Audience with a Dragon Tattoo

I’ve explored the power of free in the context of tattoos before, and anyone who saw last years’ comedy Bridesmaids no doubt laughed at this particularly memorable scene. But this story out of the Netherlands caught me a little off guard just the…

Special Deals at Whole Foods

Jared Wolfe, one of the students working with me, took the following pictures at Whole Foods a few days ago.  They illustrate amazing creativity in defining what the term “a deal” means. 1) Regular price is $1.99 and the Sale price is?…

FREE! in Swedish Medicine

I recently learned of an interesting innovation in medical pricing coming from Sweden. This pamphlet from the healthcare authority states (translated): “If you have a respiratory problem and you don’t take antibiotics for it during your first visit to the doctor, you have the…

The Economics of Sterilization

When it comes to sterilization, Denmark has had a rather turbulent history. In 1929, in the midst of rising social concerns regarding an increase in sex crimes and general “degeneracy,” the Danish government passed legislation bordering on eugenics, requiring sterilization in some…

Amy Winehouse & responsibility

The recent death of Amy Winehouse should make us pause and consider the question of personal and shared responsibility.  Was she solely responsible for her tragic outcome? Or was it somewhat the fault of the people around her?  How do we want…

Wait For Another Cookie?

The scientific community is increasingly coming to realize how central self-control is to many important life outcomes. We have always known about the impact of socioeconomic status and IQ, but these are factors that are highly resistant to interventions. In contrast, self-control…

Physician-Assisted Suicide and Behavioral Economics

By Arjun Khanna As the American population ages, the debate about the ethics of physician-assisted suicide for terminal patients becomes more important. Proponents of legalizing of physician-assisted suicide argue the practice is ethically justifiable because it can alleviate prolonged physical and emotional…

A tribute to my son

A tribute to my son, Amit who is 8 years old — and came up with a very similar poem by himself today   Sick By Shel Silverstein   ‘I cannot go to school today, ‘ Said little Peggy Ann McKay. ‘I…

The Magic of Natural

Our recent studies of medications labeled “natural” have yielded some interesting findings. First, most people prefer medications that are natural to medications that aren’t natural. Secondly, and perhaps most surprisingly, people do not see natural medications as being more effective than non-natural…

Reminding kids

Here is a letter I recently got from a reader: How to remind a child to take his medication? Dear Dan, My son has Type I diabetes. He is constantly forgetting to check his blood sugar level and inject insulin when he…