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Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Fall 2019, Higher School of Economics


November 30 announcement:

Your home assignment is to design your own economics experiment. On December 17, at the final exam, you should submit to me a word/pdf document giving a complete description of the experiment. What I expect is:

  • An abstract, summarizing the rest of the document in one paragraph;
  • An introduction (2-3 paragraphs), describing the motivation for the experiment;
  • A literature review/background section (min. 2 paragraphs), describing what previous studies have been done on the topic you are planning to investigate and what makes your proposed experiment different;
  • A detailed description of the experiment, including the treatments and hypotheses (predictions). This is the most important part of the document and should take at least a couple of pages.
Quality is more important than quantity for this assignment. I am not going to grade you based on how many pages you write, but based on how clear and interesting the description of your experiment is.

The experiment can be based on any paper that we discussed in class (it can be an extension of some existing experiments, investigating related questions), but it does not have to be. It can also be a completely new experiment investigating any issue related to economic behavior that you find interesting.

An example of a previous completed project can be found here. You should not see this as a perfect example, but simply as an example that followed the structure above and received a good grade.

October 29 announcements:

You have been signed up for an experiment on November 5 or November 7. Check your e-mails!

Dan Ariely is giving a lecture at NES next week (sign up link). Attending and answering the following questions earns you a maximum of 4 extra credit points for the quizzes:

1. Give one example from the talk of behavior that Dan describes as irrational and explain how an economist might disagree with Dan and argue that the behavior can be rational in the context of some model of preferences and beliefs.
2. The topic of Dan's talk is "How to use behavioral economics to design better products." Summarize Dan's answer to this question in one paragraph. Do you agree that behavioral economics can be used to make better products? Explain.

Section 1 readings (Introduction):

Lecture notes
Chapter 1 of Mostly Harmless Econometrics
Hertwig and Ortmann
Card, et al. (the section on gift exchange)

Section 2 readings (Game theory):

Notes on game theory
Paper 1: On the persistence of strategic sophistication (Instructions)
Slides on Paper 1
Paper 2: Beliefs and endogenous cognitive levels: An experimental study
Slides on Paper 2

Section 3 readings (Nash Equilibrium):

Reference 1, Reference 2, Reference 3

Section 4 readings (Prosocial behavior):

Reference 1, Reference 2, Reference 3 Reference 4, Reference 5

Section 5 readings (Trust):

Reference 1.

Section 6 readings (Prospect Theory):

Reference 1.

Section 7 readings (Thinking Fast and Slow):

Reference 1. Reference 2. Reference 3.

Section 8 readings (Anomalies):

Reference 1. Reference 2.

Section 9 readings (MLA):

Reference 1. Reference 2.