Weekly Top 5 Papers – September 18th, 2017

1. Misconceptions About Nudges by Cass Sunstein (Harvard Law School; Harvard University – Harvard Kennedy School (HKS))

This paper was written with a combination of bemusement and frustration.
Since Richard Thaler and I wrote our book Nudge, there have been many good clarifications, refinements, criticisms, and corrections, but also many wild misunderstandings. As in, OMG.
Those misunderstandings have been real obstacles to progress among academics and within governments. My goal here was to correct the misunderstandings. In the process, I found myself getting into some of the good objections – but only a little bit. That’s for another occasion. For now, my hope is that we can put the misunderstandings to a deserved rest and focus on what matters. – Cass Sunstein

2. Crisis En España: Omisiones Del Banco De España (Crisis in Spain: Omissions of the Bank of Spain) by Pablo Fernandez (University of Navarra – IESE Business School)

3. A Brief Introduction to the Basics of Game Theory by Matthew O. Jackson (Stanford University – Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR))

3. The Role of Theory in an Age of Design and Big Data by Matthew O. Jackson (Stanford University – Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR))

4. Assessing the Effect of ‘Disputed’ Warnings and Source Salience on Perceptions of Fake News Accuracy by Gordon Pennycook (Yale University) and David G. Rand (Yale University)

This is the third in a series of papers using online cognitive psychology experiments to explore peoples’ belief in fake news – a new line of work for us inspired by events around the 2016 Presidential Election. In the first paper, we found that just reading a fake news headline made people subsequently more likely to believe it – even if the headline was flagged as “Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers,” ran counter to the subject’s political orientation, or was not even explicitly remembered by the subject (Prior Exposure Increases Perceived Accuracy of Fake News). In the second paper, we found that people who engaged in more analytic thinking were better at differentiating between fake and real headlines, even for stories that aligned with their political views (Who Falls for Fake News? The Roles of Analytic Thinking, Motivated Reasoning, Political Ideology, and Bullshit Receptivity). – David Rand

5. Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics by Eric A. Posner (University of Chicago – Law School) and E. Glen Weyl (Microsoft Research; Yale University)

Quadratic Voting began mostly as a theoretical economic proposal by Weyl.  Soon after he developed it, he described it to Posner who found it to be a solution to a number of legal problems he had been wrestling with for many years.  We wrote a series of papers and op-eds around the topic.  This was our first attempt to apply the ideas to big picture democracy.  In many ways our views have evolved since them.  We no longer advocate, except possibly in the very long term, the use of real money in this setting.  Our new view is reflected in Posner’s contributions with Weyl and Nicholas Stephanopoulos in a recent special issue of Public Choice devoted to the topic, as well as in a chapter of our forthcoming book from the Princeton University Press, Radical Markets: Uprooting Property and Democracy for the Public Good. Nonetheless, this paper still offers our most comprehensive analysis of the interaction between Quadratic Voting and democracy and a wide-ranging discussion of potential application and implications. – E. Glen Weyl