Hopefully Anonymous once called for some public intellectuals to examine the work of the “suspiciously productive” Dan Ariely for funny business, saying “He either is a major genius or a minor genius that fudges a sizeable portion of his research production, it seems to me […] one of the most productively counterintuitive minds without being clear quantitative genius capable of creating better models of reality than most other scientists.” A while back I linked to some dueling videos from Ariely and Tim Harford, but also noted that Harford’s central example of the worth of simple logic in economics may be wrong. A more serious critique of Ariely comes by way of Henry Farrell. He claims that the effects of opt-in vs opt-out in organ donation has been greatly exaggerated, and that Ariely’s findings on what people say about hypothetical organ donation differ from what we observe in actual donations. Pleasing enough for H.A, Farrell says the evidence on blood donation cannot be easily slotted into either dueling narrative from libertarians and liberals.
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