Topics: The Behavioral Economics of (Preventing) Death, (Paying) Taxes and other Prosocial Approaches to Life
In this episode of Solutions News, we're talking about COVID-19, our responses to it, and about the whole idea of paying taxes - with Syon Bhanot, a behavioral economist who studies the economics of prosocial behavior. With tax season upon us and a belief that taxes are as certain as “death,” we thought it was time for us at Solutions News to take a closer look at the role taxes play in the USA and other advanced societies. We’re looking at the way taxes actually can be a solution for not only the current pandemic but a host of other social challenges we face as a society. Think of that: seeing taxes as a benefit rather than a burden. Now, that’s some real positive thinking – but it is wholly justified as you’ll be hearing in what follows. (Produced by Kristy Jansen)
Professor Bhanot is a behavioral and public economist, and an Assistant Professor of Economics at Swarthmore College. His research centers on field experiments that use behavioral science concepts to influence decision-making, with a focus on pro-social behavior and various issues related to public policy, development, and poverty.
He is also a Research Affiliate at the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, a Senior Researcher at the Applied Cooperation Team (ACT) at MIT, and a founding member of the Philadelphia Behavioral Science Initiative. Professor Bhanot is also an award-winning teacher, having taught courses at Harvard, Brown, and Northeastern, among others. See his personal website for more information.
In his free time, Professor Bhanot is an avid golfer and enjoys playing guitar, watching sports, and spending time with his wife Susie and his dogs, Humphrey and Lola.
Bhanot, S.P. Isolating the Effect of Injunctive Norms on Conservation Behavior: New Evidence from a Field Experiment in California. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Forthcoming. (PDF)
Banker, S., S.P. Bhanot, and A. Deshpande. 2020. Poverty Identity and Preference for Challenge: Evidence from the U.S. and India. Journal of Economic Psychology, 76. (PDF)
Yoeli, E., J. Rathauser, S.P. Bhanot, M.K. Kimenye, E. Mailu, E. Masini, P. Owiti, and D. Rand. 2019. Digital Health Support in Treatment for Tuberculosis. The New England Journal of Medicine, 381(10), 986-987. (Selected Media Coverage: NY Times; SciTech Daily)
Bhanot, S.P., J. Han and C. Jang. 2018. Workfare, Wellbeing and Consumption: Evidence from a Field Experiment with Kenya’s Urban Poor. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 149: 372-388.
Popular Press Pieces
Bhanot, S.P. May 5, 2020. You’re Stronger Than Your Quarantine Fatigue, New York Times: Op-Ed.
Yoeli, E., S.P. Bhanot, G. Kraft-Todd, and D. Rand. May 15, 2015. How to Get People to Pitch In. New York Times: Gray Matter Op-Ed.
Syon Bhanot, our guest on July 10, 2020