This course will draw heavily on my own research, and pulls largely from my three books: Predictably Irrational (2008), The Upside of Irrationality (2010), and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty (2012). We will examine topics such as our “irrational” patterns of thinking about money and investments, how expectations shape perception, economic and psychological analyses of dishonesty by honest people, how social and financial incentives work together (or against each other) in labor, how self-control comes into play with decision making, and how emotion (rather than cognition) can have a large impact on economic decisions. This highly interdisciplinary course will be relevant to all human beings. The goals of this class:
- Introduce you to the range of cases where people (consumers, investors, managers, friends, significant others, and even you) might make decisions that are inconsistent with standard economic theory and the assumptions of rational decision making. This is the lens of behavioral economics.
- Help you think creatively about the applications of behavioral economics to the development of new products, technologies and public policy, and to understand how business and social policy strategies could be modified with a deeper understanding of the effects these principles have on all of us.