People are extremely lazy

Behavioural Economics in Action
University_of_TorontoX: BE101x
Aug 2, 2013
Unit 1 > 1.2 Behavioural Economics and Choice Architecture > 1.2.1 What is Behavioural Economics

Defaults work because of two reasons.

Reason number one: people are extremely lazy.

If you put obstructions in their approach to a certain outcome, those obstructions are enough to prevent them from reaching that outcome.

action implementation gap, or a planning implementation gap


Lazy workers are necessary

Lazy workers are necessary for long-term sustainability in insect societies
Eisuke Hasegawa, et al.
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 20846 (2016)

Optimality theory predicts the maximization of productivity in social insect colonies, but many inactive workers are found in ant colonies. Indeed, the low short-term productivity of ant colonies is often the consequence of high variation among workers in the threshold to respond to task-related stimuli.
Why is such an inefficient strategy among colonies maintained by natural selection?
Here, we show that inactive workers are necessary for the long-term sustainability of a colony. Our simulation shows that colonies with variable thresholds persist longer than those with invariable thresholds because inactive workers perform the critical function of replacing active workers when they become fatigued. Evidence of the replacement of active workers by inactive workers has been found in ant colonies. Thus, the presence of inactive workers increases the long-term persistence of the colony at the expense of decreasing short-term productivity. Inactive workers may represent a bet-hedging strategy in response to environmental stochasticity.

journalistic version:

If I learned how to read …

Drift Away Into The Not-Quite-Dreamy Logic Of ‘Get In Trouble’
February 03, 2015

My parents have explained to me that apparently I was … a little bit lazy.
I felt that if I learned how to read, that in fact they would stop reading to me … I think what they finally did to get me to read was, they sat me down on the couch and explained that if I would learn how to read, I could read any time I wanted to read. And that was persuasive.