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Is Cost-Benefit Analysis a Foreign Language?

Forthcoming, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Symposium on 'the Foreign Language Effect'

8 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2017  

Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: January 3, 2017

Abstract

Do people think better in a foreign language? In some ways, yes. There is considerable evidence to this effect, at least to the extent that they are less likely to rely on intuitions that can lead to serious errors. This finding reinforces, and makes more plausible, a central claim in regulatory policy, which involves the value of cost-benefit analysis. In a sense, cost-benefit analysis is a foreign language, and it reduces the risk that people will rely on intuitions that cause serious errors.

Do people think better in a foreign language? D'une certaine façon, oui. Il existe des preuves considérables à cet effet, du moins dans la mesure où ils sont moins susceptibles de s'appuyer sur des intuitions qui peuvent conduire à de graves erreurs. Questa scoperta sottolinea e rende più plausibile, una richiesta centrale nella politica di regolamentazione, il che significa che il valore delle analisi costi-benefici. In gewissem Sinne ist die Kosten-Nutzen-Analyse eine Fremdsprache und verringert das Risiko, dass Menschen auf Intuitionen zurückgreifen, die schwere Fehler verursachen.

Suggested Citation

Sunstein, Cass R., Is Cost-Benefit Analysis a Foreign Language? (January 3, 2017). Forthcoming, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Symposium on 'the Foreign Language Effect'. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2893401 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2893401

Cass R. Sunstein (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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617-496-2291 (Phone)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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