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Improving the Decision-Making of the Poor

Posted Apr 21 2009 12:12am

I’ve been reading the February issue of Seed Magazine, and came across this article on behavioral economics.  Other than recommending the article, which just briefly discusses the idea of improving the decision-making among the world’s poorer individuals.  While I might quibble with the author’s over-generalized comparisons between the more and less productive, the idea that aiding individuals who frequently make less informed, more impulsive, more shortsighted decisions in making better decisions is a no-brainer.  One small example that would seem to support this proposition is the anecdotal evidence that many lottery winners tend to lose their fortune over time - having won a boatload of money simply allows many of these individuals to make bigger financial mistakes; all that money doesn’t teach a person how to spend it any more wisely.  The author offers a few examples on how to engage in this sort of effort, and to the extent this type of behavioral re-training can be implemented without impinging, ultimately, on the rights of individuals to make decisions, seems like a worthy endeavor.  Worth a read...

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