Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Summer 2020

24 QRCA VIEWS SUMMER 2020 www.qrca.org n SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT n Narrative Economics: Reframing the Roles of Storytelling and Behavioral Economics By Susan Fader n FaderFocus n Teaneck, NJ n susanfader@faderfocus.com Just as behavioral economics migrated from the world of financial economics and was modified and adapted by market research, market researchers should start integrating narrative economics into research design—how they listen to and analyze insights, and how they view and use storytelling. First, some background on the evolu- tion of economic theory. Classical economics made the assumption that people make rational decisions. Behav- ioral economics’ premise is that people don’t always make rational decisions. However, Robert J. Shiller, the Nobel Prize winning economist and the father of narrative economics, emphasizes that economic decisions can appear to be irrational or perplexing if you don’t contextualize the events happening around them; thus narrative economics provides the viewing lens and tools to do this. Shiller explains that narrative economics is “the study of the spread and dynamics of popular narratives, the stories, particularly those of human interest and emotion, and how these change through time, to understand economic fluctuations.” Therefore, in adapting narrative economics to market research, I believe that we should reframe how we think about behavioral economics; that it should be recognized as an outsider’s (the S torytelling and behavioral econom- ics can play central roles in market research—moving storytelling from an output role to stories as input. Narrative economics will reframe how you think about and use both.