The third edition of Behavioral Science & Policy dives into George Akerlof and Bob Shiller's new book, Phishing for Phools. Shiller published an op-ed this week, and we've had two posts exploring the book's insights and related topics.


Robert Shiller wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled "Faith in an Unregulated Market" that underscored the central thesis in Phishing for Phools: unregulated markets will lead to the use of manipulative strategies that prey on consumers' psychological biases and vulnerabilities, if doing so is profitable. Cass Sunstein has a nice review of the book (see below) that calls for more empirically testable hypotheses based on these claims. On the #policyshop blog, we've featured two pieces that begin to do just that.

Last week, Oren Bar-Gill wrote about the psychological biases that lead consumers to be seduced themselves into costly contracts. And yesterday, Philip Newall, a former professional poker player who observed phishing tactics firsthand, wrote about his research into how bookies in the UK prey on the biases of gamblers.

In addition to more research into the ways consumers are manipulated and deceived, I think we could use more work on how consumers can take steps to protect themselves from phishing. On Monday we'll be posting a piece by Duke's Rick Larrick who has done excellent work on how we can more effectively convey information to consumers -- what consumers need, according to Larrick, is better information, not just more of it.