We had a pleasant evening on 15 October 2013 together with Dr Adam Oliver, reader at the Department of Social Policy at LSE. For the duration of the evening we could be nostalgic to our times of having inspiring seminars with high quality teachers and fellow students. It was fun to learn about how our behaviour and decisions may be nudged by small changes in our environment without using the instruments of regulation.
A simple example of this is how supermarkets have in the UK introduced a small 5 pence charge for the use of plastic bags. We cannot really think of 5 pence as being an economic incentive; however as a result of it we tend to use fewer plastic bags. The 5 pence charge acts here as a reminder for us becoming more attentive to our environmental issues, thus the change in our behaviour in consumption.
Adam was giving us lots of examples from our daily life how behavioural economics could be applied in improving social welfare such as in the UK – they being a forerunners in this – have already applied successfully in preserving health, personal energy saving and reducing tax fraud. We were grateful to Adam for his interesting presentation and discussion and hope to have him soon again as well as other professors as our guest speakers.