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Behavioral economics is a field that applies insights from psychology to problems in economics. The field has been applied extensively to problems in public policy, helping scholars and policymakers understand how to design economic systems in the presence of behavioral biases. Behavioral economics has also captured popular imagination via the popular writing of behavioral economists and enterprising reporters alike.
At first glance, behavioral economic insights and approaches may seem irreconcilable with canonical rational agent models that remain the mainstream in research economics. Given this conflict, a natural question arises: how does behavioral economics change and contribute to the way we think about economic behavior?
In this panel, Colin Camerer, Andrew Caplin, and David Laibson—leading behavioral scholars whose work includes innovations in subdisciplines like behavioral finance and neuroeconomics—joined us to explore how their research has given valuable insight into economic models of human behavior. Discussion focused on how new insights from behavioral research can be accommodated in more traditional models, and the areas in which behavioral economics can most helpfully challenge orthodox views on economic behavior. The panel was intended to help inform audience members with backgrounds in economics and related fields on how to incorporate behavioral insights into their programs of study and research, and understand more broadly how this increasingly popular field has enriched the field of economics.
The panel was moderated by Nicole Gorton and Alex Foster, fourth-year and third-year undergraduates (respectively) in the economics department.