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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Ariely’

The Tax Man Nudgeth (Ep. 121)

Our latest Freakonomics Radio on Marketplace podcast is called “The Tax Man Nudgeth.”  (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript.)

The U.S. tax code is almost universally seen as onerous and overly complicated. There is always talk in Washington about serious reform — Michigan Reps. Dave Camp (R.) and Sander Levin (D.) are currently working on it — but, Washington being Washington, we probably shouldn’t hold our breath.

So in this podcast we decided to take a look at the tax code we’re stuck with for now and see if there are some improvements, however marginal, that are worth thinking about. We start by discussing the “tax gap,” the huge portion of taxes that simply go uncollected for a variety of reasons. We once wrote about a clever man who helped close the gap a bit. In this episode, former White House economist Austan Goolsbee tells us why the government doesn’t try too hard to collect tax on all the cash that sloshes around the economy.

You’ll also hear from Dan Ariely, who has an idea for turning the act of paying taxes into a somewhat more satisfying civic duty.

The Upside of Irrationality

Another pleasurable summer read for me was Dan Ariely’s The Upside of Irrationality. Put simply, the book is an impressive achievement. It interweaves Ariely’s compelling personal narrative with what seems like dozens of his own super-interesting academic experiments. Ariely explains how his own struggle with being severely burned as a youth put him on the path to being one of the world’s premier behavioral economists.

A Predictably Irrational Fashion Week

Dressed in a red silk robe, Dan Ariely commemorates New York’s fashion week by trying on designer sunglasses while answering the eternal question: Does wearing Prada knockoffs make you evil?

Keep the Cheap Wine Flowing

I blogged last week about blind wine tastings — my own casual experiments as well as some more serious academic ones. The bottom line is that in blind wine tastings, there is a zero or even slightly negative correlation between the ratings of regular people and the price of the wine they are drinking; for experts the relationship between rating . . .

More Expense = Less Pain

Yesterday, the Times reported the results of an intriguing new study, just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (subscription required). The focus of the story: the placebo effect. The existence of a placebo effect is well known, and the best work on this topic comes from Anup Malani, another economist (and a good friend) who currently teaches . . .