Friday, January 27, 2017

Incentive systems - they're challenging to design!

I wrote a blog post a while back about incentive systems, and how they're gamed. I thought of a few more examples. Last summer, trying to get the kids to help out with pulling weeds in the yard, I told them that they have to pull a certain amount (I think it was around 50), and then they'd be done. The only rule was that they needed to have the root, they couldn't just pull the green part.

What happened? Well, you never saw little micro-weeds smaller than the ones my kids pulled up. They were more like sprouts than real weeds.

It made me think of this quote, by Austrian economist F.A. Hayek:

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.


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