Vaccination, cognitive bias and behavioural economics

One of the consequences of the present vaccine environment is the increasing need of understanding of the role nudges in encouraging people to comply with government initiatives. For instance. to effectively nudge behaviour, the Fogg Behavior Model (behaviormodel.org) combines three elements: They must initiate, facilitate, and motivate behavior. capacity to act, incentive, and a cue. It also depends on how people feel about the COVID-19 vaccination. For example, people who are wary of vaccination typically have strong emotional reactions to the vaccine’s dangers and advantages, while those who are apathetic often have weak views and have not put much thought into vaccination. Adapting treatments to the target group is more likely to succeed than a one-size-fits-all strategy.

However, In many countries, the role of behavioural economics in public policy has been called into doubt as a result of this development. As a matter of fact, the role of behavioural economics in public policy has been called into doubt as a result of this development.

Behavioural economics is focused on identifying generalizable patterns of individual behavior. Its scientific rigor is grounded on actual data and is centred on the principle of causality. Thus, in response to identified stimuli, several kinds of behavior may be categorized that result in regular patterns of cognitive biases and can aid in government action, according to Monsell.

In retrospect, theoretical and empirical study in Economic Sciences grew more formal and quantitative after World War II. In this situation, “measuring without theory” takes precedence, as Rutledge Vining succinctly stated when he referred to empirical work as the primary need for developing an adequate theory. The subsequent methodological disputes were dominated by this perspective, which included Milton Friedman’s contribution to economics methodology. Friedman argued in the 1950s that the only legitimate critiques of a theory are empirical. In his own words, when evaluating theories, the correctness of theoretical assumptions should be abandoned as the primary criteria, with the accuracy of theoretical predictions being the most important criterion. Nowadays, the primacy of theoretical predictions in behavioural economics is founded on the idea that by substituting more “psychologically” realistic economists for unrealistic assumptions, one may make more accurate forecasts.

Considering the methodological evolution of behavioural economics, its distinguishing characteristic is the widespread use of experimental techniques through controlled experiments. The focus is on the examination of controlled trials of economic choices in order to ascertain “mistakes” in human behaviour, according to Tversky & Kahneman. The primary goal was to get a better understanding of the cognitive processes that result in correct and flawed judgements in order to make predictions.

Behavioural economics developed in tandem with advances in cognitive psychology. It is empirically supported and incorporates models of rationality, willpower, and self-interest. Indeed, theorists of behavioural economics such as Kahneman, Thaler, and Sunstein think that the value of study is in what the data demonstrates, in what can be confirmed as regularities. Additionally, behavioural economics’ research effort was geared at identifying “anomalies” or departures from rationality. Regularities in human behaviour may be attributed to a variety of behaviours (avoid extremes, adhere to norms, drink beer rather than wine) that show themselves in choices. Understanding the causal relationships that may be formed between various individual choices is the first step. Then, the external factors that influence those choices may be used to establish a broad range of predictions about how nudges might aid in rational behaviour. The normative program promotes the widespread use of nudges in public policy on this basis.

According to Monsell, the issue for behavioral economics is not only the development of a theory that may represent actual human behavior in decision making, but also the understanding of the limits of randomised control trial findings when generalised and applied in social settings. This is relevant in any approach to behavioral economics inside a pluralist conomics curriculum.

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