Decision Science News

Defaults Are Not the Same by Default

Decision Science News | April 16, 2019

Defaults are one of applied behavioral science’s biggest success stories. Despite, or perhaps because of, the widespread use and success of defaults, a few important questions have remained in the background: How have defaults been implemented? Does it matter how they are implemented? This was the aim of a recent meta-analysis of all prior default studies conductd by the Center for Decision Sciences, which we recently published in Behavioural Public Policy (authors Jon Jachimowicz, Shannon Duncan, Elke Weber and Eric Johnson). 

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Why ultra-low fees can be a serious red flag for unwary ETF investors

Decision Science News | October 29, 2018

The number 1 rule for long-term individual investors picking funds used to be simple: look for low fees, also known as low expense ratios. Investors do get rewards from low fees; but they should also watch out for higher, hidden fees in the same funds, as well as strategies that lure investors into higher-priced products or into paying more for advice. Instead of asking about low fees alone, ask what you are paying over 10 years, including all fees. "What is the cost, all in, for 10 years?" said Eric Johnson, Director of the Center for Decision Sciences.

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Columbia University’s Center for Decision Sciences Gives Retailers Valuable Insights into What Drives Consumer Spending Habits

Decision Science News | February 8, 2018

CDS director Eric Johnson talks with Deal Crunch about the research that the center does on consumer decisions.

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The mystery of the missing airfare

Decision Science News | January 18, 2018

CDS director Eric Johnson discusses bait-and-switch airline fares.

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Can we design a better fuel economy label?

Decision Science News | May 3, 2017

Transportation contributes approximately 26 percent to greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, governments around the world are looking for ways to increase consumers’ use of fuel-efficient vehicles. One of the most straightforward ways to provide this information is in the form of labels. In the United States, the so-called Monroney sticker – named after an Oklahoma senator who sponsored a law to disclose more vehicle information to consumers – is the label required to be displayed in all new automobiles, which describes various fuel economy metrics.

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Alleviating poverty through trust

Decision Science News | April 25, 2017

More than 1.5 billion people live in extreme poverty worldwide, and even in the relatively wealthy US, 14 per cent live below the poverty line. People in poverty make more “myopic” or short-term decisions rather than forward-looking decisions that could improve their situations.

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How Trump’s budget proposals could impact millions of women

Decision Science News | March 17, 2017

Do cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget hurt women more than men? Advocates for women’s issues say yes. Trump released a “blueprint” for the country’s 2018 budget on Thursday, which includes large increases in defense spending and immigration enforcement and cuts to programs including the Labor Department’s Senior Community Service Employment Program, and cuts in funding for National Historic Sites and the Department of Housing and Urban Development affordable housing programs.

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Two business-school professors discovered how to make both red and blue Americans care about Trump’s drastic budget cuts

Decision Science News | March 16, 2017

Professors Eric Johnson and Elke Weber of the Center for Decision Sciences show how the way that tradeoffs between benefits and costs of budget cuts are presented can drastically impact people's opinions on public policy. More specifically, when tradeoffs are framed in terms of understandable, personal, and concrete numbers, people disagree less. 

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Want To Know What Your Brain Does When It Hears A Question?

Decision Science News | February 21, 2017

What color is your house? After reading that question, what were you thinking about? The obvious answer is the color of your house. Though this exercise may seem ordinary, it has profound implications. The question momentarily hijacked your thought process and focused it entirely on your house or apartment. You didn’t consciously tell your brain to think about that; it just did so automatically. Questions are powerful. Not only does hearing a question affect what our brains do in that instant, it can also shape our future behavior.

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It's hard to affect policymakers with climate science information

Decision Science News | February 17, 2017

Exposure to climate models' predictions affects policymakers and climate negotiators less than the informed general public, a paper by Valentina Bosetti and co-authors assesses. But the right presentation format can improve forecasts' effectiveness Policymakers and climate negotiators tend to use scientific information in a very conservative way, hardly allowing it to dent their prior beliefs, according to an experiment conducted on a sample of 217 policymakers attending the Paris COP21 conference, more than half of them acting negotiators, including eight heads of delegations.

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