A service of the


Behavioral Economics and Public Opinion

This article by Cass R. Sunstein and Lucia A. Reisch is part of the Intereconomics Forum Nudging in Public Policy: Application, Opportunities and Challenges and previews their forthcoming book, providing new insights into public approval of nudges and similar policies referring to behavioral insights on the basis of data from many nations.

Figure of the Month

Behavioural Insights in EU Policy

This figure from the article How Can Behavioural Insights Be Used to Improve EU Policy? by Xavier Troussard and René van Bavel shows how behavioural insights are utilised in the EU policy cycle. Click in the figure for further information.


Europe in 2018: Less Populist, More Popular?

A year ago, Europe seemed to be under siege by populist forces. The worst of those fears proved unfounded. However, while Europe's far-right surge has stalled, the populist threat has certainly not gone away. Furthermore, despite the encouraging economic developments, there are persistent divergences between euro area economies. European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici details how Europe should face these challenges in 2018.

Universal Basic Income

The Basics of Basic Income

John Kay describes how any attempt to turn basic income into a feasible proposal necessarily involves the reintroduction of elements of the benefit system which are dependent on multiple contingencies and also on income and wealth. The outcome is a welfare system which resembles those that already exist. Thus, basic income is merely a distraction from sensible and necessary welfare reforms.

Forum Structural Reforms

Structural Reforms in the EU – Policy Prescriptions to Boost Productivity

This Forum examined specific barriers to enhanced productivity within the EU and put forth policy proposals for structural reforms to take better advantage of the EU's vast economic potential. Contributing authors were Angana Banerji, Era Dabla-Norris, Minsuk Kim, Aleksandra Zdzienicka, Werner Roeger, Janos Varga, Jan in't Veld, John Hassler and Dan Andrews.

Trade Policy

Who Benefits from Trade Wars?

Why has protectionism become so popular recently? Wolfgang Lechthaler and Mariya Mileva argue that a potential explanation for this phenomenon can be found in the short-run distributional effects of import tariffs.

Letter from America

Is Renewed EU Optimism Justified?

Barry Eichengreen looks at renewed EU optimism and assesses whether it is warranted. Will the European economy continue to grow? Will 2018 be another year of much talk but little actual progress on institutional reform?

Quote of the Month

Behavioral Economics and Public Opinion

“(C)itizens generally do not approve or disapprove of nudges as such; everything depends on the direction in which people are being nudged. By contrast, people often have strong opposition to mandates and bans, even if they approve of the direction in which they push people”

from Cass R. Sunstein, Lucia A. Reisch's Forum article "Behavioral Economics and Public Opinion"

Editor's Choice

Trump’s Confrontational Trade Policy

It now seems clear that Trump's campaign rhetoric promoting trade protectionism will be turned into official policy. Caroline Freund writes that his confrontational approach to international trade will lead to retaliation and in a worst case could lead to an unravelling of existing trade agreements and global economic cooperation.


Using Behavioural Economics For Rather than Against Consumers

Monique Goyens points out that behavioural economics could contribute to creating more concrete benefits for consumers by shaping laws that can be practically used by their beneficiaries. Otherwise, such laws risk burdening industry while not delivering tangible results to their intended beneficiaries.