Rewards. Punishments. Prices. The Nobel Prize. Candy Crush. Incentives take more forms than you might expect and they can be hard to spot, but they shape our lives in ways that we rarely examine.
Some incentives are obvious, like for example, publicly committing to doing something you dislike in order to motivate you to do something difficult, like lose weight. But, many of the most powerful incentives are accidental, and invisible even to those who designed them. Some are tame – and some are most definitely not. Whether it’s bounties for criminals or Instagrammable meals, training your dog or saving the planet, incentives regularly backfire, go missing, mutate and evolve. Without oversight, their unintended consequences can have very global effects.
In Incentivology, economist Jason Murphy uncovers the huge incentive systems we take for granted and turns them inside out. In lively, entertaining prose he explores the mechanisms behind many tremendous successes and spectacular failures in our history, culture and everyday lives, and shows us how to use (or lose) incentives in our world at large.
About the Author
Jason Murphy is an economist who has worked at the Australian Treasury, the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Nauru, and the Australian Financial Review. He writes regularly for News.com.au and Crikey, blogs and has a passion for bringing economics into the everyday world.
'With his sharp, incisive and engaging style, Jason Murphy brings economics to the masses. Always a must read!' – Daniel Sankey, The Australian
'There are certain scholarly, erudite economics commentators whose storied reputations precede them. Jason Murphy is not one of them. He is different. He has hijacked economics from the academy and taken it into the real world. In doing this, he makes it accessible — actually, very interesting — to people who are curious and thoughtful, but want to understand where the economy meets life. He compels you to read about economics, and that’s saying something.' – Eric Beecher, Crikey
'Jason Murphy possesses that rare gift of originality of thought and, rarer still, the ability to write about it with clarity, wit and insight.' – Mathew Dunckley, SMH/The Age