BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICIES

A.A. di erogazione 2020/2021
Insegnamento a scelta tra

 (A.A. 2020/2021)
Anno di corso: 
1
Lingua: 
Inglese
Crediti: 
6
Ciclo: 
Secondo Semestre
Ore di attivita' frontale: 
50

Behavioral economics is a flourishing research program in recent economic analysis. Generally speaking, behavioral economics studies the effects of cognitive and emotional factors on individual economic behavior, and the aggregate consequences of this behavior on market equilibria and prices. Insights provided by behavioral economics have proved useful to shape public policies in fields such as saving, taxation, social security and health.
In the first part of the course (20 hours), Moscati introduces the main concepts and findings of behavioral economics. In the second part (20 hours), Figari discusses how these concepts and findings have been applied to public policies.

RISULTATI DI APPRENDIMENTO ATTESI
At the end of this course, the student will be able to:
1. master the main concepts and findings of behavioral economics;
2.undersatnd how these concepts and findings can inform public policies.

Basic knowledge of microeconomic and public finance theory.

Decision making under certainty and uncertainty; intertemporal choice; strategic interaction and social preferences; modelling individual response to public policies; public policy applications: pension savings, poverty, income support and redistribution, taxation.

Lectures by instructors, class discussion conducted by instructors, presentation of papers by students.

Written exam.
There are two ways of taking the exam.
a) Two midterm exams
Students can take the first midterm exam at the end of the first part of the course (the one taught by Moscati) at the end of March. The first midterm exam is a written exam and covers only the topics discussed by Moscati. Structure of the first midterm exam: 4 open questions and exercises, 1 hour.
If the student passes the first midterm (grade ≥ 18), she can take the second midterm exam at the end of the second part of the course (the one taught by Figari) at the end of May. The second midterm exam is a written exam and covers only the topics discussed by Figari. Structure of the second midterm exam: 4 open questions and exercises, 1 hour.
If the student passes also the second midterm (grade ≥ 18), her exam grade is the average of the two mid-terms. If the student fails either the first or the second midterm exam, she must take the general exam (see below). If she takes the first or both midterm exams, but is dissatisfied with her grades, she can “play it again”, that is, she can forget about the first (and second) midterm and take the general exam.
b) General exam
Students can also take a general written exam (in June or, at latest, early July), which is divided into two parts corresponding, respectively, to the topics covered by Moscati and Figari.
Structure of general exams: 3 open questions and exercises on the first part, 3 open questions on the second part; time: 1,5 hours.
The grade is the average of the grades on the two parts, and you pass the exam if this average is at least 18. The first general exam will take place around mid-June.

Texts

Part I (Moscati):
• Angner, Erik. Behavioral Economics, 2nd edition. London: Palgrave, 2016, ISBN 978-1-137-51292-5.
Available at Libreria Cortina Varese or on Amazon.it.
• Instructor's slides

Part II (Figari):
• Atkinson, A. B. and F. Bourguignon, 2015, Introduction: Income distribution today in Handbook of Income distribution, Elsevier.
• Avram, S., 2015, Benefit Losses Loom Larger than Taxes: The Effects of Framing and Loss Aversion on Behavioural Responses to Taxes and Benefits, ISER WP 2015-17
• Beaulier, Scott and Bryan Caplan (2007). Behavioral economics and perverse effects of the welfare state. Kyklos 60 (4), 485-507.
• Bertrand, Marianne, Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir (2004). A behavioral-economics view of poverty. American Economic Review 94 (2), 419-423.
• Chetty, R., 2015, Behavioural Economics and Public Policy: A Pragmatic Perspective, American Economic Review, Papers and Prooceedings 105(5)
• Chetty, R., Looney A. and K. Kroft, 2009, Salience and taxation: Theory and evidence. American Economic Review 99 (4), 1145–1177
• Chetty, Raj, John N. Friedman, Soren Leth-Petersen, Torben H. Nielsen, and Tore Olsen (2014). Active vs. Passive Decisions and Crowd-out in Retirement Savings Accounts: Evidence from Denmark”, Quarterly Journal of Economics 129(3): 1141-1219
• Congdon, W.J., Kling, J. R. and Mullainathan S., 2011, Policy and Choice, Public Finance through the lens of behavioural economics, The Brookings Institution
• Congiu, L & Moscati, I., 2020, Message and Environment A Framework for Nudges and Choice Architecture, Behavioural Public Policies, 4(1):71-87
• Dolls, M., Doerrenberg, P., Peichl, A. and H. Stichnoth, 2018, Do retirement savings increase in response to information about retirement and expected pensions? Journal of Public Economics 158, 168-179.
• Kizzy Gandy, Katy King, Pippa Streeter Hurle, Chloe Bustin and Kate Glazebrook, 2016, Poverty and decision-making. How behavioural science can improve opportunity in the UK. The Behavioural Insight team.

Relevant teaching materials are available in the e-learning webspace of the course.

Office hours:
Figari: by appointment; to arrange an appointment, please write an email to francesco.figari@uninsubria.it
Moscati: by appointment; to arrange an appointment, please write an email to ivan.moscati@uninsubria.it

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