History of nudging: Before Prof Thaler there was Dr. T.M.A. Pai

October 16, 2017

My recent piece in Mint titled as Before Thaler there was Pai. Have just added Prof and Dr against their names to make a clearer distinction. The piece shows how Dr T.M.A. Pai was an early nudger to encourage financial savings amidst people and mobilise deposits for his bank.

Two key ideas.

First, behavioral economics is as old as it gets. Entrepreneurs etc have always struggled to figure human behavior and then design products accordingly. If one digs deeper into this kind of product history, one is likely to see some or the other form of nudging. If economists have woken up late to the subject it does not mean these ideas were not understood and not implemented.

Second, is of course the constant lament of this blog on how ignorant we are of our business and financial history.  It is a pity how Dr. TMA Pai’s several achievements in banking have been just forgotten. The Mint piece just highlights one of them.


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