Monthly Archives: February 2008

Ireland’s plastic bag tax on Alpia Econ blog

If you want to discuss Ireland’s plastic bag tax in class, have a look at the useful didactic post on Aplia Econ blog.


The economics of regret on Science

This week Science publishes yet another paper on neuroeconomics. In Predicting Human Interactive Learning by Regret-Driven Neural Networks, Davide Marchiori and Massimo Warglien incorporated regret in a relatively simple model. They showed that their model fits well the behavior of players in 21 different economic experiments. Marchiori and Warglien defined regret as the difference between the outcome the actor choice yielded and the best outcome that could have been attained if the actor had made a different choice.


Marchiori Davide and Warglien Massimo (2008) Predicting Human Interactive Learning by Regret-Driven Neural Networks, Science, 22 February 2008; Vol 319, no 5866, pp.1111-1113 abstract

Cohen, MIchael, D. (2008) Learning with regret, Science, 22 February 2008; Vol 319, no 5866, pp.1052-1053.

Behavioral economics on Science this week

Steven D. Levitt and John A. List discuss behavioral economics in Homo Economicus evolves , Science 15 February 2008:ol. 319. no. 5865, pp. 909 – 910, DOI: 10.1126/science.1153640). They write:

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing behavioral economics is demonstrating its applicability in the real world. In nearly every instance, the strongest empirical evidence in favor of behavioral anomalies emerges from the lab. . . Some evidence thus far suggests that behavioral anomalies are less pronounced than was previously observed in the lab . . . Behavioral economics stands today at a crossroads. On the modeling side, researchers should integrate the existing behavioral models and empirical results into a unified theory . . . To be empirically relevant, the anomalies that arise so frequently and powerfully in the laboratory must also manifest themselves in naturally occurring settings of interest.

Openess and Sustainability Graduate Summer School

The Openess and Sustainability Graduate Summer School will take place at Lund University, Campus Helsingborg, Sweden, June 7-20, 2008. It is organized and hosted by Lund University, Campus Helsingborg, Sweden in cooperation with the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada and the Faculty of the Social Sciences, Ljubliana University, Slovenia; and profs Steve Fuller, Warwick University, England, Joni Seager, Hunter College, CUNY, USA and Jeremy Shearmur, Australian National University, Australia.  More information

Paul Ehrlich on “Key issues for attention from ecological economists”

Paul Ehrlich puts forward his view on the key issues ecological economists should focus on in Key issues for attention from ecological economistsEnvironment and Development Economics, Volume 13, Issue 01, February 2008, pp 1-20 . Pointer from Globalisation and the Environment blog.

Internationalising Intermediate Microeconomics

As I go through the challenging experience of teaching intermediate microeconomics for the first time, I keep looking for good ideas on how to improve students’ learning and motivation. Today, I found a very inspiring article in the International Review of Economics Education by Elsa Galarza Contreras and Marianne Johnson: Internationalising Intermediate Microeconomics: Collaborative Case Studies and Web-Based Learning, IREE Volume 6 Issue 1, 2007. Below is the abstract

This paper describes an internationally-oriented course module for intermediate microeconomics.We describe the collaboration project as well as the results of implementing it at an US and Peruvian university. In the project, US university students were partnered with comparable students at a Peruvian university to complete a project using web-based learning tools and internet conferencing.

Project learning objectives are identified and an outline of the project and assignments is presented. Based on our experiences,we evaluate the project and consider problems and issues that arose. Our results suggest that the current state of web-based technology affords university students many opportunities to productively collaborate with their international counterparts.”