as to how the honor system is going to work here. If my child’s license were to depend on my declaration, what are the chances that I would fudge? How would the governing agency know? It seems to be unverifiable. I assume that there will be some internet-based form with a checkbox and maybe some number to fill in (number of hours driven night / day / rain / …) I believe that forcing a person to write his own declaration would make it more difficult for him to lie.

Read More »



A Look at Today’s Israeli Election Ballot

For Americans who rarely get a look at a multi-party (make that multi-multi-party?) election.

Here is one preview of the outcome. This was the first I’ve heard of a Pirate Party, but it is hardly unique to Israel: Wikipedia tells us that more than 40 countries have a version, including the U.S.



Behind the Iron Dome

Absolutely fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal, by Charles Levinson and Adam Entous, about Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile-defense shield. Nothing I can excerpt here will do justice to the article; it reads like a cross between an HBR case study and a Tom Clancy novel. Perhaps not so surprising from a startup nation. Meanwhile, there are unintended consequences of having built such strong aerial defense; see this one in particular.



Ridding the Streets of Dog Poop, One DNA Test at a Time

It’s been quite a while since we proposed a novel solution for ridding our cities of dog poop — DNA registration of pets, and subsequent DNA identification of wayward dung — but it seems to be slowly, slowly gaining acceptance. The Israeli city Petah Tikvah gave it a try, and now the New York Post reports (and Gothamist follows) about an apartment complex in Rockville Center, Long Island, that’s using the DNA method to punish owners who don’t pick up after their dogs. Good to see the power of poop still rolling on. Read More »