Jan 22, 2020
Psychologists have long understood that social environments profoundly shape our behavior, sometimes for the better, often for the worse. But social influence is a two-way street—our environments are themselves products of our behavior. Author Robert Frank joined us with insight from his book Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work, identifying ways to unlock the latent power of social context—perhaps even on a level that could save the planet.
Frank drew our attention to the threat of a changing climate, asserting that robust measures to curb greenhouse gases could help us curtail droughts, flooding, wildfires, and famines. He highlighted new research that shows how the strongest predictor of our willingness to support climate-friendly policies, install solar panels, or buy an electric car is the number of people we know who have already done so. Frank explained how altering our social context could help us redirect trillions of dollars annually in support of carbon-free energy sources, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. Join Frank to learn how fostering more supportive social environments could lead individuals everywhere to make choices that benefit everyone.
Robert H. Frank is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Economics at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1972 and where he currently holds a joint appointment in the department of economics and the Johnson Graduate School of Management. He has published on a variety of subjects, including price and wage discrimination, public utility pricing, the measurement of unemployment spell lengths, and the distributional consequences of direct foreign investment.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle. Recorded live in The Forum on January 20, 2020.