In different ways, we all live in a competitive world. But despite the risk of being revealed, it is primarily winners who are prepared to cheat. For example, the world’s largest car maker Volkswagen cheat with the performance of its diesel engines, the world’s best skiers from Norway cheat with their asthma medicine, as well as the now-current movie film about American figure skater and World Cup medalist Tonya Harding. In order to improve her chance to win the Olympic Games in Lillehammer in 1994, her former man broke down the knee of her worst competitor, Nancy Kerrigan. The list goes on.
Alla lever vi på olika sätt i en konkurrensutsatt värld. Men trots risken att avslöjas är det främst vinnare som är beredda att fuska. Världens största biltillverkare Volkswagen fuskar till exempel med prestandan på sina dieselmotorer, världens bästa skidåkare från Norge fuskar med sina astmamediciner, liksom den nu bioaktuella amerikanska konståkerskan och VM-medaljören Tonya Harding. För att förbättra chansen att hon skulle vinna OS i Lillehammer 1994 slog hennes förre man sönder knät på värsta konkurrenten, Nancy Kerrigan. Listan kan göras lång.
This year’s Nobel Prize laureate in Economics is Richard Thaler. Like the majority of former recipients of this award, he is American – and man. He receives the award for ”incorporating psychologically realistic assumptions into economic decision making and exploring the consequences of limited rationality, social preferences and lack of self-control”. He is thus representative of the relatively new area of behavioral economics, emphasizing that the classical economic theory, which relies on the premise that economic decisions are made by completely rational persons with complete information, does not hold. Thaler receives the award because he has shown that the individuals (or company’s) actual decisions are influenced by a number of psychological factors that are not taken into account in classical economic theory.