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Links you’ll love

National Geographic: Think of Me. Keep it Free.
How do we prevent people from parking illegally in handicap spots? In many towns the threat of a heavy fine does not actually work to deter people from taking the close spot.  Watch this sneak preview of Daniel Pink’s new National Geographic series Crowd Control to see a simple solution that works better than threatening with a fine.

BBC News: Cows Offered to Keep Kenyan Girls in School
When economists are problem solving they typically ask a few critical questions. The primary one being: “What are the incentives underlying a specific behavior?” Once we understand these incentives, we can build a solution around them… or change them. The governor of Laikipia County in Northern Kenya understands his constituents’ incentives. He has designed a program that promises cows to families if their daughters attend school. The plan is part of an effort to combat school dropout rates among families who may otherwise arrange to marry off their daughters in exchange for a dowry.

NY Times: The Chocolate Halloween Candy in the Trick or Treat Bag
Halloween candy sales jumped 12% in 2013 with variety packs making up a significant portion of sales. Research indicates this may be the result of what scientists call “the smorgasbord affect” – our tendency to eat more when a variety is presented to us. Why is that the case? Our brains register a “full” feeling more quickly when we eat just one flavor, but multiple flavors can cause our brains to delay triggering a “full” feeling. Food distributors are taking advantage of this phenomenon by increasing variety packs in snacks and candy.

NY Times Well: Doctors and Decision Fatigue
You likely know the story that judges are tougher right before lunch. They are hungry, depleted and end up refusing patrol to more people. Are judges the only ones making life changing decisions while depleted? Nope. We can now add doctors to the list. A recent study found that doctors are more likely to prescribe antibiotics at the end of the day than at the beginning of the day, even if they are not indicated, suggesting that fatigue may cause poor decision making as the day wears on.

Business Insider: How to Minimize The Impact of a Market Downturn On Your Investments
New apps like Betterment and Personal Capital (online financial wealth managers) send you your weekly earnings report. For a long term outlook, this is the exact wrong strategy. The more you monitor, the riskier your portfolio will seem to you. A better strategy is to log in less during volatile periods and reduce poor decision making that may result.

Huff Post: Four Proven, Easy Ways to Secure Your Retirement
Studies suggest that Americans are failing to save the funds we’ll need for retirement, but small steps like increasing our savings by 1-2% each year, visualizing our future selves, writing down a plan of action, and finding someone to motivate and encourage us along the way can make a bigger difference than complex budgeting.

Vox: This Simple Strategy Tripled Charity Donations
People are three times as more likely to donate to a charity when told that none of their donation will go to overhead. Why? We want to know that our money is being used to have a direct impact on the cause we’re giving to.

 

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