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About the book
  • Published: 2 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9781847946751
  • Imprint: Random House Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $27.99

The Why Axis

Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life




Two leading behavioural economists use original research to explore the truth about the hidden motives underlying our behaviour, and how incentives can be used to change the ways in which we act.

Based on groundbreaking original research, The Why Axis is a colourful examination of why people do what they do – and how effective incentives can spur people to change their behaviour and achieve more.

Uri Gneezy and John List are a little like the anthropologists who spend months in the field studying people in their native environments. But rather than acting as impartial observers, these two intrepid economists have set out to study the ways people act in order to try to solve major problems in society, such as the gap between rich and poor students and the violence plaguing inner city schools; the real reasons people discriminate; and the continuing pay disparity between men and women.

Their field experiments in the factories, communities, and shops where real people live, work, and play show how incentives can change outcomes. Their results will change the way you think about and take action on both small and large problems, and force us as a society to stop making assumptions and to rely instead upon the evidence of what really works.

  • Pub date: 2 March 2015
  • ISBN: 9781847946751
  • Imprint: Random House Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Authors

Uri Gneezy

Uri Gneezy is the Arthur Brody Endowed Chair in Behavioral Economics and Professor of Economics and Strategy at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. He has also been on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Israel’s Technion, and the University of Haifa.

John List

John List is the Homer J. Livingston Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. He has been a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics (NBER) for more than decade and served as senior economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors for environmental and resource economics.


Praise for The Why Axis

“True trailblazers in one of the greatest innovations in economics of the last fifty years.”

Stephen Levitt, author of Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics

“John List and Uri Gneezy are among the foremost behavioral economists in the world. This book about their groundbreaking research is a true pleasure to read.”

Daniel Gilbert, author of the international bestseller Stumbling on Happiness

“Uri Gneezy is a pioneer whose work tears down the wall between the lab and the field.”

Alvin E. Roth, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

“John List’s work in field experiments is revolutionary.”

Gary Becker, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences


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