This course aims to
introduce findings in psychology, behavioral and experimental economics
and discuss the related implications in economic exchange. By learning
how people might behave ‘irrationally’ (as defined by standard
economists), you will gain insight into real world problems, such as
policy making, contract designing, marketing, management.
Social Norms and
Economics (Fall semester)
Social norms play an
important role in individual economic decisions and influence economic
exchange outcomes. This raises several important questions. What
mechanisms are effective in enforcing social norms? To what extent and
in what contexts might we expect norm obedience absent external economic
incentives? How should we take into account the role of social norms
when designing economic institutions? This course discusses experimental
research in economics, law and psychology that takes steps towards
answering these and other related questions.
markets, are comprised of a diversity of self-interested individuals.
Indeed, even CEOs who own shares of a company take actions that benefit
themselves at the expense of the firm. The design of organizations is
thus crucial in deciding what outcome organizations can achieve.
Critical questions include: How to assign decision rights? What
incentives should employees face? How to motivate employees to work
hard? How to keep the best workers? How to evaluate employees’
performance? What’s the role of leadership in organizations? The answers
to these questions are important in designing efficient organizations.
This course is intended to give you an in-depth introduction to the
design of organizations (most business firms). While we will focus on
the standard economic approach, we will also discuss some new insights
brought about by recent research in behavioral economics (psychology and
economics) on related topics.
We make decisions
every day of our lives. Sometimes we are happy with our decisions.
Other times we are regretful and believe that, if we had the
chance to do it again, we could make a better decision. On the
other hand, many of us have the experience of making the same
mistake repeatedly. In past decades psychologists, and more
recently economists, have provided interesting insights regarding
how people’s decisions deviate from the optimal. This course is an
introduction to the theory and empirical evidence on human
decision processes. We will study how heuristics and biases affect
individual decisions, and how individual decisions differ from
those made at group level. The goal of this course is to develop
an understanding of the nature and implications of human
limitations in judgment and decision. This will help you to better
predict decisions made by others, and will also assist in
improving your own decisions.
Punishment is an
important tool for promoting cooperation in social environments
including families, companies, markets and courts. This seminar
uses experimental research in economics, law and psychology to
explore critical issues in punishment and cooperation. Why do
people sometimes incur costs to themselves in order to punish
others? How do people behave under punishment threats? Why do
punishment threats sometimes have detrimental effects on
cooperation? How are emotions and punishment connected? Students
will investigate these and related research questions. Each
student will design an experiment that can inform a single
research topic. Each student will make classroom presentations and
submit term-papers detailing her topic and the way she address it
using laboratory or field experiments.