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NUMERO 20 - 09/10/2013

 Cognitive-based regulation: new challenges for regulators?

Il presente articolo, pubblicato in data 7 ottobre 2013, è qui disponibile in una versione aggiornata dalle autrici al 25 ottobre

The economic paradigm of rational choice (if adequately informed) tends to frame reality in an interpretative scheme which does not necessarily correspond to reality itself. The cognitive sciences have discredited this paradigm by stressing that people are driven by cognitive short-cuts, social norms and pressures. Indeed, the cognitive sciences have shown that the real people are all but perfectly informed and rational utility-maximisers; rather, they use mental shortcuts and heuristics, and make recurring cognitive errors in decision-making (such as, for instance, status quo bias, time inconsistency, loss aversion, or short term costs overvaluation against long term benefits, etc.). Such errors are due to intuitive rules which enable people to simplify choices (heuristics) used in the collection and processing of information for decision-making, such as availability, representativeness and anchoring. Dealing with these and similar cognitive errors is something regulators cannot ignore, provided that even the most sophisticatedly designed regulation may become ineffective or fail to reach its goals where all or part of the regulated group respond in an unpredicted waybecause of cognitive errors and heuristics... (segue)

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