Konubinix' opinionated web of thoughts

Cobra Effect


A perverse incentive, leading to unforeseen consequences, self-fulfilling prophecy

The British government, concerned about the number of venomous cobras in Delhi, offered a bounty for every dead cobra. Initially, this was a successful strategy; large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward. Eventually, however, enterprising people began to breed cobras for the income. When the government became aware of this, the reward program was scrapped. When cobra breeders set their now-worthless snakes free, the wild cobra population further increased.[5] This story is often cited as an example of Goodhart’s Law.