Monday, 25 June 2012

On the flight back from New York

Coming back from ESA. New York was great and the conference was fabulous too. There were several panels on “dishonesty and corruption”. A nice one with Marco Piovesan looked at people who did not buy bus tickets on the Italian public transport system.
Outsiders often think of experimental economics as proving that people are much nicer than Rational Economic Man – altruistic, unfair, averse to inequality and so on. In fact, a lot of recent work goes the other way, exploring spite, dishonesty and hypocrisy. The picture of man that comes out of this is not a Noble Savage, but more a flawed, selfish creature whose vices are partially checked by his fear of social disapproval.