Behavioural Economics


The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, in honouring the work of Richard H. Thaler, highlights the growing impact of behavioural economics in science and policy. To mark the occasion, we have put together this collection of behavioural economics articles published this year in Nature Human Behaviour. From a typology of nudges for health-related behaviour change to an examination of under what conditions people will cooperate in order to sustain a public good, the research and opinion published in our pages exemplifies some of the key contributions this fast growing field is making to science and policy.


  • Nature Human Behaviour | Editorial

    The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences this year, in honouring the work of Richard H. Thaler, highlights the growing impact of behavioural economics in science and policy.


  • Nature Human Behaviour | Letter

    Tannenbaum et al. show that partisan framing influences beliefs about the ethical use of behavioural policy interventions, but both US adults and practising policymakers are accepting of nudges when stripped of partisan cues.

    • David Tannenbaum
    • , Craig R. Fox
    •  &  Todd Rogers
  • Nature Human Behaviour | Letter

    Research has shown that people dislike inequality. However, in a cross-cultural experiment, Zhou and colleagues show that, from a young age, people are unwilling to redistribute resources between individuals if this reverses an existing hierarchy.

    • Wenwen Xie
    • , Benjamin Ho
    • , Stephan Meier
    •  &  Xinyue Zhou
  • Nature Human Behaviour | Letter

    Gächter et al. use experiments and simulations to show that low levels of cooperation (the ‘tragedy of the commons’) are systematically more likely in maintaining a public good than in providing a new one, even under identical incentives.

    • Simon Gächter
    • , Felix Kölle
    •  &  Simone Quercia
  • Nature Human Behaviour | Article

    Pedroni et al. show that risk preferences vary across behavioural elicitation methods, challenging the view that risk preferences can be consistently captured by a single method.

    • Andreas Pedroni
    • , Renato Frey
    • , Adrian Bruhin
    • , Gilles Dutilh
    • , Ralph Hertwig
    •  &  Jörg Rieskamp


  • Nature Human Behaviour | Perspective

    Inequality and unfairness are not the same thing. Starmans, Sheskin and Bloom summarize evidence showing that people are bothered not by economic inequality, but rather by economic unfairness.

    • Christina Starmans
    • , Mark Sheskin
    •  &  Paul Bloom
  • Nature Human Behaviour | World View

    Attempts to persuade people to be healthier often have limited success. Public health should focus more on marginal gains that require little or no effort, says Michael Hallsworth.

    • Michael Hallsworth