MiB: Cass Sunstein on Decision Making



This week, we speak with legal scholar Cass Sunstein, who founded and leads Harvard Law School’s Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy. He has authored numerous books, including the NYT bestseller The World According to Star Wars as well as “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” (written with Richard H. Thaler); and “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment” (written with Danny Kahneman). His most recent book is Decisions about Decisions: Practical Reason in Ordinary Life.

He explains how Behavioral FInance has had a big impact on the law. Human decision-making, in private contracts, in criminal behavior, and in the judicial process has a huge impact on society. As an example, criminal sentencing on Mondays is dependant in part on how the judges’ favorite team did that weekend, and how recently the judge had eaten breakfast or lunch.

We discuss how ended up working for both the Reagan and Obama administrations. He also clerked for Justice Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supr Court (1978-79) before moving to the Supreme Court to clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall SCOTUS (1979-80).

He also explains why writing a book on Star Wars led to a hilarious conversation with George Lucas about the the Star Wars prequels.

We also “Desirability Bias,” which is somewhat different than confirmation bias.

A list of his favorite books is here; A transcript of our conversation is available here Tuesday.

You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Greg Davis, Chief Investment Officer of the Vanguard Group. Davis is responsible for the oversight of approximately $7 trillion managed by Vanguard fixed income, equity index, and quantitative equity groups. He also serves as a member of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the US Treasury Department.




Cass Sunstein’s Favorite Books

Cass Sunstein’s Authored Books



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