Allow Me to Ramble: Obama’s Behavioral Crew

Imagine my surprise (and joy) when I ran across this New York Times article that detailed President Obama’s excellent usage of behavioral economics in his ultimately successful campaign for reelection.

Not only did the president draw on what research has established to combat negative attack ads, get voters to trust him and get voters to actually vote, and persuade people to believe in his cause and donate their time, money and resources — he actually did it with some rockstar behavioral economists!

Clearly, this “dream team” of economists contributed to the campaign’s angle – they sought to characterize President Obama as both competent and warm, knowing that these two characters were the most important factors for voters. They also used previously established techniques like the ‘foot-in-the-door’ approach to get volunteers to agree to small favors and then larger ones.

It’s very cool to see a political campaign move from just powerful rhetoric to tested, proven methods for encouraging voter turnout (and getting those votes to turn their way.)


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