Cobra Effect

January 16, 2022

The Cobra Effect is a term used to describe a situation where an attempted solution to a problem actually makes the problem worse. The term comes from a historical anecdote where the British government offered a bounty for dead cobras in an effort to reduce their population, but people began breeding cobras to collect the bounty, ultimately making the cobra population increase. The Cobra Effect can occur when incentives are misaligned or when unintended consequences arise from well-intentioned actions.