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Wall Street shenanigans and the pursuit of happiness

October 23, 2009

Can’t get enough of behavioral economist Dan Ariely? That certainly seems to be a common condition at the Poptech conference in Camden, ME this week.

Ariely gave a mind-bending talk about the counter-intuitive notion that paying people more can actually make them perform more poorly — at almost the exact moment that Obama’s pay czar was unveiling plans to slash the bonuses of top banking and automotive executives by about 90 percent.

Here’s more from Ariely, on everything from the unforeseen consequences of the pay restrictions to the difficulty of measuring human happiness.

Video # 1: “We have a group of people who have been very successful at playing a lot of shenanigans on us.”

Video #2: “If you can be really funny for 10 minutes, I’ll give you $10,000.”

Video #3: “We think that getting rich will make us happy, but it doesn’t make us as happy as we think.”

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  • About Adam

    "I'm a nine-year Reuters veteran who has covered a range of technology and media beats in New York and London. In 2006 I was the founding Reuters bureau chief in Second Life, a virtual world with its own currency and economy."
    Hometown:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Joined Reuters:
    2000
    Languages:
    Spanish
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