In this MIT Alumni Books Podcast, Robert Shiller SM ’68, PhD ’72 discusses his new book, Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception, a book he co-authored with George Akerlof PhD ’66. The audio was recorded live at an MIT Alumni Association event at Fidelity Investments in Boston.
At the event, Shiller talked with Nanette Byrnes, senior editor of business reports at MIT Technology Review. Phishing for Phools, says Shiller, helps readers unpack the psychology of “phishing”—identifying what is at work when markets provide consumers what they don’t necessarily want—and what is at work when they willingly take the bait.
“This book I think is a delayed reaction to a trend in economic thinking that’s been going on for several decades,” says Shiller. “And it’s getting to the point where we feel that maybe it needs a rebuttle.”
When Byrnes asks to what degree is technology playing into this phenomenon, Shiller says: “Technology cuts both ways. We have marketplaces on the web that have reviews by customers…things like Uber and Airbnb that maintain reputations this way. On the other hand it creates an opportunity for big data exploitation.”