Oct 5, 2020
Why short-termism often overrules obvious long-term gains
Core Insights host Trevor Barnes talks to Daniel Read, Professor of Behavioural Science, about his research into intertemporal choices, which looks at why, even though we are on a diet, we choose to eat a cream bun now, rather than wait for our lunchtime salad. Or why in repeated experiments people would prefer £10 now rather than £15 in two weeks. These are intertemporal trade-offs and despite economics teaching us we should weigh up the options, calculating the benefits between the two points in time and choosing the most beneficial, we don’t always do this in a way that is best for us, or for society. You can see it playing out at every climate change conference, where hard choices to curb emissions are put off for another day. Professor Read also reveals research on a way to make us more patient and take the better, but further away, option - by simply adding a zero. Read more on this here.