SOME POLICY IMPLICATIONS OF BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS AND HAPPINESS STUDIES FOR SINGAPORE: WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO CASINOS
Behavioral economics is the study of economic behavior beyond the traditional simple economic models of constrained maximization with purely economic objectives (consumption/profits). Some policy implications of the findings of behavioral economics, happiness studies and beyond are outlined, with special reference to excessive volatility in business cycles and the optimal level of public spending. Though behavioral economics potentially provides more support for the restriction of gambling, an outright ban need not be optimal. Though legal casinos may increase some crimes, it will decrease crimes associated with illegal gambling. Some restrictions of problem gambling will be needed. Apart from (if not rather than) the attraction of tourists/visitors, the consumer surplus associated with responsible pleasure gambling is likely to be the major benefits of legalizing casinos. The proposed entry fee may be better replaced by a membership system, as the former is unfair to locals and will lead to unhealthy gambling.
Singapore, casinos, behavioral economics, happiness studies, public spending, business cycles
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