Incorporating more realistic psychology into economic analysis


Matthew Rabin

Date & Time

From: 22 June 2017
Until: 23 June 2017




The Institute for Fiscal Studies
7 Ridgmount Street,


HE Delegates: £75
Charity or Government: £200
Other Delegates: £450

This course is now fully booked. To join the waiting list, please email with “Waiting List Request – Incorporating more realistic psychology into economic analysis 22nd & 23rd June 2017” in the subject line.

A cemmap masterclass with Matthew Rabin (Harvard University).

Reflecting the advent of “behavioral economics,” as well as the accumulation of evidence about some of the systematic shortcomings of traditional economics, this masterclass provides an introduction to some of the ways that insights from psychology can be translated into formal economic analysis. The emphasis is on how economists – as well as policy makers and others applying economic theory – might incorporate these insights to answer important economic questions using the rigorous techniques of traditional economics.

The lectures will provide a brief overview of the general approach, discuss some of the motivating evidence and systematic lessons we might take from that evidence, and will sketch some of the potential economic implications of the new theories. Topics include ways that we can be more realistic about people’s preferences, for instance by understanding that people care not just about absolute outcomes, but how those outcomes compare to expectations and other reference points, and more generally how people’s well-being is directly influenced by what they believe. Other topics include ways economics can be more realistic about imperfections in human reasoning and choices, such as allowing for people’s biases in predicting future tastes, the overly narrow focus people bring to important choices, self-control problems, biases in probabilistic judgment, and errors people make in learning from each other.

To download a suggested introductory reading list, please click here. Please note that no prior reading will be expected before the class, and this list is provided to help those who wish to choose a few readings in advance.

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 694822-FOODHABITS-ERC-2015-AdG)