by Patrick Appel
Felix Salmon's two cents:
Consider an issue with two possible lines of attack: a cheap behavioral-economics solution, B, and a more expensive and politically-fraught substantive solution, S. Does implementing B make implementing S less likely? If B didn’t exist, would S be more likely to come about? Surely there are cases where the answer to both questions is yes and where therefore behavioral economics is a bad thing, not a good thing. The ability to cover up issues with a behavioral band-aid is often just a way of doing as little as possible while appearing to tackle the issue at hand.That said, in a lot of cases S would never happen anyway, and in those cases B is better than nothing.
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