Human behaviour tends to repeat itself and it is somewhat predictable. Rational behaviour states that people make decisions based on the optimal level of benefit with a maximum level of utility [emotions]. Therefore when making a choice we gather all the information available and tend to think that our decision is independent of others.

Truth is we tend to take the well-being of others especially emotions into account and have a tendency to favour evidence that confirms our existing biases. In this case rationality holds no ground, as intuitively we have a need to fulfill our hard-wired desire to go with the crowd.

Hence, behavourial economics is important as it helps us get a better understanding on how we make decisions.  Factors such as imperfect self-control, social preference, time discounting and the framing effect play a vast role in making decisions. For instance the framing effect is when people’s preferences are dependent on how the options are presented, for example we all know the major political parties but how they were campaigned impacted the way we feel about them i.e emotions.

Human behaviour is motivated by fairness, justice and revenge; hence we are impressionable, shortsighted and optimistic of the future. Above all, loss aversion theory suggests that we strongly want to avoid losing; that is, we fear losing what we have more than we desire gains. Essentially voters value what they have over the prospect of larger gains, and politicians are well aware of that.

Politicians have mastered human irrationality than most. In fact the best politicians are not the deepest intellects, but those with the intuition to accept human thought and behaviour as it is, and the skill to shape it to their ends.

In that case, since people have tendency to favour evidence that confirms our existing biases, parties that reflect these biases receive public trust and rapport.

Evidently Malcolm Gladwell suggests that humans often take less than two seconds to make important judgements. This eagerness can result in better decisions than longer, more deliberative decision-making. Therefore when rapport has formed between a party and a voter, the second they see a ballot paper, their subconscious automatically draws them to that party.

Consequently such rapid judgements aren’t irrational, as lots of thinking is squeezed into the two seconds of a blink decision. These immediate observations are cross-referenced with past experience to generate broad inferences.

The point of the matter is that politics is better described as more intuitive than impulsive. 

1 Response

  1. Christopher says:

    So informative piece, please keep on writing. I’m definitely inspired 👏

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