Behavioral economics is an increasingly influential field across the social sciences, including public administration. But while some behavioral economics ideas have spread rapidly in public administration research, we argue that a broader range of behavioral economics concepts can and should be applied. We begin by outlining some central models and concepts from behavioral economics to fix ideas, including the rational model and the “behavioral” response. We then discuss how a variety of heretofore underutilized behavioral economics concepts can be applied to a specific area of work in public administration – bureaucratic decision making. Our aim in doing so is two-fold. First, we hope to provide fresh food for thought for researchers and practitioners working in the broader behavioral public administration space. Second, we hope to demonstrate that there is substantial scope for expanding behavioral economics’ influence on public administration research.
Many goods and services have accompanying costs that are not salient at the moment of purchase. Existing research suggests that consumers are inattentive to such costs when making small purchases. There is less evidence about attention to costs associated with large purchases. This paper examines residential real estate transactions and studies the extent to which sale prices adjust to ownership costs. The results are inconclusive, neither ruling out full price adjustment nor lack of price adjustment. Despite the inconclusive result, the inability to decisively rule out incomplete price adjustment to predictable ownership costs (which is suggestive of inattention) is noteworthy, given the high financial stakes of buying a home.
People with disabilities face substantial barriers to sustained employment and stable, adequate income. We assess how they and their families fared during the long economic expansion that followed the Great Recession of 2007-09, using data from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) and the March CPS annual income supplement. We find that the expansion bolstered the well-being of people with disabilities and in particular their relative labor market engagement. We also find that applications and awards for federal disability benefits fell during the expansion. On balance, our results suggest that sustained economic growth can bolster the labor market engagement of people with disabilities and potentially reduce their reliance on disability benefits.
The fraction of the U.S. workforce identified as involuntary part-time workers rose to new highs during the U.S. Great Recession and came down only slowly in its aftermath. We assess the determinants of involuntary part-time work using an empirical framework that accounts for business cycle effects and persistent structural features of the labor market. We conduct regression analyses using state-level panel data for the years 2003-16. The results indicate that structural factors, notably shifts in the industry composition of employment, have held the incidence of involuntary part-time work slightly more than 1 percentage point above its prerecession level.