Category Archives: Experimental economics

Summer school: Why isn’t ethics a behavioural science?

Summer school “Why isn’t ethics a behavioural science?” in Trento, Italy from 25. September 2008 to 28. September 2008
Deadline for application 20. August 2008
Further information at:

Below a description:

As in every summer, the Laboratory for Social Responsibility, Ethics and Rational Choice of the Department of Economics at the University of Trento, and Econometica (Inter-University Centre for Economic Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility) organize a summer school on game theory, social norms and institutions.

This year’s summer school will continue on this tradition. The idea behind the school is that our understanding of the role of social preferences in shaping social norms and institutions will be enhanced if we manage to integrate three sides of the current research. First, the theory of bounded rationality and learning in games. Second, the more sophisticated approach to people’s preferences pioneered by behavioural economists, which incorporates altruism and spitefulness, a taste for reciprocity, feelings of guilt and shame and other moral emotions.
Finally, the experimental research on the way in which flesh-and-bone individuals make their decisions in strategic situations.”

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.

4th International Meeting on Experimental and Behavioral Economics

4th International Meeting on Experimental and Behavioral  Economicsin Alicante, Spain from 27. March 2008 to 29. March 2008.
Deadline for paper submission: 31. January 2008

JEL classification(s): C, D

Further information at:

Coverage of Behavioral and Experimental Economics in Undergraduate Microeconomics Textbooks

Here is the latest draft the paper “Coverage of Behavioral and Experimental Economics in Undergraduate Microeconomics Textbooks” which I wrote with Minna Autio. Here is the abstract: This paper analyzes to what degree 25 undergraduate microeconomics textbooks incorporate contributions from behavioral economics and experimental economics.

We find that ten of the 25 textbooks examined make no reference at all to behavioral economics; six dedicate less than 1% of total pages to it, six between 1% and 2.6 %, and three between 6% and 11%. When behavioral economics is discussed, the focus tends to be on bounded rationality rather than on bounded self-interest or bounded willpower. Experimental economics is not discussed at all in ten textbooks, twelve textbooks dedicate less than 0.6% of total pages to it, while three dedicate between 2% and 10% of total pages.

We discuss the possible causes of the detected variation in the coverage of behavioral economics drawing from a variety of qualitative materials.

Keywords: behavioral economics, economics education and teaching of economics, experimental economics, microeconomics, psychology, textbooks.

JEL classification codes: A22, B49, B59, D01.

Summer School on Social Norms 14. July 2008 to 17. July 2008

For graduates and postgraduates  with a research interest in Social Norms, the University of the Basque Country’s  and the Urrutia Elejalde Foundation’s XI summer school on economics and philosophy will  focus on social norms.  The summer school will take placein San Sebastian, Spain from 14. July 2008 to 17. July 2008. The deadline for applications is  31. January 2008. Further information at as well as below

 “A summer school organized by the University of the Basque Country and the Urrutia Elejalde Foundation.
San Sebastián, July 14-17 (2008)

Director: Cristina Bicchieri (UPenn)

Coordinators: Alfonso Dubois (UPV/EHU), David Teira & Jesús Zamora(UNED)

Aims and Scope | Speakers | Call for papers

1. Aims and scope:

Since 1998 the Urrutia Elejalde has annually organized a Summer School on frontier topics between philosophy, economics and other social sciences, bringing together scholars from all these fields to explore them. The aim of this year Summer School is to introduce participants to the vast research that is taking place in the area of social norms. From philosophy and psychology to evolutionary game theory and experimental economics, recent work on social norms is shedding light on why and under what circumstances people engage in pro-social behavior, and how norms may emerge, stabilize or decay.

2. Preliminary list of speakers

Jason Alexander (LSE), Daniel Andler (Paris IV-ENS), Cristina Bicchieri (UPenn), Jordi Brandts (UAB), Pablo Brañas (Ugr), Cristiano Castelfranchi (ISTC- CNR), Jason DanaJon Elster (Columbia+College de France), Diego Gambetta (Oxford), Herbert Gintis (UMass), Russell Hardin (NYU), Shaun Nichols (U. Arizona), Dan SperberEdna Ullmann-Margalit (Jerusalem) (UPenn), (CNRS),

3. Call for papers

We encourage submission of papers that cover one or more of the above areas. The scientific committe will consider a number of submissions by young scholars at graduate or postgraduate level. The Foundation will cover the registration fees and accomodation expenses of the authors. Please send a 2000 words pdf abstract to David Teira (dteira [@] before Jan 31st 2008. A decision will be made by March 15th.

Scientific Committee: Cristina Bicchieri, Jason Alexander, Jason Dana, Diego Gambetta.”


Social comparison and neuroeconomics: a critical view

The Economist’s blog Free Exchange in the post The comparative brain heavily criticizes Fliessbach’s et al (2007) study “Social Comparison Affects Reward-Related Brain Activity in the Human Ventral Striatum” ( abstract) published in Science, 23 November 2007.

Positional consumption and progressive consumption taxes

David R. Henderson criticizes Robert H. Frank’s proposal for a progressive consumption tax as a means to internalize the negative externality related to positional consumption by the rich in Robert Frank’s Strange Case for Taxing “The Rich” .

Part on Henderson’s critique focuses on the importance of social comparisons on driving consumption choices and suggests Frank may have overstated it. In the article Social Comparison Affects Reward-Related Brain Activity in the Human Ventral Striatum, in Science, 23 November 2007, Fliessbach et al “provide neurophysiological evidence for the importance of social comparison on reward processing in the human brain.” Here is the abstract . See also the Washington Post review article on the Fliessback’s et al Science paper.

Pointer by Greg Mankiw.