What in the Word! The Scope for the Effect of Word Choice on Economic Behavior

24 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2018

See all articles by Katherine Farrow

Katherine Farrow

CEROS, Université Paris Nanterre

Gilles Grolleau

Montpellier SupAgro and Researcher at LAMETA

Naoufel Mzoughi

INRA Ecodéveloppement

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

We propose that words can be an object of systematic study in the field of economics and outline an approach to the study of word choice in behavioral economics. We consider words as strategic instruments of influence and review how they can impact behaviors in several subtle and distinctive ways, namely through their capacity to elicit affect, support identity and social belonging, evoke linguistic associations, and generate bias arising from variations in fluency. We provide a variety of examples to illustrate the behavioral impacts of words through these mechanisms and provide practical recommendations regarding how words can be harnessed by policymakers to reach socially desirable goals through a consideration of how word‐related behavioral anomalies shape incentives.

Suggested Citation

Farrow, Katherine and Grolleau, Gilles and Mzoughi, Naoufel, What in the Word! The Scope for the Effect of Word Choice on Economic Behavior (November 2018). Kyklos, Vol. 71, Issue 4, pp. 557-580, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3265435 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/kykl.12186

Katherine Farrow (Contact Author)

CEROS, Université Paris Nanterre ( email )

Gilles Grolleau

Montpellier SupAgro and Researcher at LAMETA ( email )

France

Naoufel Mzoughi

INRA Ecodéveloppement ( email )

Domaine Saint-Paul - Site Agroparc
Avignon cedex 9, 84914
France

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