Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is Normandy burning with indignation?

Yes it is, and also with tires;
The government unveiled a series of measures in response to three days of protests in the northern region of Normandy. Angry farmers have parked farmyard machinery on highways and burned tires to snare traffic around towns including one of France’s top tourist destinations, Mont Saint-Michel.

“The demonstrations of the recent days express the anger, anxiety and distress we’ve been aware of for a while,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. “We must understand and respond to this anxiety.”
Probably not with textbook economics--prices fluctuate with supply and demand--we're betting.
Though the share of agriculture in the French economy has sunk to below 2% from around 21% after World War II, farming is considered a key part of France’s identity and the protesters have garnered wide public support.

“Farmers are France, its spirit and its roots,” Mr. Valls said.
All 2% of them.  Which brings us back to the amusing post at the Conversable Economist, Who Will Nudge the Nudgers;
The writing on behavioral economics often follows this pattern: first explain why people aren't rational, and then suggest a government policy--sometimes called a "nudge"--that could help people to overcome their irrationality by providing certain kinds of information structured in a certain way, or by specifying default options that would work better for most people. But what happens if the insights of behavioral economics are also applied to government? After all, if we are going to take into account that people often display a lack of self-control, have difficulties in understanding complex situations, and preferences that appear quirky in certain situations, then it makes sense to apply these same insights to elected officials and regulators.
Yep, the French politicians are definitely not immune to incentives.

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