In 2017, according to the Federal Office of Public Health, the rate of organ donation in Switzerland reached a new high with 17.2 donations per million inhabitants. It’s a very low high, however: Switzerland still has the third-lowest donation rate in Europe, after Germany and Luxembourg. Why? Renowned behavioural researcher Shlomo Benartzi believes the main reason is the (bureaucratic) effort that it takes to become an organ donor. However, this suggests that if we all automatically became organ donors, 99% of people would not make the effort to opt out. Or, to put it more generally: simplifying or removing choices is an easy way to convince people.
An illuminating principle – but not a universal one. For example, our behaviour in decision-making situations differs significantly depending on whether we’re on- or offline. In his TED talk, Shlomo Benartzi explains why aesthetics trump simplicity online.
Shlomo Benartzi will speak at the Academy of Behavioral Economics on 30 January 2019.