Monday, December 24, 2012

The economics of yoga

I appreciate yoga because it helps my stiff body to loosen up, and because it forces me to take some time off the multiple things I do to calm down. But I would not call this meditation, although many people do. I chat during the moves, thus for me it is a purely physical experience. Many others do it for the opportunity to free up and "purify" your mind, although I have been suspicious about such claims. It would take me an economist to convince me otherwise, and maybe the following study does.

Giovanni Di Bartolomeo, Stefano Papa and Saverio Bellomo look at how yoga and supposed meditation changes the way people trust each other and cooperate. They exposed some participants to yoga meditation (with Tibetan singing bowls no less) before an investment experiment. The "pre-meditated" participants showed lower risk aversion and more trust than the non-exposed ones. I wonder how this small experiment would scale up. Do countries with cultures based on meditation also have higher levels of trust and risk tolerance? Do they have institutions that rely more on trust? Something to ponder over the holidays.


Anonymous said...

"There is Economics in everything"

Larry Robinson Chicago Il said...

The Washington DC elites do not hold to any belief in meditation...
...perhaps medication.
...There does not appear to be any sense of risk aversion as Congress stares over the "fiscal cliff".