Following the schedule of our Reading Calendar
We are presented here with another bias, the Frame Bias. The author also uses this chapter, I guess that by no other reason than this being the last chapter of part 4, to defend the existence of humans as a different species from Econs. The chapter ends up with a sort of bitter complain because economics is not accepting the truth coming from the behavioral psychology fast enough.
This is one of my main caveats about this book. When reading it, it is good advice to separate very carefully two kind of insights. On one side, there are genuinely new and helpful ideas that help us to know ourselves better and than can help us to avoid costly mistakes in life (at least in theory). On the other side, there is a lot in it that only makes sense as a rebuttal of a set of outlandish ideas of economists living in another universe. It doesn’t interest me at all if it is not true, as mainstream economists believe, that cows are spherical. Let’s take a good book on marketing and I suspect (I don’t know the field) that there will be much more information and fun about real human economic behavior than here. This is a book about a fight between scholars for respect and prestige, written in scholar language and I am happy that we are finally nearing the end.
About the frame bias, this is something we all intuitively know. We respond differently to equal or very similar questions depending on the way they are presented to us. In the chapter, some interesting examples are explained, although I don’t understand the miles per gallon story. Beth consumes less petrol than Adam, makes a move to consume even less with a reduction of 25%. Adam consumes a lot, makes a reduction of only 14% and ends up consuming more than twice what Beth consumed before the correction. In what possible sense Adam action is more significant than Beth’s? Because the absolute amount of petrol saved is bigger?