Final Project

Choose any one of the 3 options for the final project

Literature review (5 pages)

The goal of this research project is to examine recent empirical evidence on a tropic of your choice within behavioral economics.  Research at least 3 recent published articles by economists on a topic of your choice. Describe your research area or question,  methods and findings in the articles.  Use JSTOR article database on ESC library site, choose ‘Economics’, year 2015-present, and your keywords in advanced search.  Examples of topics within which you can develop a research question are overconfidence, nudging, negotiations, etc. For example, the following articles would fall under ‘motivated beliefs’:

Epley, Nicholas, and Thomas Gilovich. 2016. “The Mechanics of Motivated Reasoning.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 30 (3): 133–40. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.30.3.133

Bénabou, Roland, and Jean Tirole. 2016. “Mindful Economics: The Production, Consumption, and Value of Beliefs.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 30 (3): 141–64. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.30.3.141

Golman, Russell, George Loewenstein, Karl Ove Moene, and Luca Zarri. 2016. “The Preference for Belief Consonance.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 30 (3): 165–88. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.30.3.165

Gino, Francesca, Michael I. Norton, and Roberto A. Weber. 2016. “Motivated Bayesians: Feeling Moral While Acting Egoistically.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 30 (3): 189–212. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.30.3.189

Research paper topic suggestions

Book reaction paper 

Read a book, summarize its main ideas, respond with your insights and examples. Why is this issue important?  What interesting facts have you learned from this book? What methods do the authors use to draw conclusions? Where can results be applied in the real world?  What part of the issue is possibly controversial, and why?   Use examples, numbers, quotes, and cite your sources. Suggested books:

  • Jonah Berger, Invisible Influences 
  • Uri Gneezy and John List, The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life
  • Brian Wansink,  Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life
  • Paul Dolan, Happiness by Design: Change What You Do, Not How You Think
  • Richard Thaler, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics
  • Dan Ariely, Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles
  • Gary Belsky,  Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them: Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics.

  • Dan Ariely, “Predictably Irrational”
  • Dan Ariely, The Upside of Irrationality
  • Dan Ariely, Honest Truth about dishonesty
  • Kahneman, Thinking fast and slow  and Video interview related to the book
  • Thaler and Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness
  • David Spiegelhalte and Michael Blastland, The Norm Chronicles
  • Gerd Gigerenzer, Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions
  • Gerd Gigerenzer, Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious

This is one example how you may want to structure your report based on one of Ariely’s books:

  • 1. What kinds of behavioral puzzles are described in the book?
  • 2. Why is this behavior puzzling for classical economists?
  • 3. What kinds of experiments are conducted?
  • 4. What are the researchers’ conclusions?
  • 5. Can you come up with your own examples of behavioral puzzles?