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, 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. Here, 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 spectacular failures and successes in our history, culture and everyday lives, and shows us how to use (or lose) incentives in our world at large.
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