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Robin Hanson: Hidden Motives are Everywhere

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Konzervatívny inštitút M. R. Štefánika organizoval ďalšiu z cyklu prednášok Conservative Economic Quarterly Lecture Series /CEQLS/.

Publicado en: Economía y finanzas
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Robin Hanson: Hidden Motives are Everywhere

  1. 1. Hidden Motives are Everywhere Robin Hanson George Mason University
  2. 2. Talk based on book, Oxford University Press out January 2, 2018, coauthor Kevin Simler See also my prior book, also O.U.P., June 2016 paperback June 2018
  3. 3. Conflict: Psych vs. Policy Analysis • Psych section, editor, referees, reviewers •WSJ: “I can’t say that the book covers new ground, but it is a smart synthesis and offers several original metaphors.” •Book’s original feature: apply psych to policy •Claim: policy analysists making a big mistake •But policy analysts, social scientists not engage
  4. 4. The Big Puzzle Physics, Engineering, & Software: •World eager to find better designs, pays $$ •Hard to find even modest gains Social Science and Policy: •Easier to find big gains, test them, yet: •World shows little interest in new designs Our Explanation: Hidden Motives
  5. 5. ”Hidden” Motives in Animals
  6. 6. “I wanted to get a Coke”
  7. 7. Life Areas w/ Hidden Motives 1. Laughter 2. Body Language 3. Conversation 4. Consumption 5. Art 6. Charity 7. Education 8. Medicine 9. Religion 10. Politics
  8. 8. 1. Laughter •Standard Motive: Incongruous, superior, benign violation, …? •Puzzles: •<20% of laughter responds to “joke” •Laugh 30x less often when alone •Speakers laugh 50% more than listeners •“Don’t drop soap in prison shower” •Hidden Motive: “Still playing” signal
  9. 9. The General Pattern •Standard Motive: Usual story why we do X •Especially what said in public, by leaders. •Puzzles: Patterns of behavior not fit this well •Hidden Motive: Better fits puzzling patterns •Meta-puzzle: why not know/admit motive? •Real motive may violate norms, need a cover
  10. 10. Caveats 1. Discuss of each area must be brief 2. Focus on far causes, not conscious plans 3. Many motive/functions in most areas 4. We vary across areas in awareness 5. Expect convince you of ~70% of claims Plausible: “Hidden motives widespread”
  11. 11. 2. Body Language •Standard Motive: Physical comfort •Puzzles: •Much school on words, none on this •As talk/walk, negotiate relative status Via space, rhythm, pauses, posture, interrupt, hesitation, look direct v glance, swagger •Actors must learn this to seem realistic •Hidden Motive: Status Moves, Flirting
  12. 12. 3. Conversation •Standard Motive: Trade useful info •Puzzles: •Don’t track talk debts •More eager to talk than listen •Continuous drift of “relevant” topics •Talk lots on unimportant trivia •Hidden Motive: Show off mental backpack •Similar To: News media & academia
  13. 13. 4. Consumption •Standard Motive: Get useful stuff •Puzzles: •We care lots re how stuff makes us look •Many ads not distinguish product •Luxury advertised to all, Super Bowl premium •Prius designed to look especially different •Hidden Motive: Show off wealth, identity
  14. 14. 5. Art •Standard Motive: Induce experience •Puzzles: •We prefer impractical art •Fashions, path dependence •We care about extrinsic features: originality, techniques, material expense, # artists •Hidden Motive: Show ability, acumen, connections
  15. 15. 6. Charity •Standard Motive: Help •Puzzles: •Attend little to effectiveness, prefer variety •Prefer to help identifiable people nearby •Give more if seen, others ask, or think mate •Little marginal charity, or giving to far future •Hidden Motive: Show sympathetic feelings
  16. 16. 7. Education •Standard Motive: Learn the material •Puzzles: •Learn for free, if skip degree •Forget most of what “learn”, rest is little used •Jobs pay 3x more for last year of HS, college •Paid more for irrelevant majors •Little interest in many ways to learn faster •Hidden Motive: Show smart, dutiful, conform. Habituate to work. Network, indoctrinate. See Bryan Caplan, The Case Against Education, 2018.
  17. 17. 8. Medicine •Standard Motive: Get healthy •Puzzles: •Not healthier if get more via region, random •Low interest in big health inputs •Low interest in private info, vs. shared info •Spend more if neighbors do •Eager for shared provision, regulation •Hidden Motive: Show care; “kiss boo-boo”
  18. 18. 9. Religion •Standard Motive: Belief in spirits •Puzzles: •Beliefs not key to most religions in history •Sacrifices of $, time, health, fertility •Religious more $, health, happy, marry, etc. •Sermons, moralizing gods, arbitrary rules •Hidden Motive: Bond communities
  19. 19. 10. Politics •Standard Motive: Better policy •Puzzles: •Poorly informed, strong emotions, gullible •Prefer associates who share views •Low sensitivity to vote decisiveness •Prefer group interests, position taking •Disdain compromise, 1-dimensional spectrum •Hidden Motive: Show apparatchik-like loyalty
  20. 20. Meta-Puzzle: Why Not Admit/Know Motives? •Primates need big brains for big group politics •Human language & weapons allow NORMS, often tied to motives • Share food/protection, decide together, punish violators • NO: violence, orders, bragging, subgroup coalitions •But if enforce norms well, not need big brains •Yet our brains biggest: says is much norm evasion •Real motives may violate norm, ignorance hides
  21. 21. The Real Policy Design Problem Fake Problem: Give people more of what they say they want (given hidden info & action) Real Problem: Help people appear to want what they say they want, while actually giving them more of what they actually want.
  22. 22. Who/When Should Know? •NOT if in situation evolution envisioned, when embrace evolution’s goals •Unusual jobs: managers, sales •Nerdy, need conscious study of social world •Policy analysts who suggest reforms
  23. 23. Life Areas w/ Hidden Motives 1. Laughter 2. Body Language 3. Conversation 4. Consumption 5. Art 6. Charity 7. Education 8. Medicine 9. Religion 10. Politics
  24. 24. More Areas w/ Hidden Motives? 11. Meetings 12. Managers 13. Vacations 14. Legal trials 15. Parties 16. Alcohol 17. Investment 18. Marriage 19. Parenting 20. Consulting

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