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Incentives Unlock the Mysteries of Human Behavior


  • Why is Disney World cleaner than Yellowstone National Park?
  • Why are there so many chickens and so few pheasants?
  • Why is buying “real” Christmas trees (rather than artificial trees) better for the preservation of trees and forests?
  • Why did the requirement that young children have their own seat (and seatbelt) rather than sitting on parents’ laps in airplanes cause an increase in childhood deaths?
  • Why does requiring that new cars be manufactured with pollution control technology installed result in increased automobile-generated air pollution?
  • Why do programs providing government insurance for bank deposits increase the likelihood of bank failure?
  • Why do farmers plant high-water-use crops in areas where water is in short supply – rice in the desert climate of southern California, for example?
  • Why do so many patriotic Americans not vote in Presidential elections?
  • Why is a legislated increase in minimum wage bad news for poor, low-skilled teenagers?
  • Why did the English colonies of North America prosper while the colonies of Spain remained poor despite great discoveries of gold and silver?