Old-fashioned set of scales with carrots on one side
(featured image: Ruslan/Flickr CC BY SA 2.0 and Thamizhpparithi Maari/Wikimedia CC BY SA 3.0)

Incentives in the balance

We respond to incentives, that is true — but not always in the way that might be expected

insight to which I often return is the following economic observation, from Steven Landsburg’s The Armchair Economist: “People respond to incentives. The rest is commentary.” It has an irresistible simplicity, and it’s not hard to find plenty of evidence for it…