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Irrationally Rational

Irrationally Rational

Ten Nobel Laureates Script the Story of Behavioural Economics

V. Raghunathan
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You and your friend each have flights to catch at 8 p.m. and your destination cities are different. You decide to share a cab, but get caught in a rare traffic jam lasting several hours. You end up at the airport around midnight, and surely enough, both of you miss your flights. All quantifiable consequences of missing the flights-cost of tickets cancellation, paying for a new ticket, taking a cab back to the city, overnight stay, taking a cab back to the airport next morning, etc.-are expectedly identical for both. Now suppose the airline assistant tells you, ‘Sorry, your flight left as scheduled at 8 p.m. sharp.’ But your friend is told, ‘Oh, how very unfortunate. Your flight was almost four hours late and only just departed!’ Who feels the greater disappointment? You or your friend?

Neoclassical economics tells us that because both individuals are assumed rational, their regret levels ought to be identical since their economic consequences are identical. Behavioural economists, however, combine psychology with economics, and focus on how real people, with their cognitive biases, actually behave. The friend who just missed the flight does indeed experience greater disappointment than the one who missed the flight by a margin of four hours. Does that make one or the other irrational?
Irrationally Rational takes you through the journey of such rationality-irrationality arguments, showing why economics shorn of psychology may be incomplete. It is the first book of its kind, collating the works of ten Nobel Laureates largely responsible for the rise of behavioural economics, that makes understanding behavioural economics more fun and accessible.

Imprint: India Viking

Published: Apr/2022

ISBN: 9780143458166

Length : 328 Pages

MRP : ₹599.00

Irrationally Rational

Ten Nobel Laureates Script the Story of Behavioural Economics

V. Raghunathan

You and your friend each have flights to catch at 8 p.m. and your destination cities are different. You decide to share a cab, but get caught in a rare traffic jam lasting several hours. You end up at the airport around midnight, and surely enough, both of you miss your flights. All quantifiable consequences of missing the flights-cost of tickets cancellation, paying for a new ticket, taking a cab back to the city, overnight stay, taking a cab back to the airport next morning, etc.-are expectedly identical for both. Now suppose the airline assistant tells you, ‘Sorry, your flight left as scheduled at 8 p.m. sharp.’ But your friend is told, ‘Oh, how very unfortunate. Your flight was almost four hours late and only just departed!’ Who feels the greater disappointment? You or your friend?

Neoclassical economics tells us that because both individuals are assumed rational, their regret levels ought to be identical since their economic consequences are identical. Behavioural economists, however, combine psychology with economics, and focus on how real people, with their cognitive biases, actually behave. The friend who just missed the flight does indeed experience greater disappointment than the one who missed the flight by a margin of four hours. Does that make one or the other irrational?
Irrationally Rational takes you through the journey of such rationality-irrationality arguments, showing why economics shorn of psychology may be incomplete. It is the first book of its kind, collating the works of ten Nobel Laureates largely responsible for the rise of behavioural economics, that makes understanding behavioural economics more fun and accessible.

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V. Raghunathan

V. RAGHUNATHAN (popularly, Raghu) is an academic, author, corporate executive, columnist and a hobbyist. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Canada. He was a professor of finance at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad for nearly two decades. He was also the president of a large private bank, first Vysya Bank and then ING Vysya Bank, Bangalore. For the next fourteen years, he headed GMR Varalakshmi Foundation-a large corporate foundation-as their CEO, and also served as the director of the India campus of Schulich School of Business for five years. He has served on many boards of corporates, banks, educational institutions, hospitals, regulators and stock exchanges.

Raghu has written over 500 articles as a columnist and has one of the largest collections of old and ancient Indian padlocks in India. He is a PhD in finance from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. His previous books include: Games Indians Play (2019, revised edition); Return to Jammu (2018); The Good Indian's Guide to Queue Jumping (2016); Beyond the Call of Duty (2015); Duryodhana (2014); Locks, Mahabharata and Mathematics (2013); Ganesha on the Dashboard (2012); The Corruption Conundrum (2010); Don't Sprint the Marathon (2010); Stock Exchanges, Investments and Derivatives-Straight Answers to 250 Nagging Questions (2007).

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